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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

What it means to be ‘Out in STEM’

Out+in+STEM+tabling+at+the+University+of+Arizona+club+fair+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+15.+The+club+oSTEM+%26nbsp%3Bmeets+in+the+LGBTQ+resource+center+on+Tuesdays+at+6%3A30+p.m.+and+offers+community+and+professional+development+opportunities+to+queer+students+in+STEM+fields.%26nbsp%3B
Kate Ewing

Out in STEM tabling at the University of Arizona club fair on Tuesday, Feb. 15. The club oSTEM  meets in the LGBTQ resource center on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and offers community and professional development opportunities to queer students in STEM fields. 

The Out in STEM club is the perfect haven for any queer STEM majors feeling lost in the shuffle of campus life looking for community. 

The oSTEM club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community at the University of Arizona. They hold weekly meetings at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center on Tuesdays at 6:30-7:30 p.m. 

Brianna Hoegler, the president of the oSTEM UA chapter, is studying geosciences with a concentration in Earth, oceans and climate. 

Hoegler explained that the club is a professional association that helps queer scientists develop their skills and expand their networks. 

“Our big two goals are build community for queer STEM students on campus and to empower those students to succeed in what they want to do,” Hoegler said. 

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The organization’s main mission is to empower LGBTQ+ individuals to succeed in their respective fields by utilizing their unique viewpoints and talents. The organization also strives to create a world where queer people can be safe and supported. 

Vice President Sydney Brandt (left), Treasurer Zach Hills, Social Chair Carson Collins and President Brianna Hoegler pose in the LGBTQ+ Resource Center on Feb 15. The four are a part of oSTEM, a club dedicated to LGBTQ+ identifying students in STEM.
Vice President Sydney Brandt (left), Treasurer Zach Hills, Social Chair Carson Collins and President Brianna Hoegler pose in the LGBTQ+ Resource Center on Feb 15. The four are a part of oSTEM, a club dedicated to LGBTQ+ identifying students in STEM.

oSTEM puts on diverse programming and events to tailor to the needs of their different members. With the club having members in several different majors, it is important that they do various activities and hold all types of events so that everyone gains something from the experience. 

Some of the social events they have had include an annual egg drop engineering challenge, rock painting and an end of the year picnic. They also foster personal development by holding skills workshops like resume building events or having field scientists talk to the members about their work. 

“I was one of those people who signed up for like twenty clubs,” Hoegler said. “oSTEM was one of the very small handfuls of clubs I decided to stick with.” 

oSTEM offers conferences each year, some of which Hoegler has attended. She believes that she may not have met the people she knows or learned about topics like gender discrimination in artificial intelligence without the club and these conferences. 

“Getting to go to conferences and network with employers and grad school recruiters has been amazing,” Hogler said. 

Two members of Out in STEM tabling at the University of Arizona club fair on Tuesday, Feb. 15.  
Two members of Out in STEM tabling at the University of Arizona club fair on Tuesday, Feb. 15.  

Sydney Brandt, the vice president of oSTEM, is an information science and technology major. She became a member three years ago. 

Brandt moved from Phoenix to Tucson during her freshman year. At this point in time, Brandt felt like she didn’t have many connections with the queer community.

She recalled leaving a class and ending up at the club fair where the former oSTEM president was tabling alone with a rainbow banner. This caught her eye, and she decided to stop and chat with him about the club. 

“That’s where I’ve met most of my closest friends at the [UA[,” Brandt said about the impact oSTEM has had on her life. “It’s one of the most impactful communities I’ve had the privilege of being in.” 

Now she helps plan the events that helped her get over imposter syndrome. She said that oSTEM has helped her value her own skills and talents. With encouraging words from other members in the club, Brandt feels that she’s improved her professional abilities.

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She hopes to help other students who are moving here to find the community she did her freshman year at oSTEM.

“What’s cool about last semester and this semester specifically is we are having a lot of new people drop in, even for like a meeting or two,” Brandt said. 

She said that people have continued to find out about their club through the oSTEM website or the newsletter they put out. She is very excited to have people drop in because she thinks it is very valuable and can give people the chance to build their network. 

For more information about oSTEM, check out their Facebook page or visit them at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. 


Follow Kate Ewing on Twitter


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