The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals at IU seeks to shrink the “big disconnect” that exists between gays and the sciences, co-founder and Bloomington resident Kay Johnson said.
When Johnson was a graduate student at Purdue University, she started the first collegiate branch of NOGLSTP, she said. Through it, she hoped to find faculty members in the scientific fields who were supportive and willing to mentor students who have come out and joined the GLBT community.
“There isn’t really room for gay in the sciences because nobody’s talking about it,” Johnson said. “There’s a real ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in the fields of engineering and sciences.”
It’s not necessarily an anti-gay sentiment, but it’s not very welcoming, she said.
Many GLBT students come out in college. Because they don’t put their sexual orientation on their resumes, their bosses and coworkers don’t necessarily realize they are part of the GLBT community, Johnson said.
“All of a sudden, you’re in the closet again,” Johnson said.
NOGLSTP at IU attempts to change that by providing a safe, inclusive space for people to meet others in their field and see examples of how members of the GLBT community can be out in their professional life.
The IU branch of the organization has 13 members.
Sophomore Chris Kase is a co-founder of NOGLSTP at IU and currently serves as the organization’s president.
It’s important for people to feel like they have like-minded allies, Kase said.
“You have to be able to be yourself,” Johnson said.
Ara Scott, an IU student who belongs to NOGLSTP, is working on her degree in biology. She said she hopes to one day start a health care profession that’s specifically geared toward GLBT students, she said.
“It’s something that hasn’t been done yet, so we can really shape it in a way that’s best for members,” Scott said. “It was a wonderful-sounding opportunity to meet other professionals and perhaps have an outlet for doing some different community projects.”
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