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Amy Ralston - BMB Community Profile

Amy's life long love of developmental biology began with a job as an undergraduate dishwasher in a university biology lab
Name: Amy Ralston 
Position: Associate Professor 

Why did you become a biologist? 

I fell in love with animal embryos while working at my after-school job as a lab dishwasher in high school. One day, the lab received a shipment of sea urchins that was spawning, so one of the grad students mixed sperm in eggs in some sea water, and I spent the next several days staring through the microscope in awe as the tiny creatures came to life. 

What is your favorite part about your job? 

I love watching my trainees grow in their independence as critical thinkers. 

How have you overcome obstacles to get where you are? 

I’m quite stubborn. 

What opportunities or positive experiences helped you get to where you are? 

At every stage of my career, I’ve had scientists willing to give me a chance. I would be nowhere without them!  

What advice do you have for aspiring biologists? 

You can become whatever you really want to become. 

How do you feel that your identities contribute a unique perspective to STEM fields? 

I like to use my past failures to help others avoid the same stumbling blocks. 

What are you and/or BMB doing to support underrepresented/marginalized people in STEM? 

First Lady Michelle Obama suggested that one key to increasing excellence and diversity in academic STEM is to make the profession more family-friendly. Conceptualizing and implementing family-friendly policies has been my passion ever since. 

Basic positionality statement: 

I am a white woman with humble socioeconomic origins. I believe that I am the product of the same culture that allowed me to reach my present career stage, and that I am therefore likely to share many of the same biases as other people in my discipline. Because of this, I am always looking for new ways to integrate new perspectives into my scholarly activities. 

Mailing Address

Biochemistry Building
603 Wilson Road, Rm 212
East Lansing, MI 48824

Main Phone:

(517) 355-1600


(517) 353-9334