This weekend SASDI staff attended oSTEM’s fourth annual conference in Atlanta. As a national society, oSTEM (Out in Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) seeks to educate, empower, and engage a diverse community that will identify, address, and advocate for the needs of the LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual) students in the STEM fields.
Over 400 students and professionals showed up to the conference for three days of programming, which included workshops, poster sessions, and an exhibit hall of 60+ STEM focused companies. Workshop topics ranged from the importance of gaining allies to LGBTAQ+ experiences in corporate America and abroad. It was great to learn about LGBTQA+ issues as they pertain to the STEM fields from a wide range of knowledgeable academics and advocates. In addition to programming, oSTEM collaborated with the Human Rights Campaign to host a social for attendees, as well as Coca-Cola and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to coordinate tours for conference participants. Keynote speakers included computer scientist and transgender activist, Lynn Conway, as well as Tam O’Shaugnessy, cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Sally Ride Science. Sponsors of the conference included DOW, Johnson & Johnson, and Google.
The oSTEM conference provided us with great opportunities to network with LGTBQA+ STEM leaders and learn about ways we can better support students who self-identity as members of this community on Illinois Tech’s campus. 50 oSTEM student chapters are established on college campuses throughout the nation. We are hoping to work with students to start a chapter at Illinois Tech this year. Stay posted for more info on this initiative. We are already looking forward to next year’s conference!
You can learn more about all of the wonderful work oSTEM is doing to empower LGBTQA+ students here. Check out pictures from the conference below!