We Are Here and We Are Scientists! LGBTQ+ Perspectives and Topics in Plant Science

We Are Here and We Are Scientists! LGBTQ+ Perspectives and Topics in Plant Science

Recorded December 12, 2019


About This Webinar

Academic and industry work environments are becoming increasingly welcoming of out LGBTQ+ scientists at many career levels. Nevertheless, many members of the LGBTQ+ community find themselves lost as they try to navigate issues like coming out professionally, finding an LGBTQ+ community in their workplace, or beginning the process of creating such communities.

During this webinar, our panelists will discuss their diverse experiences being members of the LGBTQ+ community and as professionals in the plant science field.

This webinar was organized by the LGBTQ+ Plant Science Plantae Community Network and is free to all participants thanks to the support of the American Society of Plant Biologists. Click here to join the LGBTQ+ PlantSci community on Plantae and follow @LGBTQPlantSci on Twitter.


Rebecca Hayes

When she’s not out hiking the mountains of western Pennsylvania or working on a plant science embroidery project, Rebecca is a research technician at the University of Pittsburgh studying flower petal UV patterns and the ways in which they shape the floral microbiome. She is also an ASPB Plantae Fellow and producer and host of Stories Plantarum, a podcast all about fabulous fictional flora from sci-fi and fantasy and real-life plants that seem out of this world. She dreams of enacting structural and societal change to make science more accessible and inclusive for all and aspires one day to be able to change her Twitter handle from @BigGirlPlants to @DrBigGirlPlants.





Miguel Vega-Sanchez, PhD

Dr. Miguel Vega-Sanchez is a plant molecular geneticist with 17 years of experience in various fields of plant science. He has worked in non-profit agricultural research organizations, academia, the Department of Energy national laboratory system and in the biotech industry. At Bayer, Miguel works across functions to develop regulatory strategies to support product development and phase advancements for yield, disease and genome editing traits for all major crops in Bayer’s plant biotechnology pipeline. He has a PhD degree in plant molecular biology and biotechnology and a MS degree in plant pathology, both from the Ohio State University, and a BS in biological sciences from the Catholic University of Ecuador. He is passionate about using science to develop innovative products that can benefit farmers and make agriculture more sustainable. He is also very involved in promoting and supporting inclusion and diversity programs in the workplace, and he is a champion for developing and retaining talent in the STEM fields, especially for underrepresented minorities and women. Miguel is an active member of ASPB, serving on the member of the Minority Affairs Committee and also supporting the ASPB Conviron Scholars program.


JP Dundore-Arias, PhD

Dr. JP Dundore-Arias is a plant pathologist with an interdisciplinary background and broad experience investigating the biology, ecology, and management of plant-associated microbes. He received his BSc in agronomy from the University of Costa Rica, and completed M.S. and PhD degrees in plant pathology at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively. After completing graduate school, he received a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation to conduct research related to agricultural microbiomes at the University of Minnesota. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology at California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Research in JP’s lab focuses on advancing our functional understanding of agricultural microbiomes, with the goal of developing practical applications for enhancing soil health and promoting biological suppression of plant pathogens. His teaching interests center on the development of accessible and adaptable training opportunities in microbiome research, including Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) for young scientists from diverse backgrounds and experience. In addition to his professional accomplishments, he is recognized for his personal commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, and for his contributions to broadening participation of underrepresented minority scientists in plant and microbial sciences.


Sterling Field

Sterling is a 5th year PhD candidate in the Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology department at the University of Tennessee. His research focuses on plant adaptations to flooding stress on the molecular level through RNA and RNA-binding protein regulation. Originally from Michigan, Sterling went to Ohio State to study plant biology for his undergraduate degree and started getting involved in LGBTQ+ STEM organizations. Outside of the lab, Sterling is currently involved in the Tennessee Equality Project, a state-wide LGBTQ+ policy and advocacy organization in Tennessee, that organizes the OUTstanding LGBTQ+ conference at the University of Tennessee. Sterling is also an ASPB Plantae Fellow and co-leads the Plantae LGBTQ+ PlantSci Community Network.



This webinar is freely available thanks to the support of the American Society of Plant Biologists. Join Today

If you would like to sponsor or help organize an upcoming webinar please contact community@plantae.org

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