Pride In STEM
As part of the ongoing 2018/2019 PSEER seminar series Inclusivity in STEM, the steering committee was honoured to welcome Thomas Sasso to lead our most recent discussion. Thomas, a PhD Candidate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, is the co-founder of the Sexual & Gender Diversity Research Lab, and a sessional lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the Univesity of Guelph.
Thomas' talk, which was titled "Pride in STEM: Considerations for LGBTQ+ Representation and Participation in STEM", began with a review of the Gender Unicorn, and the various dimensions of gender identity and expression, sex, and attraction (see here for more details).
What followed was a series of statistics that described the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in STEM programs (which tend to be perceived as being highly gendered and heteronormative). These perceptions and experiences, combined with a lower retention rate for those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, indicate that there is much work to be done to foster and promote a sense of inclusivity. Thomas also identified that similar challenges are felt by faculty within the STEM disciplines; many feel uncomfortable in their home units, have lower job satisfaction, and worry that being out could damage their career.
Fortunately, it is possible to change this. Thomas recommends that our programs should consider integrating inclusivity through our examples; including, for example, featuring LGBTQ+ scientists and their contributions in course notes and classroom discussions, or developing an annual LGBTQ+STEM speaker series.
For more information, you can check out Thomas' slides (linked below). You can also find Thomas on Twitter (@t_sasso).