Laura was born in Virginia, the first born child of Laura Russell, a school music teacher, and Malcolm Livingston, a chemical engineer. The family moved around the East Coast often when Laura was a child. The family settled down in North Carolina from Laura’s mid-third grade through high school. There she fell in love with the environment, the red grass fields, the swamps, the beaches, the mountains, the egrets and other tall wading birds, the mayflies, and the cheery golden Prothonotary warblers of her state. She could not understand how people could call it progress to make parking lots of marshes or abandoned car graveyards of forests. During her high school years, she took an ecology course sponsored by the National Science Foundation at Appalachian State in Boone, NC. She also conducted several experiments on her own and won her local and regional science fairs. She received a trip to the first national science fair in Indianapolis, IN, where she received honorable mention for her project.
Laura L. Mays Hoopes is currently Halstead-Bent Professor Emerita of biology at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. She’s married with two grown children and a lovely and captivating new granddaughter. Her molecular gerontology career wound down and to prepare for retirement, she completed a creative writing certificate at UCLA in 2009 and an MFA in English/Creative Writing at San Diego State University in 2013. Laura published her memoir on becoming a woman scientist, Breaking through the Spiral Ceiling, in 2010 and the second edition of it in 2013. She has published over 20 stories and articles in magazines and newspapers. Laura won several writing awards since she switched from biology to creative writing. The California Writers’ Club awarded her their Jack London Award in 2013. She has also been the keynote speaker at three events and talked with groups large and small about women in science, writing, career choices, and her memoir.