FAQ

Do I have to be “out” to join “Out in STEM”?

No – only as long as you are “out” to yourself. Coming out to others is a lifelong process. You are welcome to join oSTEM at any stage in your journey.

Do I have to be a STEM major to join oSTEM?

Actually, anyone of any major can join oSTEM. The industry nights will probably not be very helpful for you if you’re not a STEM major, but there still are a lot of academic workshops and guided discussions where sociologists, anthropologists, political science majors, etc. would thrive in! There are also lots of LGBTQ socials where we’ll steer clear from academic/career-related stuff! So join anyway!!

Do I have to be LGBTQ to join oSTEM? Is oSTEM a LGBTQ-exclusive space?

No, but if you are straight, cisgender, and not questioning, we respectfully ask you to reconsider joining oSTEM. This is a safe space for a specific, often-marginalized community and there are plenty of other professional STEM organizations on Texas A&M’s campus that you can join. You can also join Aggie Allies.

I don’t really understand Discord. Do I have to get it?

You don’t have to get Discord, but Discord is the first place we post to about meetings (second place is email), and also is the only place where oSTEM members chat, and the only place to contain the LinkedIn pages of the recruiters and presenters, PDFs of company presentations, information about the Queer Book Club’s book for free.

Help! How do I make friends within oSTEM?

Attend the socials, initiate conversations in the Discord, get people’s contact info if you talk to someone IRL and get a good vibe from them. Remember: our planned-out-in-advance oSTEM events can only facilitate you meeting other people – your own spontaneous, organic conversations & activities are what makes things fun & creates friendships!

Are there dues I have to pay?

Members are asked (but not required) to contribute $15 USD as an entrance fee to cover simple costs, such as the cost of hosting this website, sending bulk emails, and advertising on campus and social media. We understand financial difficulty and we do not track or link entrance fee payments to your participation in oSTEM.

How does oSTEM confirm the companies that they’re partnering with are LGBTQ-friendly?

We will only ever contact and invite recruiters/representatives from companies that score the highest possible score of 100.0% on the latest annual report of the Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ Corporate Equality Index.

Do I need to get LinkedIn?

If you are looking for a job in corporate America: yes, you should 100% get LinkedIn. You wouldn’t want your future boss or hiring managers looking at your Twitter or Instagram in order to contact you, right?

What is a resumé drop?

oSTEM provides a resumé folder service for undergraduates and graduate students in specific majors that our industry partners request before they present. We will message you on Discord, collect your resumes into a secure folder, and then privately share these resumés with companies who present to / network with / recruit from us.

Where else can I find other safe spaces on campus?

There are a ton of diverse options out there:

Social organizationss for LGBTQ / women / POC / activism: Queer Aggies, Transcend, the Queer Grad Group, F.L.A.K.E., MUA Ags, the LGBT Pride Center, F.R.E.E., F4A, TAMU YDSA, CMSA and SDS.

Professional organizations for women & POC: SWE, SHPE, SASE, NSBE, MAES, SWISE, and SEC.

Isn’t the word “queer” problematic?

Within the past 30 years of American activism, the word “queer” has been widely accepted to have been linguistically reclaimed by a new generation of LGBTQ youth.

Is this space only for students at TAMU-College Station?

All Aggies from any Texas A&M campus are welcome! However, if you are a non-College Station TAMU student and want to create your own chapter at your own university, please reach out to us and click here for information on how to set up an oSTEM chapter.

Is the Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ Corporate Equality Index (HRC CEI) a form of “pinkwashing”, in which a corporation performs LGBTQ activism without real action, or pretends to care about LGBTQ rights?

Very good question. Arguably, no, and arguably, yes. On one hand, we’ll stress that earning the highest possible score of 100.0% on the HRC CEI is actually quite difficult; there is a very, very lengthy list of mandates that the company has to fulfill in order to get the score, like requirements for gender-affirming healthcare plans, documentation of three separate instances of LGBTQ community outreach, and financial sponsorship of the company’s LGBTQ employee resource group. Furthermore, this process of applying and earning the score is always led by actual LGBTQ folks at the company who want to see more LGBTQ newcomers in their workplace. It is not handed out willy-nilly.

On the other hand, as LGBTQ rights have been folded into the interests of American capital within the past 50 years, it is pertinent to recognize when pinkwashing does happen, most often to obscure a corporation’s or country’s exploitation of labor and resources from the Global South. Pinkwashing as a phenomenon and the American corporatization of Pride has also been deeply studied and debated by academics and activists beginning in the 1980s and 1990s. We recommend the following TAMU professors to talk to about this: Kris May in English, Daniel Humphrey in Performance Studies, and Mikko Tukhanen in English. We also recommend the following writers and authors on the subject: Jasbir Puar, Sarah Schulman, and Stephen Dahl.

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