From: Out in STEM
Date: March 22
Subject: oSTEM:Speakers Next Week + Elections

oSTEM logo.

Queers Read This!

Are you #TeamSelena or #TeamHalle? [reply here]

    We are happy to confirm that the election process is going along smoothly, although the position for president is a close race!

Last Week

    Our Spring Symposium presentation last Friday was a hit! We are very thankful for the support of our new besties at the MechE Department who invited us to share what we do as an identity-driven student organization. The department heads were blown away by our ambition and by your successes and stories. We’ve only been an official organization for a couple of months and we’re already turning heads when people hear about the internships & research positions from our newsletters that you are securing, the networking outcomes from our speaker series, and (hopefully soon) the conferences you’re set on going to. It’s always a treat to brag about your queer academic/professional successes, please continue to share them with us so we can celebrate you (and maybe get some funding for future plans)!
    Immediately after the Symposium, we did vent (Among Us reference, yup we’re not over it) to Genessee 308 for our GMM. We gave a small Symposium debrief, shared an updated timeline for Operation ROAR (now set for next semester on Meliora weekend/next spring semester), discussed an Academic Symposium alternative, and teased our guest speaker next week (update on this below). We also opened the CCC voting form for the next academic year’s oSTEM E-Board, the Updates section below includes more details.

Coming Up

- Speaker Series Update: Next Friday from 5-6 pm at Genesee 308
    Last week, we announced Jon Boualavong, an environmental separations electrochemist in the civil/environmental engineering department at Penn State (Ph.D. '23), as the next guest of our Spring Semester Speaker Series. We are happy to announce that Dr. Sina Ghaemmaghami, AS&E Undergraduate Research director, will also be joining us next week! After their presentations, we’ll hold a Q&A with both speakers so you’ll be able 
    Jon Boualavong (he/him) is currently working on connecting the fundamental chemistry of electrochemical carbon capture to processing performance metrics (e.g. how much? how fast? how toxic?). He has previously studied copper recovery from whiskey distillery waste and electric field-controlled transport of small molecules into algae. He received his BS in biomedical engineering ('17 T5, cell and tissue engineering) at the U of R and his Take 5 project explored how art could reimagine health-related stigmas.
    Dr. Sina Ghaemmaghami is the University’s AS&E Undergraduate Research director and currently studying the mechanisms of protein folding and degradation within cells. One of Dr. Ghaemmaghami’s virtual talks inspired Nhuja, a beloved oSTEM E-Board member, to get involved in undergraduate research. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear and engage with Dr. Ghaemmaghami!
    We will share proper speaker bios in our next Newsletter, but all other details are set. Both speakers will be at our GMM next Friday, March 31, from 5-6 at Genesee 308. Feel free to invite a friend and spread the word!
- 2023-24 E-Board Elections: Voting Form Link
    As shared in an earlier email, our E-Board elections were opened after our GMM last Friday. You can vote through the CCC voting form linked above which also details the candidate’s platform/bio. The form closes EOD Friday, March 24, 2023, rock the vote!
- Website Changes: Link
    We’re continuing to improve our website as we ‘declutter’ our Newsletters so new content gets the spotlight. On that note, following our trend of including University/outside R&Os only once in our Newsletters (while keeping them compiled on our CCC website & give deadline reminders on our Slack group), we’ll list the Slack Group, National Membership, and other general links on our CCC website/Slack group if you need them. It’s a small change but worth noting where they’ll be after today. 
    Our CCC website is regularly updated, with inactive opportunities separated from those with open application windows. If you spot any issues, our Feedback Form is always open!
- FASA Fest: This Friday from 3:30-6:30 pm at Hirst Lounge
    Our friends from the University’s Filipino American Students’ Association (FASA) have invited us to FASA Fest, their annual festival celebrating and educating the U of R community about Filipino culture. The festival will be at Wilco’s Hirst Lounge (former flag lounge) this Friday, March 24, from 3:30-6:30 pm and feature several booths involving crafts, dance, sports, language, picture-taking, and more! 
    As Co-Sponsors of the festival, we have been promised Halo-halo, a popular Filipino dessert made with crushed ice, condensed milk, and Ube ice cream, after filling our passports (refer to flyer above). All E-Board members will be there supporting our bestie Jewwy Secwetawy (refer to correspondence below).
- Study Hours
    Regular SHs are Mondays from 1-3 pm at the BIC in Douglass Hall. Join us there to cosplay as studious scholars, munch (shoutout Ice Spice) on some BIC-provided snacks, and cry at the upcoming midterms and project deadlines. 
- Slack Group: Link 
    Join our Slack group for better deadline & plan development communication. Because we refuse to flood your inbox any more than we already have, Slack lets us share opportunities with deadlines set before our regular Wednesday Newsletters. 
Note: The link expires in 30 days because Slack said so and idk how to change that. 
- Website: Link
    As always, our website contains our R&O database, previous newsletters, and more pages that *continue* to be developed. If you spot any issues, our Feedback Form is always open!
- National Membership: Link
    National Membership gives you access to all of oSTEM's resources & scholarships, and it takes (max) 3 minutes to register for our collegiate chapter. There is also a ton of other information to explore!
On Campus
- Greene Center (Part I): 2023 Summer Internship Funding 
    The University’s Greene Center is accepting applications for their 2023 Summer Internship Funding which offers monetary support to undergraduate students with internships this summer. Applications are due April 10, 2023 at 11:59 pm ET. 
    Note that the funding opportunity is need-aware and asks for documentation of a cost of living financial need exceeding that of the internship wages (or other funding support). Find further eligibility details here and submit your application here (here is the worksheet linked to guide you through what they’ll ask for). 
    Next week, we’ll be going into the Greene Center and how you can best take advantage of its resources like we’ve done with other University offices, organizations, and departments (Re: The Kearns Center, The Fellowships Office, etc.).
Outside R&Os
- Refer To Group Website

