Last month the inaugural inSTEM conference was run up in Brisbane/Meanjin, this was a collaboration between a group of ARC Centres of Excellence. inSTEM is a networking and career development conference for people from marginalised or underrepresented groups in STEM, and their allies. It is an initiative of the STEM-focused ARC Centres of Excellence.
Networking is a key strategy for career progression, yet numerous studies have shown that women’s networks are less powerful than men’s and that women seem to be less equipped to leverage the networks they do have when it comes to their career. Further research has found that this is not an issue specific to women but is indicative of the experiences of marginalised groups in general.
TMOS had representatives who worked on the organisation and running of the event. Our own Distinguished Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC was the opening keynote speakers for the conference. We also had numerous students attend the event, including Marcus Cai, one of our PhD students from ANU. We asked Marcus to share his thoughts on the event and this is his response:
“I was selected by TMOS to attend this inSTEM Conference in person and it has been the best conference I have ever been to so far.
The inSTEM Conference is about networking and career development for people from marginalised or underrepresented groups in STEM, and their allies. As a queer person of colour, it was very inspiring to see so many people from underrepresented groups with a STEM background have very successful careers in and out of academia while still utilising their STEM knowledge.
“All the panel discussions were very inspiring because they touched on so many career aspects while promoting diversity and inclusion. One of the panels was particularly relatable and I cried a little bit. The presentations were informative, and the workshops were interactive. I learned how to better network, better understanding my skills as a PhD student and how to use LinkedIn to build my professional profile.
“My personal favourite was the networking aspect of the conference: I got to meet and make connections with so many STEM people from underrepresented groups. This was truly inspiring as sometimes I could feel like I am the only person in the STEM environment. The networking evening was also super fun with different games, and it had a live performance from Miss Cairo, including a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You. It truly was a pleasure to attend the inSTEM conference in person and I would 100% recommend this event to other people for next year.”
TMOS says a huge thank you to all the organisers and supporters of inSTEM we are exceptionally proud to be apart of an event that will change the landscape we work in.