Success in STEM

Dr. Linda Campbell

Photo of Dr. Linda Campbell

Dr. Linda Campbell is an assistant professor at Queen’s University. She conducts research on environmental contaminants, runs an analytical laboratory, and works with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows on their research programs. She also teaches several courses in environmental studies and biology, and participates in committee work and outreach.

She graduated from the University of Alberta with a BSc in Zoology and MSc in Biological Sciences. She then went to the University of Waterloo for a PhD in Biology. Her thesis was on environmental mercury in eastern African lakes, and she spent three field seasons in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania collaborating with African scientists. Prior to graduation, Linda was awarded an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship, which she used to undertake a two-year position with Environment Canada in Burlington, Ont., doing research on contaminants in the Canadian Great Lakes basin.

At university, Linda had always felt drawn to aquatic research and took courses accordingly, in addition to standard, required science courses. She faced barriers in finding an adequate amount of funding to hire ASL interpreters to accommodate her deafness. However, thanks to scholarships as well as government funding, Linda was able to hire an interpreter during both her time on campus and while doing field work all over the world.

As for advocacy, Linda feels that nobody knows their own needs better than themselves. It is important to be able to take the initiative to make your needs known, and to give those providing services feedback so those needs can be better met. On the other hand, it is also important to recognize advocates who can support or assist you along the way, and to make use of them as much as you can. Constantly advocating for the entirety of your career as a student and beyond is a difficult task, but thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone.

Linda has the following advice regarding pursuing education and building a career, “Be willing to think laterally. The path that works for most people may just not be your route to success – you may have to consider alternative approaches and solutions. But that is not to say that you will not be successful! To overcome barriers set in place by people’s attitudes, it is important to try to understand what is behind people’s responses, identify your true obstacles and work on generating positive good will and collaborative approaches to resolving those obstacles.”