oSTEM: Empowering LGBTQ+ Students and Professionals in the STEM Community

oSTEM: Empowering LGBTQ+ Students and Professionals in the STEM Community

Melissa W.

In continuation with our celebration of Pride Month, we’re highlighting an organization that strives to empower LGBTQ+ professionals in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields: oSTEM.

Born out of a student focus group for IBM at an Out for Work conference in 2005, oSTEM, Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is a non-profit professional association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community. The organization states that prior to their inception, “there was no inclusive organization dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ students in STEM, though other organizations had celebrated and supported diversity in science and engineering through other professional societies such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE), American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), and others.”

oSTEM strives to provide a safe, supportive, and diverse community for students and professionals in STEM. According to their website, oSTEM “empowers LGBTQ+ people in STEM to succeed personally, academically, and professionally by cultivating environments and communities that nurture innovation, leadership, and advocacy.” The organization runs on 5 core values:

  • Integrity
    We establish trust through honesty and transparency by maintaining the highest standard of ethics.
  • Intentionality
    We carry out our work with mindfulness, focus, and self-awareness.
  • Respect
    We create and maintain openness and inclusion, appreciating individual contributions and fostering diversity and equity.
  • Passion
    We are dedicated to the relentless pursuit of our vision.
  • Grit
    We push forward with courage and determination, regardless of the circumstances, to achieve our mission.

oSTEM hosts annual conferences with topics of inclusion, outreach, and diversity in the workplace, specifically in STEM fields and awards members, both individuals and organizations, who demonstrate a strong dedication to “advancing and empowering LGBTQ+ in STEM fields.”

Students interested in joining oSTEM should check with their campus activities office on campus to see if an organization is already established. Students can also register online providing that they are able to provide proof of education at an established chapter school. There are currently over 100 chapters nationwide and you’ll recognize oSTEM members by their white satin custom stoles on graduation day.

Are you a member of oSTEM? Let us know in the comments!

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