At the start of January we welcomed our members back with a coffee social, providing a safe space to socialise and unwind from the stress of University. We continued our tradition and held these weekly throughout the term.
During February we hosted a range of events for LGBT History Month focused on celebrating the importance of diversity in STEM and the amazing accomplishments of LGBTQ+ people within its fields. Our weekly coffee socials featured a series of discussions on LGBTQ+ leaders and innovators within STEM fields. There were some amazing talks ranging from nuclear physics to a biology talk titled ‘Queering the Hunt for the ‘Gay Gene’’.
We also organised a trip to Bletchley Park with CSS. This was the home of codebreaking during WWII and the previous workplace of Alan Turing, a notable LGBTQ+ Mathematician. There was a great turnout across the two societies and a fascinating day was had by all!
The highlight of the month was running our own conference! In semester 1 we secured funding for STEM, LGBTQ & You 2020 through the Alumni Impact Fund and were thrilled to be the recipient of the double funding opportunity. On 26 February we hosted the second oSTEM UK annual conference in collaboration with our closest oSTEM Inc. chapter, Birmingham oSTEM Professionals and Postgraduates. This was a full day of exploring LGBTQ+ experiences in STEM, including 9 fantastic speakers and a panel discussion on ‘Educating as an LGBTQ+ STEM Professional’. Talks revolved around their work and experiences being LGBTQ+ within the world of STEM. This ranged from experiences in Rolls Royce, volcanoes and quantum computing; one speaker even flew all the way from the US just for us! The day was concluded by networking with #BrumSciComm, a local science communication group. STEM, LGBTQ & You 2020 was our biggest event to date, bringing in 81 people ranging from students, staff, and professionals from the University of Birmingham and across the UK, and a great success. A massive thank you to the Alumni Impact Fund, EPS, IOM3, and oSTEM Inc. for your support in making this such an amazing day!
Just one week later we collaborated with WISE and BEaMS to run Equal in STEM 2020, sponsored by Caterpillar. This was an afternoon of panel discussions dismantling prevalent barriers facing STEM students and professionals. Panel topics were Parenthood in STEM, Expectations of a role model, How to be a good advocate and ally, and finally Improving mental health awareness. The event was host to some amazing panellists, including the previous oSTEM Chair and current Regional Coordinator, Avery Cunningham. It’s important to have these conversations, so hopefully Equal in STEM will continue annually.
Throughout the term we also held several joint socials. This included our first social with Birmingham oSTEM Professionals and Postgraduates! This was a great chance to socialise outside of the University environment. We also attended a quiz with BUMS, with one of the oSTEM teams nabbing a second-place prize!
Semester 2 was concluded with our AGM, during which the next committee was elected. We’re excited to announce the new oSTEM at University of Birmingham 2020/21 committee:
Chair: Claire Fletcher
Secretary: James Foley
Treasurer: Alex Kingdon
Publicity Officer: Jack Matthews
Social Secretary: Luke Green
Outreach Officer: Emily Hughes
A massive thank you to everyone who made this such an amazing year for oSTEM! I can’t wait to see what the next committee brings and I have no doubt they’ll do a fantastic job. Good luck and congratulations to the incoming committee!
oSTEM Chair 2019/20
To find out more about oSTEM visit their website www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/ostem.
There are 39 student groups in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. To learn more about their projects and activities head to www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps-societies.