Science in Color Podcast Ep 02 – The Gay Male Experience in STEM

Today’s episode gives voice to a community in STEM that isn’t usually at the forefront of diversity efforts in STEM, the gay male population. We talk to Dr. Sokol V. Todi, an openly gay associate professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan as well as University of Michigan graduate student, Nicholas Silva, about his experiences navigating being gay and in STEM. This episode touches on a variety of topics so join us as we learn about the experiences of this particular marginalized group. Music:  song soft and furious – broken coin & jBlanked – Been on

PhD (2005): University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Post-Doctoral Training (2005-2007): University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Post-Doctoral Training (2007-2010): University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Silva
San Francisco State University (SFSU), B.S (Biology: Physiology) 
San Francisco State University (SFSU), M.S (Biology: Physiology)
Hobbies; Orange Theory, Intramural sports, cooking, and collecting plants.

A week after Science in Color launched, we shared an article via our social media discussing the LGBT experience in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Technology (STEM) field. The article shed some light on what challenges and benefits some STEM professionals found while navigating their way through a field that doesn’t typically celebrate or even discuss personal issues. The article that we thought would be a great share and informative elicited some unexpected responses from people. After listening to what people found troubling about the article, we decided to talk to the person who recommended the article to us in the first place, Nicholas Silva, a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Michigan. In the podcast episode, Nicholas discusses unconscious bias and how it relates to being a gay male in STEM. Nicholas also discusses the complex layers that come with being a part of several marginalized groups as a gay Latino who moved from California to the Midwest. He grew up in a family who never put any real value on higher education and lacked the resources and role models to help him find his path to graduate school, despite knowing his true passion was science.
 We also decided to talk to someone further along in his research career, an associate professor at a large research University. Dr. Sokol V. Todi came to the United States as an exchange student from Albania. During his time in graduate school, he not only navigated moving up in the world of science but also dealt with coming out at the same time. Dr. Todi openly discusses his thoughts on being gay in academia, imposter syndrome, and offers advice to students thinking about following in his footsteps.
Feel free to email Nicholas with any questions you may have in regards to this episode at njsilva@umich.edu.
Feel free to email Dr. Sokol with any questions you may have in regards to this episode at stodi@wayne.edu.
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