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National Science Foundation is dedicated to making LGBT engineering students feel welcome

Elizabeth Harrington from the Washington Free Beacon documents how the Nation Science Foundation (NSF) is motivated to making LGBT students feel more comfortable in engineering classes.

The NSF has awarded $149,921 to researchers for a study that will “learn how engineering culture can be changed to make LGBT students feel comfortable.”   According to researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, engineering programs that lack LGBT diversity are less creative. Furthermore, they believe there is not enough data collected on how LGBT students feel in class.  

“The emotional toll of being an LGBTQ engineer (either open or closeted) is so great that it threatens to drive LGBTQ engineers out of the field,” the grant states. “Their departure from engineering for reasons that have nothing to do with qualification only makes the field more homogenous and therefore less creative, innovative, and risk-taking, at the same time diminishing a population that is already underrepresented in engineering.”

The research project is creative but I would question how effective the study will be. Focus groups can be effective however a focus group about subjective emotions may not give objective answers to how a group of people feel. I do agree that the grant will allow colleges and universities to determine how to include a population of students that are overlooked but I still would like to know more about the research tactics.

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