Thriving as LGBTQIA+ in STEMM

What does Thriving as LGBTQIA+ in STEMM look like? How far has diversity and inclusion come in STEMM, and what needs to be done to continue to make positive steps into the future? These are questions our panel - from a wide range of experiences across business and research, and with lived experience of diverse genders and sexualities - will reflect on. Each person will share their challenges, triumphs and ultimately what motivates them to stay in STEMM.

Elle Andersson is a talented and established acoustic designer with extensive experience in this specialist field. She has collaborated on a wide variety of building and infrastructure projects across both public and private sectors on a local, regional, national and international scale, including landmark projects such as the Sydney Opera House, the Beijing National Swimming Centre (Watercube) and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (UK). She is also woman of trans experience having transitioned recently at work.

Dr Bridget Haire (Facilitator) is a senior research fellow at the Kirby Institute, and UNSW’s LGBTIQ+ champion. Prior to academia she worked in HIV and sexual and reproductive health for more than 20 years as a journalist, editor, policy analyst and advocate. Bridget’s research interests are ethical issues in infectious disease control with an emphasis on underserved or marginalised populations, gender, and sexual and reproductive health.

Professor Aaron Quigley is Head of the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW Sydney. He is the general co-chair for the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Yokohama Japan in 2021. Aaron’s research interests include discreet computing, global HCI, pervasive and ubiquitous computing and information visualisation on which he has delivered over 50 invited talks and he is an ACM Distinguished Speaker. He has published over 180 internationally peer-reviewed publications including edited volumes, journal papers, book chapters, conference and workshop papers and holds 3 patents.

Tasnim Rahman is training as a neurobiologist, currently finishing a PhD in psychiatry at Neura. They hope to alleviate suffering from mental illness and marginalisation, and increase accessibility to safety and independence via advocacy and science. Tas was a panelist for Sydney Mardi Gras Queer Thinking panel ‘What it means to be non binary’ event, and previously has been a part of ACON’s ‘Pride in Training’ videos and ‘Improving the Health & Well-being of the Trans & Gender Diverse Community’ blueprint.

Dr Tana Tan is a transport and road safety engineer and consultant who has a keen interest in the biomechanics of injury, motorcycle safety and passenger vehicle safety from a very young age. His curiosity has resulted in him studying engineering for his undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral degrees. He also happens to be a gay man. His experience of homophobia in engineering workplaces resulted in him starting up a social and networking organisation, Turing Circle, in 2017 to bring LGBTQIA+ individuals, and their allies, studying or working in science and engineering together.

Thēátin van Leeuwen is a PhD candidate at UNSW with a focus on biomedical solutions for human health and wellbeing. Their PhD investigates the use of polymeric nanocapsules for drug delivery to stem cells. They are a committee member of UNSW’s Athena SWAN program and the Vice President of Turing Circle, Sydney, an organisation that supports both social and professional networking of LGBTQIA+ individuals in STEMM. As a pansexual and non-binary person, Thēátin is excited to be at the forefront of a young and growing community championing acceptance, diversity, and inclusion across all STEMM fields.

Event sponsors

This event is organised by the UNSW Athena SWAN program, in collaboration with the Turing Circle and the UNSW Faculty of Engineering.


Header image by Robert Katzki on Unsplash