Herpetologist Highlight Post August 12

There is nothing cuter than the fat, little head of a hatchling collared lizard.

Herpetologist Highlight

Name: Lindsey Martin

Age: 24

Website / Twitter Handle / Instagram:

Facebook: Lindsey Martin

Twitter: @CallMe_Overlord

Instagram: little_lindsey_ann

Where do you work? Arkansas State University

Position: Ph.D. Student in Molecular Biosciences and recently a social media manager for Herpetologists’ League

How did you get there?

In 2017, I was trying to get my M.S. in Biological Sciences to apply to medical school. I wanted to apply to an M.D./Ph.D. program and was told that a master’s degree would make me more competitive. I joined the lab of Dr. Lorin Neuman-Lee as her first master’s student. She helped me build an incredible project collaborating with the University of Central Arkansas’s Dr. Matthew Gifford. I got to have an amazing field season, in the mountains of Missouri chasing the beautiful and sassy Crotaphytus collaris and do the bench work in immunological and endocrinological techniques that captured my imagination since I was a child.

Needless to say, I fell in love with not only the science, the research and the questions, but also with teaching.  I loved being a TA. I’ve always been a passionate person. I feel things so strongly and getting to share that with a group of humans, also wanting to learn what makes your soul shine, and getting to spark that in them…It is magical. Eventually, I told Lori that I didn’t want to go to medical school anymore. I now wanted to get my Ph.D., lead a lab, and teach the next generations of curious scientists. At this time, Lori offered me an option to transition from her master’s student to her doctoral student. I spoke with several people and weighed my options knowing that it would not be the best optics but eventually I accepted the position and haven’t looked back.

As for my social media work, Dr. Neuman-Lee approached both myself and my lab mate, Jen Terry, about our interest in working with the social media for Herp League. I love Twitter and the science community it has created so I jumped at the chance to help out. Jen and I felt it would be more manageable to split the work between us. After our initial skype chat with Dr. Max Lambert, we started chiseling away at bringing Herp League to a more active status in the social media world and using it for a visible stance on diversity, inclusivity, and great science.  Jen is a pro at Instagram, I lord over the Twitter feed, and we each post on Facebook in between. It’s been a lot of fun developing these new skills through this role.

Was there any particular hardship that you had to overcome to work in your position?

I’ve fought my fair share of demons and dragons to get here. My struggles are very much a part of who I am and why I fight so hard to achieve this dream. I grew up in a low socio-economic within single-parent household. In a town where an A.P. Biology teacher told me to drop out that I wouldn’t amount to anything. I battled depression and anxiety like too many college students in STEM. I overcame the sexist remarks, “no one is going to respect you with lipstick like that” or “I don’t need a woman to tutor me.”  Unfortunately, these small difficulties in my life are nothing unique, and so many I’ve become close with have confided their battles to get here.  And now more than ever, I am grateful that this is my story. It’s made me empathetic, driven, and a passionate mentor.

What advice do you give to someone interested in your profession? What advice might you have for someone from an underrepresented group who is interested in entering your field?

Never give up. It will be hard. You will want to quit. You will feel alone. But never, EVER, give up.  Surround yourself with various types of people: the driven; the funny; the quiet and observant; the young and hopeful; and the steady and wise. And every day learn from each unique person how to make yourself a better version of you.

What’s your favorite herp?

If you’d asked me this as a child I’d have more than likely said The Fell Beast the Witch-king of Angmar flew into battle of Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings. These days it is a toss-up between the Collared Lizard, Crotaphytus collaris and a Speckled King Snake, Lampropeltis holbrooki.

Why are you an HL member?

Being a part of diverse societies are so vital when it comes to networking and professional development in academia. I’ve met so many incredible friends with similar interests and so many opportunities for collaboration. Herp League just seemed a natural step.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I really am so excited for all of these upcoming chapters in my life in light and I am so grateful for all the incredible mentorship helping me along the way.

Is there a good caption for your attached photograph?

There is nothing cuter than the fat, little head of a hatchling collared lizard.

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