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Board 50: LGBTQ+ Advocacy in STEM: Impact Stories from Community of Practice

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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Dr. Stephanie Farrell is Professor and Founding Chair of Experiential Engineering Education at Rowan University (USA). Prior to 2016 she was a faculty member in Chemical Engineering at Rowan for eighteen years. Dr. Farrell has contributed to engineering education through her work in inductive pedagogy, spatial skills, and inclusion and diversity. She has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education with several teaching awards such as the 2004 National Outstanding Teaching Medal and the 2005 Quinn Award for experiential learning, and she was 2014-15 Fulbright Scholar in Engineering Education at Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)tephanie Farrell is Professor and Founding Chair of Experiential Engineering Education at Rowan University (USA) and was 2014-15 Fulbright Scholar in Engineering Education at Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland).

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Rocio C. Chavela Guerra American Society for Engineering Education

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Rocio Chavela is Director of Education and Career Development at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University, a B.S. and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universidad de las Americas, Puebla in Mexico. Rocio’s current efforts focus on engineering faculty and graduate student development, with particular emphasis on the adoption of evidence-based instructional practices.

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Kacey Beddoes

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Kacey Beddoes holds a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech, along with graduate certificates in Women’s and Gender Studies, and Engineering Education. Dr. Beddoes serves as Deputy Editor of the journal Engineering Studies and as Chair of the Working Group on Gender and Diversity for the European Society of Engineering Education. Further information can be found on her website:

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Despite recent advances in equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals in the US, students and faculty on college campuses still experience harassment, exclusionary behavior and discrimination, with slower progress in STEM departments than in other disciplines. This transformative project links diversity research with a faculty development initiative to promote LGBTQ+ equality in STEM. The aims of the project are to (1) identify aspects of engineering culture that present barriers to LGBTQ equality; (2) build knowledge and skills to disrupt discrimination and promote LGBTQ+ equality in engineering departments on college campuses; and (3) to identify best practices for promoting LGBTQ+ equality in engineering. This paper shares results from a core aspect of the project, an action-oriented Virtual Community of Practice (VCP). Since fall 2015, the VCP has offered a mechanism for its members (faculty, administrators, staff, and students) to share knowledge, ideas, and resources and to support one another as they develop and implement action plans to promote LGBTQ equality in their classrooms, departments, institutions, influencing positive change in the STEM ecosystem. Since the time of its formation to spring 2017, the VCP expanded to include more than 25 active members. Among their various achievements, community members have worked both individually and collectively to facilitate Safe Zone workshops at their institutions, online and at professional society meetings, reaching over 1,000 participants. Other less visible, but equally important achievements include those related to VCP members’ efforts to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in their departments and classrooms. In spring 2017, an open-ended survey was sent to all VCP members to inquire about the impact this project has had on their lives, both personally and professionally. More than ten VCP members responded sharing their impact stories, describing the specific and profound ways that this project has impacted them and their local communities. Insights from this survey will be presented in this paper along with a description of specific community outcomes.

Farrell, S., & Chavela Guerra, R. C., & Beddoes, K. (2019, June), Board 50: LGBTQ+ Advocacy in STEM: Impact Stories from Community of Practice Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32365

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