STEMinist Profile: Maille Lyons, Environmental Microbiologist

Maille Lyons

Maille (“Molly”) Lyons

Environmental Microbiologist/Research Scientist

Old Dominion University (ODU) and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My dad was a teacher and my hometown (Swansea, Massachusetts) was on the water – I knew I would be a marine scientist by the time I was 8. I had fantastic science teachers that encouraged me.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
It’s a Tie: (1) I studied the DNA of bacterial populations that live in the protective mucus layer of corals in the Florida Keys and (2) I studied aquatic bacterial communities that live near the ice edge of Antarctic waters –Both projects were exciting because they included travel to amazing places.

Role models/heroes:
Dr. Rita Colwell – she used intelligence and creativity to solve problems regarding cholera outbreaks in developing nations.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I have always loved discovery and that’s what science is all about: figure out what we know, what we don’t know, and add new information to our knowledge base.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Love what you do. Take the time to discover what you are passionate about and then figure out a way to work in that field. There are many pathways to the same destination, if you are persistent – you will succeed.

Favorite website or app:

Twitter: @sciencefairinfo

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