Photo sourced from Instagram oSTEM is Binghamton University’s chapter of the national nonprofit professional organization.

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM) at Binghamton University provides an empowering and welcoming community for students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community and are interested in pursuing professional development in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM).

oSTEM is BU’s chapter of the national, nonprofit professional organization of the same name. The University’s chapter was established in 2021, joining over 100 professional and collegiate chapters around the United States and internationally.

Sasha Shablovsky, vice president of oSTEM and a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, emphasized community as an important aspect of the organization. They described oSTEM as a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students, as the organization fosters a welcoming environment for people of all sexualities and genders.

“oSTEM is all about finding a community when working toward a career that traditionally may not be very diverse,” Shablovsky wrote in an email. “oSTEM is a national organization that is focused on creating and growing a supportive community for all LGBTQIA+ individuals pursuing careers in a STEM field.”

oSTEM strives to achieve this goal through their educational programming and social community-building events. Past events have included resume and career workshops, queer Jeopardy with the Rainbow Pride Union, Transcend and Keshet, social events and the oSTEM speaker series. Past guests for the speaker series were Owen Gilbo, equal opportunity specialist at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Aviva Friedman, BU ’14 and 4th District Binghamton City Council representative. oSTEM has also participated in the 2022 oSTEM national conference in Boston, which provided professional and networking opportunities.

Shablovsky described some of oSTEM’s noteworthy events, as well as their favorite programming that the chapter has organized so far.

“Some notable events include the networking workshop where members of our E-Board helped students prepare for upcoming career fairs, [and] Gayme Night where members of our club were able to get together and destress with board games and friends,” Shablovsky wrote. “[The most memorable event was] making elephant toothpaste on the spine which was a hands-on activity that anyone was welcome to participate in. This moment stands out to me because it exemplified the fun and engaging elements of oSTEM while being an educational and collaborative opportunity.”

Reflecting on the spring semester and looking forward toward the end of the academic year, oSTEM has more events in store for professional development and community bonding. Emily Leighton, public relations chair for oSTEM and a junior majoring in mathematics, provided her perspective on some of oSTEM’s past and future events.

“I’m really proud of some of the spring 2024 projects we have in store,” Leighton wrote in an email. “We hosted an elevator pitch and networking workshop to discuss professional clothing, [and] appropriate topics … We also have social events such as our Mario Kart/Super Smash Bros tournament we hosted back in February. Don’t forget to catch us at Spring Fling for elephant toothpaste. I’m extremely proud of this E-Board for creating such a fun, but also educational environment.”

As a student organization, oSTEM fosters an environment of support, camaraderie and growth for its members, according to Leighton.

“I would describe the oSTEM community as tight-knit,” Leighton wrote. “We may be small, but we are mighty. It’s refreshing to be around such diverse, yet like-minded people, and I feel like that makes us unique. We have both a support system for each other mentally, but also educationally. I know if I have a question, someone will be able to give advice.”

Leighton and Shablovsky also discussed their respective E-Board positions and what oSTEM means to them personally. For Shablovsky, the role of vice president involves event planning and communicating with both members of oSTEM and the larger university.

“I love my role as it allows me to directly contribute to the growth of our club,” Shablovsky wrote. “STEM classes can be a real struggle and having people with shared experience and who can provide support is so helpful. This club provides a space for people to connect through that, and I find that very meaningful.”

For Leighton, their role as public relations is one that they truly enjoy. In addition to their public relations work, Leighton also conveyed how the association’s vital and compelling vision inspired her to join oSTEM.

“I get to express myself through the posters and hopefully convey the tone of each event through the design of each post,” Leighton wrote. “The vision of the organization is the reason I joined the club because honestly, you don’t see enough queer people getting recognition in STEM fields. That’s something that needs to be changed, and oSTEM aids in changing it.”

For more information about oSTEM, contact or visit their Instagram page at @ostembing.