The University of Kansas O-STEM student group, an LGBTQ club on campus, is holding a panel about being LGBTQ in the workforce Tuesday, March 23. Among the speakers scheduled to be in attendance is John Michael Handley, a KU alumnus and founding member of the club.
Handley, a 2017 and 2019 graduate, is a project manager at Diode, a subsidiary of Overland Park based engineering firm Black and Veatch. He is also a co-chair for the PRIDE employee resource group at Black and Veatch. Its Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity earned a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index according to a press release published in January.
Other panel members include Shawn Turk, a proud trans man who has worked in the telecommunications industry for over ten years. Myisha Boyd, the diversity and inclusion manager at Black and Veatch, will also be in attendance along with Zach Van Ede, an out person in the field.
“We decided to plan this event because we realized that in the STEM field, and just in the workforce, it can be very hetero and cis dominate and so there’s not a lot of guidance for queer and trans students who may be interested in pursuing these certain fields,” said Nathan Do, president of O-STEM.
All panel members have a relation to the STEM field in some capacity while also being a part of the LGBTQ community.
“I feel like for me, a really big thing in the workforce is how do I present myself in a way that’s true to who I am and in a way that won’t make people disrespect me, per se, and I feel like that’s a thing that a lot of queer and trans individuals struggle with. And we don’t have the answers, but we know people who do,” said Hannah Reid, secretary of O-STEM.
The panel will be on Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m over Zoom. Additional information can be found on O-STEM's Instagram post.