In The News

• Drag Legendary Legend Jinkx Monsoon in Broadway: Link
[Spoilers: RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5, and All Stars Season 7]
    Drag Race royalty, Jinkx Monsoon continues to make waves as she goes from canonical Queen of Queens to now playing the iconic Mama Morton in Chicago. While Jinkx’s journey deeper into the mainstream has had a lot of us queers celebrating her achievements and artistry, there has of course been some pushback. Notably, however, Jinkx has not limited her response and advocacy by just focusing on the pushback & policing of performance drag. She has taken advantage of her platform and voiced dissent on the rise of transphobic bills throughout her interviews, calling out the strategic shift of political focus to drag artists instead of gun violence or transphobic legislation.
Note: Out of drag, Jinkx is nonbinary and uses she/her pronouns in drag, and they/them for the artist behind.
• Todd Union Moves Forward In Historic Designation: Link 1 + Link 2
    The University’s very own Todd Union is closer to joining the State and National Registers of Historic Places for its significant association with the University’s Gay Liberation Front, a campus organization, in the 1970s. The UR GLF would organize programs, hold advocacy events, and share resources in Todd Union, some editions of The Empty Closet newspaper were also produced there. They’re considered to be “the origin of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and activism in the Rochester area,” helping establish the queer community we see today [2]. Unfortunately, queer pioneers have their journey blurred through the erasure (or generalized if they’re lucky) of LGBTQ+ history. I’ll do some digging on the UR GLF’s history and hopefully detail their activism in a future Highlight. 
    Special thanks to Col E. Raimond, a BIC icon and the University director of LGBTQ Life, for their contributions towards Todd Union’s Historic Places application. Additional thanks for the contributions of Gerald Gamm, a professor of political science and of history; and Melissa Mead, the John M. and Barbara Keil University Archivist and Rochester Collections Librarian.

Cruel Optimism

 “[Cruel optimism] pursues conceptually the question of how people maintain their binding to modes of life that threaten their well-being, and to do this it recasts the object of desire not as a thing (or even a relation) but as a cluster of promises magnetized by a thing that appears as an object but is really a scene in the psychoanalytic sense. This shift has two main purposes. One is to clarify how being incoherent in relation to desire does not impede the subject's capacity to live on, but might actually, at the same time, protect it. The other is to track what we learn about impediments to personal and social change from some attachments that become foundations for optimism even when they are damaging.”
- Lauren Berlant (Cruel Optimism)
    American scholar, cultural theorist, and author, Lauren Berlant, problematizes self-defined ideals & goals and the drive toward them in her book, Cruel Optimism. In linking neoliberal influences to these self-defined goals, Berlant also questions the utility of ‘optimism’ and highlights its shortcomings. Cruel optimism describes the paradoxical act of pursuing a goal/object actually furthers one’s real access to it. While her critique of modern optimism admittedly takes a ‘glass half empty’ perspective (that you may not relate to/agree with entirely), it could serve as a new lens through which to view your everyday life. 
    The ‘American Dream’, as Berlant mentions, through the lens of cruel optimism, has been an idea historically sold to working-class migrants. It cements the neoliberal “pull yourself by your own bootstraps” mindset by ingraining the idea that only hard work influences one’s upward mobility (while ignoring the inequality it simultaneously upholds) and comfort is a privilege. Berlant calls it out as being a set of goals that we should work toward, a reflexive response to our environment, with the promise of ‘a better life’ always set in the future. She frames optimism as a symptom of buying into the mindset, a survivalist coping mechanism that rationalizes the cruelty of sacrificing our well-being for ‘the good life’ promise achieved (not really) only through a path established for us. 
    Activists who justify sanitizing queer existence through assimilation in exchange for tolerance are falling for the cruel optimism trap actually furthering social progress from the present. Jeffree Star denouncing the very concept of gender nonconformity by expressing confusion & disgust at they/them pronouns surrenders progress to ignorance and feeds into the myth that the modern binary has always been all there is, failing to consider the influence of previous persecution & discrimination leading to today’s establishment. 
    Berlant’s reframing of optimism and our relationship with hope in defining ideals isn’t entirely pessimistic, it calls on shifting a lot of our focus from the promise of the future towards the tangible present. As with all the works we highlight, you don’t have to agree (entirely or at all) with the author. The beauty of queer theory is that its dialogue isn’t just external, some Highlights build on each other while others directly oppose the other (Berlant’s Cruel Optimism is especially full of references to other works). 
I swear I tried to make this a short email, like frfr!

oSTEM Bi-Weekly GMM Logo


oSTEM Bi-Weekly GMM

Friday, March 31
5:00pm - 6:00pm
Genesee 308, 500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd, Rochester, NY 14627, United States
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Our bi weekly member meeting



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2023-2024 oSTEM EBoard Elections