Dr. Tracy Livingston is an associate professor of Biology at Georgetown College in Kentucky. She got a B.S in Biology and M.S in Developmental Biology from the University of Kentucky and got her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Livingston knew she wanted to pursue Developmental Biology after meeting one of her mentors at UK, John Just, who she continued to work with through her master’s degree. “John Just was working with frogs and tadpoles and he showed me a tadpole that was huge because they took out the thyroid hormone, which I thought was really interesting,” Dr. Livingston said. This led her to pursue graduate school, where she worked with embryos of frogs, fish and salamanders.
With her master’s degree, Dr. Livingston began teaching at small community colleges, but a different career path eventually caught her eye. “I was reading a biology book in the late 90’s, when CSI was just getting started,” Dr. Livingston said. “Forensic chemistry sounded like a really neat career, so I started applying to jobs and I got a job at Charleston Police Department in South Carolina.” Dr. Livingston worked in this lab for four years, met her current husband, and decided to pursue her Ph.D. at University of Tennessee. At UT, Dr. Livingston helped with many research projects, one including dairy cow cloning. “Cloning makes me excited but hesitant,” Dr. Livingston said. “You can’t take one step forward with cloning without keeping the ethics alongside.”
Dr. Livingston has also conducted a lot of research at her current teaching job at Georgetown. She set up a cell culture lab working with HeLa cells to study implantation, worked with fish embryos for Developmental Biology lab, and studied regeneration in fish. Dr. Livingston also has offered a Women in Science Seminar to discuss women’s issues and women in the STEM field. “I am fortunate enough to never have been in a position where my job depended on me being discriminated against,” Dr. Livingston said.
Dr. Livingston’s accredits much of her strength and inspiration that she shares with many younger women to her mom, who was a strong role-model within her life and career. “My mom worked in a man’s world,” Dr. Livingston said. “She had an industry job where she was a supervisor over many men and she experienced discrimination. She instilled in me a confidence and an attitude to not put up with discrimination.” Dr. Livingston has worked at Georgetown College for fifteen years now and is a role-model and mentor for many students in the STEM field. Her words of wisdom are important for all students, no matter what field they are pursuing: “You have to think for yourself to see what all is out there,” Dr. Livingston said. “Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. However far you want to go, you should go.”