Queer Atlantic Canadian STEMist - Landon J. Getz


Name: Landon Getz

How do you Identify: Queer and Gay

Website: http://www.landongetz.com

Twitter: @landongetz

Current Job: PhD Candidate

Scientific Field/Discipline: Microbiology (Bacteriology specifically)

Affiliation: Dalhousie University

Tell Us about yourself:

I am a Queer and Gay PhD Student studying at Dalhousie University. I am an LGBTQ+ Advocate and an amateur home bread baker. I am interested in ethics in science and the relationship between science and society. I am an enthusiastic Cat-Dad to a target tabby named Susan.

Tell us about your work

I am studying an ocean an ocean bacteria called Vibrio parahaemolyticus (and bacteria related to it) to get a better idea of how they metabolize carbon in the environment. These organisms grow better at warmer temperatures and lower salinity, so as the ocean warms through climate change, we can expect to see more Vibrio around. We are primarily concerned with what that might mean, and are doing important research to identify how they might respond to climate change. My work is support by a Killam Predoctoral Scholarship and a Vanier Canadian Graduate Scholarship.

How is your work informed by your identity as an LGBTQ+ person?

My identity as a gay man is an integral part of who I am, and therefore informs pretty much everything I do. Most importantly, being comfortable with my own identity has allowed me to ensure that the spaces that I create (be that a laboratory, classroom, community, etc) is a space that is open and welcoming to all. I have made it my mission to ensure that LGBTQ+ folks are always welcome in the spaces that I occupy. As the founder of QAtCanSTEM, I am trying to build a community for LGBTQ+ STEM folks in Atlantic Canada to find role models and a community. I wanted my profile to be first so that I can make the first step and hold out my hand for others to follow.

Who are your LGBTQ+ role models?

Dr. Alex Bond, the senior curator in charge of birds at the Natural History Museum, encouraged me to attend (and hosted me) the LGBTSTEMinar in 2019 in London, UK. Attending this event gave me the motivation to launch QAtCanSTEM and the QAtCanSTEM Colloquium, and I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done.

Where do you see yourself in 5 - 10 years?

My immediate goal is to stay in academia and some day (maybe in 10 years?) have my own lab. I am well-aware of the availability of academic jobs however, and have kept doors open in biotechnology and ethics in science. I don’t know what i’ll be doing in 10 years, but i’m excited to find out!

What would you like to change about Academia (or equivalent) to make it more welcoming to LGBTQ+ folks?

If I could change something about our environments to make it more welcoming to LGBTQ+ folks, I would make it so everyone knows why it’s so important for me to be able to be gay in the workplace. For me it’s about being able to be myself (and be comfortable with it) in every environment I find myself in. For me, it’s about being able to express myself so I can do my best work. It’s for this reason that I will keep working for the inclusion of everyone in STEM, including LGBTQ+ folks.

Any other comments?

I encourage any other Atlantic Canadians, or former Atlantic Canadians, to fill out the profile submission form and join our ranks. I’m excited to meet all your smiling faces!