By Taylor Brown, Correspondent
Out In Science, Techonology, Engineering and Math (oSTEM) is an organization at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that supports queer students in the STEM fields. Run by President Caroline Keith, oSTEM provides opportunities and community for those struggling with queer and gender queer marginalization.
In an interview with Horizons, Keith states that “oSTEM prepares people for the working world,” by providing access to internships, jobs, and mentorship programs. The program coordinators are “focusing on creating a larger sense of community,” and ultimately helping to decrease the struggles LGBTQ+ students have on campus.
As the president of oSTEM, Keith focuses primarily on coordinating between officers and planning events. In the past, oSTEM has gone on hikes, done restaurant fundraisers, pumpkin carving events, a fall festival, and attended conferences. The organization is planning on participating in the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Compassion Initiative, where students are encouraged to be thoughtful of their fellow peers.
In order to join oSTEM, request to join from the Ernie page. The request will be manually accepted within 24 to 48 hours, and bimonthly meetings in room 55B at 5:00 p.m. These meetings are an hour long, and the next one takes place on Dec. 3.
An important thing to remember about oSTEM is the privacy protection. oSTEM is a closed organization, and if you’re a queer student who is not ready to come out, joining oSTEM won’t out you on a public level. The only people who have to know you’re in oSTEM is the organization itself.
Of course, not everyone is in a position to be open about their identity. But if you ever want to find additional support and community on the Embry-Riddle campus, there are clubs for you. Students can find solidarity in the Society of Women Engineers, National Gay Pilots Association, Women in Aviation, Black Student Alliance, and many more. Embry-Riddle Students can join diversity clubs through their Eagle Life accounts.
Finding a community of like minded peers who understand and support you can help with the isolation that comes from marginalization. Caroline Keith reminds students on campus that “Everyone goes at their own pace, whenever you decide to join diversity clubs we’ll be there to support you.”
If you’re a queer student in STEM, Keith highly reccomends joining oSTEM, and help cultivate the growing community of LGBTQ+ students at ERAU.