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Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or other gender and sexual minorities (LGBTQIA+) community face multiple challenges in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. These challenges lead to a lower retention of LGBTQIA+ students in STEM, higher rates of masking/closeting and, and higher rates of mental health issues. To help with these issues, we founded an initiative called STEM Pride that aims to bring visibility and build community for LGBTQIA+ individuals studying and working in STEM at our university. The STEM Pride initiative runs an Instagram page that features self-identifying and self-nominated LGBTQIA+ people in STEM and hosts community building events centered around LGBTQIA+ topics. To gain an understanding of the belonging/community and identity of LGBTQIA+ individuals in STEM at our university and measure the impact of the STEM Pride initiative, we created and distributed a survey at two time points: the launch of STEM Pride (Fall 2021) and one semester later (Winter 2022). The overall response to the initiative was positive, where participants indicated the impact of our initiative. While there were no statistically significant differences in belonging/community and identity between timepoints, we found differences based on sub-populations. The results of the survey highlight the specific needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals in STEM at the university, which we plan to continue addressing with the STEM Pride initiative.
Hopper, S., & Tossas-Betancourt, C., & Walczyk, P., & Hirshfield, L. (2022, August), The implementation and assessment of a social media initiative to increase visibility of LGBTQIA+ individuals in STEM (Research) Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/41056
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