It’s #LGBTSTEMDAY! Thinkery is excited to highlight this international day to celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals working in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. For this year we wanted to recognize our two new amazing LGBTQ+ museum professionals who contribute directly to Thinkery’s success. We recently sat down with Lou Marchionda, Camp Technology Specialist and Kera Nellor, School and Gallery Education Coordinator to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in STEM. (In our case, STEAM!)
Why is STEAM important to you?
Lou: STEAM helps you make connections to the world around you and become curious about new things.
Kera: I value the ideas and practice of educating through STEAM because it mirrors reality. When experiencing the world around me, I don’t see only math applications or engineering problems. I see a world where these core subject ideas are interconnected. Where there is evidence of engineering, there is also math and science. Where there is evidence of art, there is engineering, math, and science. We are more prepared to tackle with these experiences when we have had the chance to interact authentically with all of the subjects that make STEAM.
Thinkery strives to be a safe, accessible and inclusive space for all to play and learn together. As an LGBTQIA+ professional, please tell us about your experience working in STEAM—and about the importance of inclusion and diversity in STEAM fields.
Lou: When I was younger, I was told I would never be a scientist. Now, as an informal science education professional, I strive to help anyone who is interested in STEAM find their passion and the confidence to pursue it. Anyone can be a scientist if they want to be!
Kera: I have committed to a career in STEAM since earning my bachelor’s degree in experimental art studies. I’ve partnered with major technology companies and have taught children how to use tablet devices to create. I’ve taught art and technology in traditional classrooms and informal learning settings. I show students how to work through the design and creative process when problem-solving. I want to show students that there are different faces in these creative industries. Those differences help us connect with others through our art and our work. Diversity helps us understand the world around us more and better prepare us to improve it.
Why did you choose a career in STEM/STEAM education?
Lou: STEAM relates to so many different parts of our lives and it’s so much fun to help visitors find that connection!
Kera: STEAM education has been a core focus of my career since the beginning when I studied experimental art. Society has learned that many of the key skills needed to be successful extend past the core subjects we were taught in school. STEAM education provides practice in problem solving and creative thinking. I want to be apart of equipping a generation with the skills necessary to solve the problems of the future
Which part of STEAM do you relate to the most?
Lou: Technology! You can do so many cool things with it, and it’s part of my job. ?
Kera: I have long had a passion for creative thinking behind the art. I have taught art formally and informally for almost 10 years.
#LGBTSTEMDAY is an important celebration of diversity and inclusion at Thinkery, where our passion is helping young minds be inquisitive, thoughtful, creative, exploratory and open. Did you know LGBTQ+ students are 10% less likely to enter a STEM career? As we move full STEAM ahead into the future, tomorrow’s thinkers and doers are learning how to make our world a better and more inclusive place today.
Find more information: prideinstem.org/lgbtstemday