Raymond Allen, PhD Candidate at Duke University
Scott LaGreca, Collections Manager, Lichens at Duke University
Ellie Cardenal, Environmental Scientist
Chris Martens, Computer Scientist at North Carolina State University
Anita Simha, Community Ecologist, PhD Candidate at Duke University
In recognition and celebration of Pride Month, join us virtually to listen to the experiences of LGBTQ+ professionals in STEM. The panelists will share their personal paths into a career in science and the role of mentors, as well as challenges and successes. This event aims to raise the visibility of LGBTQ+ people in science and to celebrate diversity in STEM.
Ray Allen (he/him) is an Ojibwe Indigiqueer developmental biologist and urchinologist. He is currently a biology PhD student at Duke University where his research focuses on immune cell development and function in the sea urchins. Ray’s minor is “Science & Society,” in which he focuses on observing and understanding the intersections of science, cultures, settler-colonialism and policy on research. His broader interests include science art and communication. Twitter: @Ray_L_Allen
Scott LaGreca (he/him) studies the evolution, chemistry and taxonomy of lichen-forming fungi and has authored over 40 articles on lichens. Since obtaining a PhD in botany from Duke University in 1997, he has pursued his research while working in museum collections at Harvard University, Cornell University, the Berkshire Museum and the Natural History Museum, London. Scott is currently the lichen collection manager at the Duke University Herbarium. In addition to research he enjoys teaching field biology courses and leading citizen science biological surveys (“BioBlitzes”).
Ellie Cardenal (she/her) was born and raised near Jackson, Mississippi. Her father is an immigrant from Nicaragua, and her mother is a Mississippi native. She transitioned to STEM abruptly, switching from speech pathology to geology after two years into her program. Ellie graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2017 and started graduate school at NC State the following year. In addition to her master’s in geology, she has a graduate certificate in GIS and is working toward her GISP. Her professional career started in 2020 in stormwater and regulatory/compliance with an international firm.
Chris Martens (they/them) is a computer scientist at North Carolina State University, where they direct the Principles of Expressive Machines (POEM) Laboratory in research on digital games and interactive narrative. Their research advances programming language design, procedural content generation, and AI for virtual non-player characters. Their work has been supported by the NSF, the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and has been recognized with a Best Paper award at the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling and an NSF CAREER Award.
Anita Simha (they/them) is a queer community ecologist. They are a PhD candidate at Duke University, where they study how species interactions can be shaped by the order in which plant species arrive in a new community. Along with their PhD they are pursuing a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies to explore the social conditions in which ecological research has historically been produced. Twitter: @anita_simha
Live Virtual Presentation hosted by N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences Daily Planet Curator Chris Smith and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs staff.
You can post questions in the YouTube chat or tweet questions to #LunchTimeDiscovery and mention @NorthCarolinaEE.
Brought to you by the NC DEQ Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.