GSA Connects 2022 meeting in Denver, Colorado

Paper No. 206-18
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM-6:00 PM


SMITH, Nicholas1, COULOMBE, Julie1, BAINES, Alec2, OCON, Samantha B.3, SPEIR, Eury4, SAMANO, Jena1, 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)University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620; George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, (3)West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, (4)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Missouri, 101 Geology Building, Columbia, MO 65211, (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. 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. Here, we show the major findings from our survey to understand and describe the current landscape of the geoscience LGBTQ+ community.

We grounded our study in the social cognitive career and minority stress theoretical frameworks to generate a baseline understanding of LGBTQ+ individual experiences in the geoscience workforce. Our survey was directed at all geoscientists within the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, at any point within their education or career, across all geoscience workspaces. We gathered 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. The survey was made up of over 40 questions and was distributed online from September 2021 to May 2022. Over 400 responses were recorded with a total of 336 survey responses that met fielding questions and could be included in our data analyses.

Participants were mainly from the United States with responses encompassing most of the GSA regions with minor responses from South and North Central. Respondents were mainly in the 18–34 age range and in the undergraduate to graduate stage of their career. Survey respondents were from a broad range of gender and racial/ethnic identities, including other marginalized identities (e.g., acquired or innate disabilities, first-generation academic, veteran). Survey results therefore capture an intersectional perspective of LGBTQ+ experiences in the geosciences, which can be used as a foundational framework to build a more inclusive, accessible, and diverse geoscience community.