Tags: grants | engineering | safe zone | lgbtq

Grants Aim to Make Engineering a 'Safe Zone' for LGBTQ Students

Grants Aim to Make Engineering a 'Safe Zone' for LGBTQ Students

Members and supporters of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities attend at Gay pride event in Chicago, Saturday, June 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

By    |   Monday, 18 September 2017 10:10 AM

Thousands of dollars will be spent in making engineering a "safe zone" for the LGBTQ community, the National Science Foundation said Thursday in announcing that it would award two separate grants totalling $587,441 in an effort to "increase the inclusion of LGBTQ students and professionals in engineering."

This is based upon the findings that "the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals in engineering has shown that the climate can be unfriendly (or "chilly") for both students and professionals," the NSF said on its website.

This project sees the American Society for Engineering Education receiving a grant worth $473,325 while the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receives a grant worth $114,116.

In a statement, the National Science Foundation explained that the initiative aimed to "identify issues faced by LGBTQ students and professionals in engineering and identify and implement strategies to create more welcoming engineering environments, and disseminate those strategies so that they can be expanded to a national level."

The American Society of Engineering Education noted that students and members of faculty making up the LGBTQ community still experienced exclusion and discrimination on college campuses.

A recent survey of 5,100 college students, faculty and administrators showed that 29 percent of LGBTQ students and faculty experienced harassment and discrimination within the last year, with 20 percent of LGBTQ respondents fearing for their physical safety on campus.

A further 37 percent of students were not comfortable in the classroom and an additional 30 percent of LGBTQ individuals said they seriously considered leaving their institution due to negative experiences and perceptions.

Hector Rodriguez, a Ph.D. student investigating the experiences of LGBT engineering students told The Exponent that "in engineering, there may be more focus on acquiring technical and scientific knowledge and less of an appreciation for talking about social things."

He added that "the thing that keeps circling around is just this idea of exercising more empathy in the discipline of engineering- I think that at the core of all these issues is (a need for) learning more about individuals as individuals and applying that to engineering."

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Thousands of dollars will be spent in making engineering a "safe zone" for the LGBTQ community, the National Science Foundation said Thursday in announcing that it would award two separate grants totalling $587,441.
grants, engineering, safe zone, lgbtq
348
2017-10-18
Monday, 18 September 2017 10:10 AM
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