Published: June 17, 2021

Dear CU Engineering and Applied Science community,

This month we celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride, which occurs in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising that became a major catalyst for the gay liberation movement in the United States when Marsha P. Johnson, a Black activist who defined herself as a gay drag queen and transvestite, and other advocates were among the first to take against police brutality. You can read more about the history of Pride Month at the Library of Congress

We take this opportunity to specially recognize the students, faculty and staff who are a part of LGBTQ+ communities and to celebrate your contributions to our college. 

We recently highlighted the efforts of oSTEM at CU Boulder and the engineering students who will be leading the organization in the fall. oSTEM is a vibrant student society dedicated to LGBTQ+ individuals within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics community and open to all. oSTEM event coordinator and former president Arpi Grigorian represented the organization in the latest issue of the student magazine Colorado Engineer

Director of Faculty Advancement Robyn Sandekian is the oSTEM staff advisor and a leader of LGBTQ+ support in our college. She has worked to ensure that our college’s faculty search processes are inclusive, in part, by sharing our faculty job postings on LGTBQ+ venues and ensuring that the Dual Career Program clearly welcomes all partners of  new faculty members. In addition, she facilitates Safe Zone Ally Trainings developed by the American Society of Engineering Education and has previously presented on greater inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community during staff professional development weeks.

Alongside Robyn, we applaud the efforts of faculty members such as Kyri Baker, who incorporated LGBTQ+ student support into her recent NSF CAREER award, and Wil Srubar, who included support for LGBTQ+ undergraduate researchers in his NSF CAREER award. Wil, the former oSTEM faculty advisor, has been a role model for engineering students

We also celebrate student advocates like applied math and engineering physics student Sindhu Sadineni and computer science undergraduate LeeLee James. 

Sindhu is the winner of the 2020 Tito Torres Student Activist and Leadership award given by the CU Pride Office. She has worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to promote the queer and trans community at CU and, in 2019, helped to establish the Evelyn Hooker Advocacy Award and ceremony while working as a board member for oSTEM.  The Evelyn Hooker Advocacy Award annually recognizes a CU Boulder STEM faculty member’s efforts for mentoring a student or researching a subject that inspired an LGBTQ student to break into or persist in the science and engineering community 

LeeLee is an undergraduate student assistant in the Blow Things Up lab in the ATLAS Institute. Her YouTube series, “Twirling Tech Goddess,” is an entertaining and inspiring call for greater access and inclusion in STEM and was featured in Make earlier this year

The CU Boulder Pride Office notes that CU Boulder is among 40 campuses chosen in 2020 for their “Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities.” The Pride Office offers resources, programs and a space where LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff can create a community where they feel safe, supported and connected. You will also find information on Pride events happening this month in Boulder and Denver, including Denver's Black Pride
The many diverse communities that make up our college help us to be stronger, more creative, more resilient and able to meet the world’s challenges with positive solutions that benefit all. Take a moment this month to learn about and celebrate the history and people of Pride with our CU Boulder library guide.

Keith Molenaar
Interim Dean

Terri Wright
Assistant Dean for Access, Inclusion and Student Programs

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