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LGBTQ+ Stories in STEM

11 February 2022

To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, we invited speakers from the LGBT+ community to speak about their experiences of working in a STEM field. The event aimed to raise awareness of historical milestones for the LGBT+ community, discuss lived experiences of minoritised groups, and celebrate diversity and inclusion. The event was open to all and hosted online via Zoom on 23rd February 2022. More information on our invited speakers and the video recordings of the event can be found below.

Our Speakers

Karen Harvey-Cooke

Karen is an Organisational and Staff Development Manager at Cardiff University.  She has also been Chair of the staff and postgraduate LGBT+ network Enfys (Welsh for rainbow) for several years.  In 2020 Enfys were named Employee Network Group of the Year by Stonewall and Stonewall Cymru.  Outside of work Karen is a trustee of a local charity, Skills and Volunteering Cymru and is on the Editorial Board for LGBTQymru who launched the first free, fully bilingual national LGBT+ magazine online in Wales in February 2021.

Megan Coles

Megan is a queer master’s student at the University of Exeter. Megan’s pronouns are She/Her. She is a neurodivergent, first-generation Microbiology Postgraduate Research student with a focus on antibiotic induced phenotypes in Gram-negative bacteria. Megan has an innate curiosity and love understanding how microbes work together to survive and thrive, and her work primarily focuses on systems-level interactions. She also works as a Postgraduate Teaching Associate in undergraduate modules at the University.

On the rare occasions she not in the lab, Megan will be out walking dogs, making lino prints, spending time with her sister and her wife-to-be (and their two beautiful cats), or scuba diving. Megan also works as the Welfare Officer for Exeter Student Nightline, a listening service similar to the Samaritans. There, she promotes diversity, accessibility, inclusivity, and wellbeing within the service in accessible and inclusive ways. She has been learning British Sign Language for the last year to ensure that she can continue promoting accessibility in everything she does. Megan has plans to go into clinical microbiology eventually, but is not quite done with research yet!

Dr Claire Malone

Claire’s passion to understand the world around her has led her to complete a PhD as part of the high energy physics group at the University of Cambridge. As the root of her interest is in understanding the behaviour of the fundamental particles that comprise our universe, her research focused on analysing data from the LHC at CERN to complete our understanding of the universe in terms of its basic building blocks. She is also passionate about communicating her enthusiasm for physics to as wide an audience as conceivable, as well as advocating for the inclusion of groups that are typically under-represented in science subjects. Claire has had the opportunity to speak about increasing the inclusivity of science many times, through her TED Talk and at conferences promoting the research of women and LGBTQ scientists. Throughout her career, Claire has had to devise techniques of studying to negotiate the fact that she cannot use a pen/keyboard directly due to her physical disability, cerebral palsy. In her spare time she also enjoys reading (and sometimes writing) sci-fi novels!


Video recording

Part I

Part II