National Conference Discusses Being Out in STEM
Shawn Wasserman posted on November 10, 2014 |

Out in STEM (Top) & National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals logos.

Last weekend, Georgia Tech (GT) hosted a national STEM conference aimed at the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual/Ally) community. The event discussed issues associated with being out in STEM.

The conference was a merger of Out in STEM’s (oSTEM’s) 4th National Conference and the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals’ (NOGLSTP’s) Out to Innovate 2014 conference. oSTEM and NOGLSTP are both national societies and non-profits that support, educate and gather leadership behind LGBTQIA in STEM.

The event hosted 300 students and 150 professionals from 48 states in Atlanta, Georgia. The group’s discussions will span topics as general as “How to get funding?” to more LGBTQIA specific issues such as “How it feels to be queer in commercial and/or academic settings.”

Emily Li, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and president of the oSTEM GT chapter, noted that the location of the conference shows a positive direction for both the Southeast region and her school. She said, “[Georgia] Tech is such a beacon for the South, and it’s awesome to see people want to invest here and draw out allies and activists.”

In addition to some interesting names in STEM, the conference will feature a poster session and job fair. Some noted conference guests include Kei Koizumi of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, LaDoris Harris from the Department of Energy, and Tam O’Shaugnessy from Sally Ride Science.

Li added, “Not only will it be a place to share and network, but it will give students and young professionals opportunities for professional development.”

One panel of note will discuss expression, orientation, identity, and leadership in STEM. The panel will be facilitated by alumnus Bradley Wilkinson and include panellists Julie Ancis, associate VP of Georgia Tech’s Office of Institute Diversity; Manu Platt, a biomedical engineering assistant professor; Jennifer Hasler, an electrical and computer engineering professor; and alumni Alex Wan and Felix Hu.

Ancis explained, “Young people are seeking mentorship and advice, and this gives them a chance to hear from STEM professionals and out leaders … We are thrilled to bring this conference to [Georgia] Tech to help educate a diverse community.”

Archie Ervin is the VP of Georgia Tech’s Office of Institute Diversity and will open the conference. He said, "This conference represents a critical dimension of our diversity and inclusion agenda at [Georgia] Tech, and is something we are very committed to.”

Aby Parsons, director of Georgia Tech’s LGBTQIA Resource Center said, “These kinds of events bring much-needed conversations about diversity and inclusion into academic and professional STEM spaces … These efforts can only help our LGBTQIA students feel more confident navigating both campus and the job market.”

Source Georgia Tech

Recommended For You