Today the STEM Scholars program held an event focused on diversity. At this event, I learned many things about both myself and my peers. Going into the event I rarely thought about all of the different facets of my identity. As a white, heterosexual, male from a higher socioeconomic status, life has never really been that challenging for me. I try to stay open to these things but not as much as I should. At the event today my life was opened up to the multitude of possible privileges that I have on top of those mentioned previously. The speaker at this event made a very good point that feeling bad about these privileges that we have that others don’t is normal; however, we have the ability and power thanks to these to change the way things are. The example that she made was that someone who is straight is able to speak up for those who are not while having a smaller probability of being hurt for it. We can all use what power we have to help those who struggle to get that power by being minoritized, another interesting topic we covered in the discussion. Being minoritized is basically when a group is given less power based on who they are. As a generally privileged person, there are many things that I could do to help those that are less privileged than myself. Whenever I am given the opportunity to do so is when I plan on exercising this possibility. If any of my friends are ever saying things that they actually mean and are hurtful to groups of people, I make sure to tell them to think about the things that they are saying and seriously consider changing their minds. I will not stand for anyone who believes that homosexuality is a bad thing or that being of a different ethnicity makes someone intrinsically act a certain way.
In terms of how diversity affects STEM, I believe that it is quite well known that persons of color and women are both heavily underrepresented in the field. This is a shame because every kid loves science, I do not think I have ever talked to a child who had not seen something incredibly cool because of science. The field of STEM is not as heavily gender-specific as say nursing, but, it is still associated as being a field for males. The worst part of a field being seen as something for one type of person is that nobody falls under a single identity. Furthermore, a lack of diversity results in a lack of new ideas and new ways of thinking. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics all get their base from solving problems in new and innovative ways to better the planet. Lacking diversity results in a lack of new ideas and new solutions to increasingly complex problems. Thankfully, at OSU, there is a strong focus on diversity and ways to include yourself in new situations to improve your outlook on the world. The multicultural center that came to speak with us about diversity does many diversity talks throughout the year and rewards those that go out of their way to go to multiple sessions and learn more about diversity and other issues.