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Pride and joy

  • College of Veterinary Medicine researcher Megan Ruch speakers with visitors at her SciPride table about cows.

    Pride and joy

    CVM cattle researcher among presenters at 2023 SciPride event celebrating scientific contributions of LGBTQIA+ scientists and engineers

    College of Veterinary Medicine researcher Megan Ruch speakers with visitors at her SciPride table about cow science. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Griffin. 

Megan Ruch loves talking about cows. As a researcher in the Caixeta Lab at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), her day literally revolves around them. 

But if there’s something she loves as much as talking about cows, it’s teaching folks about them. Ruch recently had a chance to share her knowledge and passion for cattle at SciPride, an event hosted on June 3 by the Bell Museum that celebrated and showcased the work and contributions of LGBTQIA+ scientists and engineers at the University of Minnesota (UMN). 

The event invited LGBTQIA+ students, postdocs, faculty, and research staff across the University to share their science through hands-on activities, demonstrations, and brief presentations. Ruch spent much of the event fielding questions from curious guests. 

“I had a lot of people that I think felt very safe coming up to me to talk,” she says. “I always say talk to experts about something. At this event, I got to be the expert, but I also got to be a safe place for them to talk to an expert.”

A preserved ruminant digestive tract on display at SciPride.
Photo courtesy of Kelsey Griffin. 

At the Caixeta Lab under principal investigator Dr. Luciano Caixeta, Ruch and her peers study metabolic and infectious diseases as well as management strategies to improve the health and performance of dairy cows. The lab’s ultimate goal is to anticipate events that negatively affect dairy cattle health and implement strategies to lessen their impact within the industry. 

At SciPride, Ruch invited guests to ask questions and learn more about cows’ diet, milk production, health and diseases, impact on climate change, and other topics. A preserved ruminant digestive system on display at her table piqued the interest of many guests and sparked questions and conversation. 

Presenting at the event also strengthened Ruch sense of place in the LGBTQIA+ community. A longtime ally, Ruch has realized over the past couple of years that she is part of the community herself. 

“There's definitely been a kind of impostor syndrome,” she says of her journey. “I am in the community but am I? When I did the SciPride event, it felt good because I felt safe. It felt like I belonged.”  

SciPride was part of the Bell Museum’s Spotlight on Science series, which offers visitors an opportunity to meet and have conversations with experts around a focused science topic. Event partners for SciPride included CVM, the College of Food Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, the College of Science and Engineering, the College of Biological Sciences, the Medical School, and the UMN Office of Equity and Diversity.