The National Science Foundation is spending over $100,000 to create "safe zone" inclusion training so more members of the LGBTQ community become engineers.
The project, which will not start until January 2018, is a joint study being conducted by the American Society For Engineering Education, Rowan University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The focus of the study is to find ways to combat what the researchers call a "chilly" environment for lesbian, gay, and transgender individuals in engineering labs.
Two separate grants totaling $587,441 were awarded Thursday. A grant worth $473,325 was awarded to the American Society For Engineering Education, and $114,116 was given to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"Recent research on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals in engineering has shown that the climate can be unfriendly (or ‘chilly') for both students and professionals," according to the grant for the study. "This project aims to increase the inclusion of LGBTQ students and professionals in engineering."
The study aims to "foster inclusion" and allow college faculty and professors to "become change agents."
"The project will identify issues faced by LGBTQ students and professionals in engineering, identify and implement strategies to create more welcoming engineering environments, and disseminate those strategies so that they can be expanded to a national level," the grant states.