GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 89-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


COULOMBE, Julie1, SMITH, Nicholas1, OCON, Samantha B.2, SPEIR, Laura3, SAMANO, Jena1, BAINES, Alec4, PARKER, Wesley G.5, LIBARKIN, Julie C.6, BAUER, Jennifer E.7 and LAM, Adriane8, (1)Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, 602 Strong Hall, 1621 Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996, (2)West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, (3)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, (4)University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, (5)McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada, (6)Michigan State University, Geocognition Research Lab, 207 Natural Science, East Lansing, MI 48824, (7)Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, Research Museum Center, Suite 1820, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, (8)Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Binghamton University, 4400 Vestal Parkway East, Binghamton, NY 13902

One of the ways in which we can improve and enrich the geoscience landscape is to better understand what challenges and obstacles lie in the way of those with marginalized identities. Our study focuses on understanding and describing the current landscape of the geoscience LGBTQ+ community. Recent events have brought on a renewed call for diversity and inclusion by companies, universities, departments, and organizations. These diversity and inclusion statements appear as steps in the right direction, but are often stand-alone actions that focus on changing the outward appearance of groups and departments rather than dismantling the underlying systematic and organizational barriers that prevent real systematic change. Using a social justice-focused approach involves concentrating on experience-centered data collection, rather than a quantitative count of representatives in any group or team. Understanding experiences from within our community will help to identify and isolate the barriers while highlighting successful strategies that can then be shared and implemented across industries and universities. This will in turn create a safer and more welcoming environment for members of the LGBTQ+ geoscience community, while simultaneously strengthening those spaces for all.

We ground our study in the social cognitive career and minority stress theoretical frameworks and will generate a baseline understanding of LGBTQ+ individual experiences in the geoscience workforce. Our survey is directed at all geoscientists within the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, at any point within their education or career, across all geoscience workspaces. We seek to gather data to identify: 1) barriers to retention; 2) successful inclusion and retention strategies; and 3) challenges and fears that the LGBTQ+ community still encounter in the geosciences. This survey is made up of over 40 questions and will be distributed online over the course of six weeks between July and August 2021. Preliminary data results will be included in this presentation.