About oSTEM

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) is a national society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership for LGBTQA communities in the STEM fields.  The national society has been built by students, for students.  We started as a single chapter in 2005, and today we encompass more than 50 chapters across the country.  Anyone who wishes to connect or start an oSTEM chapter should email us at info@ostem.org.  We have a chapter manual with helpful tips and knowledgeable mentors who are ready and eager to assist.

Volunteers and sponsors are always welcome, and tax-deductible contributions to support the society are welcome through PayPal via donate@ostem.org or through Click&Pledge.  The national board, oSTEM Incorporated, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that is recognized at the Federal level and in the State of Connecticut.  All funds are used to create programming opportunities, to enrich chapter development, and to further grow the national society; no funds are used for salaries or compensation.

Mission

As an organization dedicated to community, our work starts with our mission. It serves as a touchstone and reminds us of our common goals:

  • To educate, empower, and engage a diverse community,
  • To identify, address, and advocate for the needs of LGBTQA students in the STEM fields,
  • And we fulfill these needs through mentorship connections, networking opportunities, strategic collaborations, and professional/leadership development.

Vision

As we conduct our work, we are guided towards a shared future: we envision a world where all members of the STEM community can pursue their work in a safe and supportive environment that celebrates their contributions and differences.

Values

We conduct our work with a shared sense of community and are proud to say that:

  • We value our members
  • We value students as peers and colleagues
  • We value reciprocal mentorship
  • We value diversity of thought and diversity of being
  • We value the contributions of underrepresented gender and sexual minorities, as well as those of our allies
  • We value prioritizing everyone who is underrepresented, even within LGBTQA communities
  • We value opportunities to partner with other organizations toward common goals
  • We value and encourage research from within and around our community
  • We value paying it forward

History of oSTEM

In October 2005, IBM sponsored a focus group where students from across the United States convened at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters in Washington D.C.  These students discussed topics relevant to LGBTQA communities at their own colleges and universities, and they debated how to structure an organization that serves students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

oSTEM, which stands for Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, emerged from the focus group as a new national technical student society for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.

Before oSTEM, there was no inclusive organization dedicated to serving LGBTQA students in the STEM fields, though our nation has long celebrated and supported diversity in science and engineering with other national student groups, such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

In order to sustainably advance LGBTQA STEM students, five chapters collaborated to found oSTEM Incorporated in 2009, achieving 501(c)(3) status by December 2010.  Recognized as a public charity at the Federal level and in the State of Connecticut, the national organization serves the oSTEM society by developing STEM leadership, encouraging collaborations, building new infrastructure, and through its shared resources, newsletters, and mentorships.