The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

oSTEM supports LGBTQ+ students in the sciences

Washington and Lee is now one of over 100 colleges to host the LGBTQ+-focused organization
Catherine McKean
oSTEM’s mission is to provide resources and community to LGBTQ+ students studying STEM.

Washington and Lee hosted its first oSTEM chapter meeting in January, representing an effort to make the university’s STEM fields more inclusive.

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (oSTEM) is a non-profit professional society that “empowers LGBTQ+ people in STEM to succeed,” according to the organization’s website.

The organization, which includes student chapters on college campuses as well as professional chapters in cities across the U.S., expanded to W&L because of a student initiative.

Jack Bosco, ’24, founder and current president of the oSTEM chapter at Washington and Lee, says he discovered the organization while conducting graduate school research last fall.

“W&L has nothing quite similar. We have a Women in STEM club, but it’s not the same focus or goals,” he said.

Bosco said that he was able to use oSTEM resources, which include workshops on career inclusivity and conferences on success in academic spaces and the workplace, to polish his application to graduate schools.

He also was able to use oSTEM’s network to connect with members of the largest LGBTQ+ STEM organization that has chapters at different universities.

While oSTEM provides students with professional connections, it’s also focused on building a supportive community.

According to Bosco, the principles of the W&L chapter are “discretion and inclusivity.”

“Anybody is welcome,” Bosco said. “We ask for an open mind. Even if you’re not interested in STEM opportunities, we have plenty to offer.”

oSTEM became active during this year’s winter term with the support of Jake Reeves and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

The full executive team, which consists of Bosco, Vice President Landon Rollins, ’26, Treasurer Jorge Gomez, ’25, and Secretary Jack Maroon, ’26, was present at the chapter’s first meeting along with 10 attendees.

They shared the plans for oSTEM as a new organization on campus and the resources members can access.

“I thought that oSTEM would be a very good resource to have on campus, because we’re in a liberal arts college with not that much focus on STEM,” Gomez said. “It is also very valuable since it is one of the largest LGBTQ+ networks in the world.”

In addition to building a community with shared interests, the university’s oSTEM chapter plans to provide club members with hands-on opportunities to increase their chances of landing jobs and internships and getting into the graduate school programs.

“I really want to go more into how to utilize oSTEM resources to improve your resume,” Maroon said. “What’s important is getting LGBTQ+ people into STEM careers, and I think the most effective way to do that is to offer resume workshops and other professional development opportunities.”

Rollins shares this sentiment and hopes to continue running the club after Bosco graduates.

He also said he believes that oSTEM will have a larger impact on the LGBTQ+ community on campus overall.

“Possibly, with oSTEM, other people can see that they don’t have anything like that in their subject and come up with a similar club for their speciality,” Rollins said.

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Veronika Kolosova, A&L Editor

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