For members of the LGBTQPIA+ community, pursuing a STEM degree can be exciting and rewarding, but also challenging. In our project, “Measuring the Effects of Academic Climate and Social Networks on Persistence of STEM Undergraduates,” we are interviewing and surveying LGBTQPIA+ STEM individuals to understand their experiences in their undergraduate STEM programs. Though LGBTQPIA+ students often face discrimination, harassment and abuse due to their sexual and gender identities in college, currently little is known about their experiences in STEM.
To address this gap in research, our study asks students how their departments create inclusivity and/or marginalize LGBTQPIA+ students, so we can identify strategies that can increase the potential for academic success of LGBTQPIA+ STEM undergraduates. The study will assess LGBTQIA+ students’ perceptions of others’ attitudes and behaviors toward them as well as the social networks they rely on to cope with negative experiences and to succeed in STEM.
Our ultimate goal is to create an inclusive survey that will have broad implications in understanding the experiences of LGBTQPIA+ students across STEM departments and the nation. We hope that this research will improve the experiences of LGBTQPIA+ undergraduates (as well as all students) by providing STEM educators and policymakers with evidence-based approaches they can develop and implement to promote academic success.
*If you identify as LGBTQPIA+ and are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in STEM, you are eligible to respond to a 30-minute survey about your experiences in your program. Your responses will be kept confidential. For participating in the survey, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of 20 $100 Amazon electronic gift cards. You can take the survey here. This study has been approved by the University of Connecticut Institutional Research Board (H17-188).
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