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My bachelors lists my maiden name. I took a 4 year break - during which I got married and took my husband's last name - and will soon be starting my masters and eventually PhD in a STEM field. I would like to use my maiden name on my degrees and professionally.

I have not published and am not yet established in my field. My married name is extremely ordinary in the US and shared with a well known celebrity. My maiden name is very unique. It may seem arbitrary, but when I do eventually publish and become established in the field, I would like to do so with distinction. I'd like to use my maiden name consistently throughout my professional life, not just in publications but on resumes, staff, in person, etc.

Is this legally possible since I didn't retain my maiden name at all? Hyphenating would be way too long and sound weird. I like my middle name, but I would consider adding my maiden name as a second middle name if that is my only option.

Thoughts? Comments?

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    Not really. These are mostly about publications which seems simple enough, whereas I'd like to use my maiden name in 100% of my professional life. For example, if I become a professor and someone searches for me on a university faculty website, I want my maiden name to be listed. If I take part in a clinical research trial and I'm named as a contributor, I want my maiden name listed. That's mostly the part that I'm unsure of the legal aspect. – LemonCookies Sep 26 at 4:27
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    I imagine that most academia-adjacent organizations will allow you to be listed under a "preferred name" rather than your legal name. This is obviously crucial for many trans people, but also great for a situation like yours. – Fedya Sep 26 at 4:41
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    I've never seen anything where I've had to swear to a journal that the name I submitted is my current legal name etc etc. – Bryan Krause Sep 26 at 4:53
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    Around me it is very common to use preferred names for professional purposes. – Greg Sep 26 at 6:05