We’re also celebrating Rochelle ‘Shelley’ Diamond, applications specialist and facility manager of Caltech’s Flow Cytometry/Cell Sorting Facility, servicing various university departments as well as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is also a researcher and lab manager for Caltech’s developmental immunology group. Rochelle is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and chairs the board of directors of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals. She has received numerous awards for her LGBTQ diversity work and has been listed in ‘Who’s Who in Science and Engineering’ and ‘Who’s Who of American Women’.
So there are an awful lot of issues that still need to be addressed, especially because science and engineering are behind about twenty years sociologically: we can’t even get a handle on how many LGBTQ people are in the STEM workforce. There’s a couple of grants going in now to [the National Science Foundation] to try and measure that. We’ve been funding one about experiences of STEM students and employees but it’s all piecemeal. And it’s all based on self-identification. And we don’t have a good handle on the demographics, in terms of ethnicity and other things, where they live and all that. So there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, because when you go out and talk to people they go, “Well, what’s the demographics?” [laughs] That’s the first thing they ask me! “Well, how many people are there, in STEM, who are LGBT?” I can’t tell them. I don’t know.
[National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals helps companies] understand the issues that are going on because they’re not following it like I do, and second of all, every two years we put on this summit called Out to Innovate [a conference for LGBT professionals in STEM], and we need sponsorship for that. I want companies to step up and help us mentor people and be part of this inclusive programming to get people to come together and learn best practices and how to manage their lives so that they can feel not only productive, but safe. And to have a network of people that are LGBT that can help them. Form our own old boys’ network, so to speak. I want them to pony up a little bit and help the process. And they want to look like they’re a great HRC 100 [company], well, OK, help us help everybody so we don’t have to do this anymore.