Unique Scientist: Maddie Ray

Time to meet Maddie Ray (She/her)! Maddie is a neuroscientist at Boston College in the USA!

What kind of scientist are you?
I’m a neuroscientist studying the neurobiology of aversive learning. My research utilizes single unit recordings and optogenetics to examine the role of the nucleus accumbens core in adaptive scaling of fear.

What made you want to become a scientist?
I fell in love with neuroscience through a course on drugs and behavior. I come from a family with a long history of addiction. These experiences propelled me to join a research lab studying the effects of alcohol consumption on goal-directed learning. It was this first research experience in college that made me realize my passion for research.

“I hope to bring awareness and visibility to the issues facing women and LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM, as well as the struggles of self-care and mental health.”

Maddie Ray

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I’m a queer woman in STEM who also struggles with depression. I hope to bring awareness and visibility to the issues facing women and LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM, as well as the struggles of self-care and mental health.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
One of my favorite things to do outside of science is boxing. It’s a great work out and provides much-needed stress relief from grad school!

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I would change the stereotype of who can be a scientist. A little girl I babysat once told me “science is for boys” and it broke my heart. We’ve come a long way, but there is still progress to be made in breaking these stereotypes.

“A little girl I babysat once told me “science is for boys” and it broke my heart.”

Maddie Ray

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
Dr. Charles Pickens and Dr. Mary Cain from Kansas State University have inspired me the most. Dr. Cain taught the ‘drugs and behavior’ course I took as an undergraduate and Dr. Pickens gave me my first lab experience. I would not be where I am today without their support and encouragement.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I am incredibly proud of my science artwork. I recently presented my artwork and the scientific techniques behind the images at the Harvard DayCon conference. I had an incredible time interacting with the public and teaching people that science can be beautiful!


#WomenInSTEM, #QueerInSTEM

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