To change your name or not to change your name: Options for married scientists.
“A rose by any other name…” Romeo and Juliet, Shakespere
What’s in a name? This question has come to my mind a lot recently since attending LPSC. There I noticed a lot more people with hyphenated last names, and not all of them women. It started me wondering about my last name. I am married and changed my last name to my husband’s about 6 months after our wedding. At the time I was working on my master’s degree in geophysics and didn’t really think too much about the effects of changing my name. Okay, I did think about it for a second, but I thought, well I haven’t had any real publications yet (only a couple meeting abstracts and 1 meeting paper), so what difference would it make? Now, in my 3rd year of my PhD work, I wonder if I made the right decision. Will it matter that, without explanation, people won’t likely put together that my formerly named self, an aerospace engineer, is the same person as my currently named planetary scientist self? Do I need to be concerned about this?
Since this topic kept coming up at LPSC, for both Kelsi and I, we wanted to explore the variety of options available. We heard about people who hyphenated their name legally, people who hyphenated only for a short period to let people associate the two names, people who legally changed their name but who still publish under their maiden name, people who replaced their middle name with their maiden name etc.
We’d love to hear what you think about this topic, what you decided to do, and how you think has changed your professional and/or personal life.