Queer As: STEM
Queer As: STEM is a winner of a 2020 Cross-Pollination Grant
What is "Queer As: STEM" and how will it fill important gaps in opportunities and services being provided within STEM?
Fiona Burmeister-Morten and her collaborator Logan Davis, would like to take the power of the mentor to a greater stage and with a more intentional message: science outreach online to present role models for LGBTQ+ science students. The need for role models is vital. An online platform to share videos will not only reach more of the public and a more diverse audience but will allow for anonymity of students who do not feel safe being out at school. Each video will be titled “Queer As:” with the sub-title of the science field featured. For example, a video featuring a queer quantum physicist will be titled “Queer As: A Physicist”. Each video will be accompanied by curriculum and further explorations for the science and the social concerns designed by Dr. Maritha Burmeister on a volunteer basis, as well as partnerships with existing projects such as 500 Queer Scientists, LGBT+Physicists.org, Pride and Equity Faculty Staff Association, and more. Moving forward, we will interview and highlight scientists that have been nominated by peers or self through an online form.
How have the members of the community that will be served by "Queer as: STEM" been involved in building this proposal?
Inspired by the “Embracing Intersectional Diversity Project” but designed specifically to highlight short interviews with LGBTQ+ scientists to strategically and creatively leverage the power of social media to educate and galvanize, this project draws on Burmeister-Morton’s volunteer experience. Over the last two years, she has been working with Southwest University’s SMART initiative first as a mentor and currently as the Outreach Coordinator. The program matches college-age scientists with underserved elementary age students. Over the course of the school semester, students and mentors create a project based on student interest for a science fair in a structured and engaging setting. Through this experience, Burmeister-Morton witnessed the concerning deficit of the Texas school systems science curriculum and diversity education. She also experienced the profound power of a mentor to influence and encourage. The “Queer As: STEM” project is also informed by Burmeister-Morton’s experiences as a queer STEM undergraduate, the support of the queer organization on campus, and personal mentors.
What progress has already been made?
Professional volunteers have been secured for the production team (producer: Sarah Garahan, curriculum development: Brenda L Burmeister, and STEM advisor: Dr. Romi Burks) and donation of video equipment on loan. A donation match was also made by San Antonio nonprofit Mockingbird Media and Arts.
Where can we find more about your community efforts online?