June 28, 2023

Science Is for Everyone

At Discovery Place, we believe science is for everyone and that our society is enriched by the voices and perspectives of all kinds of people. 

Pride Month is a time to continue celebrating and recognizing the achievements and contributions of LGBTQIA+ individuals across various fields, including science. 

Meet a few of the influential scientists and naturalists who are breaking barriers, inspiring future generations and championing diversity in the scientific community. 

Jules Amanita | Nature Educator and Mycologist 

Jules Amanita is a self-taught mycologist and nature educator who identifies as queer and nonbinary. Mycology is the study of fungi, which includes mushrooms. Jules educates people on identification, field guide literacy, conservation, accessible science and general appreciation of fungi. 

Leading a cohort of students at Binghamton University, Jules is in the process of publishing a peer-reviewed paper. Jules’ awe-inspiring photography skills give us a close look at the otherwise unseen world of mycology. 

Andre K. Isaacs | Professor of Chemistry at College of the Holy Cross 

You may have seen Andre K. Isaacs’ rainbow tie-dye lab coat swipe across your TikTok feed. As a queer professor of chemistry and an organic chemistry researcher, Isaacs strongly advocates for diversity in academia and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

Being a Black and queer person in STEM, Isaacs understands the importance of representation. He uses his platform to advocate for his students and future scientists to feel welcome and safe in pursuing studies in STEM.

Natalie Levy | Marine Biologist 

Natalie Levy is a queer marine biologist in Israel focused on developing innovative reef restoration methods using 3D printing. She is also the founder of Life Under H20, a nonprofit organization that aims to protect water and life below the surface through conservation, restoration, education and storytelling. 

When Levy is out of the lab, she spends her time outdoors hiking and traveling with her wife. While Israel is one of the few countries in the Middle East that is more accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community, Levy is public about her identity to advocate for acceptance and fight for marriage equality.

Alexis Nikole Nelson | Environmental Scientist and Foraging Teacher 

Alexis Nelson, a queer environmental scientist, is perhaps best known for her lessons on foraging. Through enthusiastic short videos and sometimes silly songs, she teaches people how to explore the environment and discover free and readily available food in our own spaces. 

Nelson says, “I’m not the person people expect to see excited about foraging, the outdoors, biology, botany, and history.” Publicly sharing her passions, Nelson is challenging stereotypes in the environmental field. Check out her Ted Talk from 2022, Alexis Nikole Nelson: A flavorful field guide to foraging | TED Talk. 

These and many other LGBTQIA+ scientists and naturalists exemplify the diversity and inclusion that makes the scientific community thrive. Their stories remind us that everybody deserves a seat at the table and that science is for everyone.