Who is Hailey James? James is my given name and Joren is my married name. Some of my publications or other work may still be listed under Hailey James.
Why Joren? Joren is a blend of my name and my spouse’s name. It is also a Scandinavian name that reflects our family heritage and means “carer of the earth.” Rather than choosing between our names or hyphenating, we decided to follow our family tradition of “generational naming,” in which a new generation receives or chooses for themselves a new family name that reflects their history and values. Both of our great-great-grandfathers followed this tradition, and it is one we’re excited to revive.
Is it hard to change your name? Do you have any advice? Choosing a name for marriage is a difficult decision with no single right answer. Blending our names was the right decision for my spouse and me, but there’s no perfect or obvious choice. Our priorities included having a single, unhyphenated name for our family and children while still honoring each of our families and our own identities. We didn’t mind having conversations with curious family and friends and resigned ourselves to a more involved and expensive legal process.
Many states allow name blending at the time of marriage, but since we changed ours later, we were required to go through a court name change. Besides the initial change through the court, the rest of the process is the same for anyone changing their name for marriage or other reasons. From a professional perspective, women and transgender scientists have fortunately paved the way such that changing one’s name as a researcher is much easier than it used to be. Feel free to reach out with questions!