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.

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

You don’t have to get Discord, but Discord is the only place where we’ll post (1) the university recruiters’ + LGBTQ employee group leaders’ LinkedIn’s, (2) PDFs of company presentations, (3) our resumé drop instructions, as well as (4) how to get the Queer Book Club’s book for free. Additionally (5) we don’t use Groupme and Discord is our only platform for groupchats.

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.

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 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 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?

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.

What is a resumé drop?

oSTEM provides a resumé drop service for undergraduates and graduate students seeking immediate employment after graduating. We collect your resumes into a secure folder, and then when requested, we privately share these resumés with companies who present to / network with / recruit from us. Submit your resumé through the instructions found at the #resume-drop channel on the Discord.

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.

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 executive 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.

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. Recommended authors on this subject: Jasbir Puar, Sarah Schulman, and Stephen Dahl.

Where else can I find safe spaces on campus?

There are a ton of diverse options out there:

Social orgs 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.

Professional orgs for women & POC: SWE, SHPE, SASE, NSBE, MAES, SWISE, 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.

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