Out to Innovate Summit 2012

Out to Innovate Summit 2012 was a two-day career summit for LGBTQ+ students, faculty and professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, held October 13-14, 2012 at Ohio State University in Columbus.

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) presented “Out to Innovate Summit 2012”, a summit intended to bring together LGBTQ+ and Ally high school, college and post-doctoral students, with LGBTQ+ career professionals, academics, and employers in the Science / Technology / Engineering / Mathematics community to share diversity, mentoring, and career learning opportunities. Out to Innovate Summit 2012 was hosted by Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM) at The Ohio State University.

What happened at this event:


  • Pre-event tours of Battelle Memorial Institute, Owens Corning, Ohio State University



  • Poster Session – Undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students submitted posters of their work/studies for viewing during the summit and discussion during the closing reception.
  • Career Opportunity Fair • Interview Opportunities for employment
  • AAAS Science Careers resume writing session


There is an abundant need to fill the technological pipeline with highly trained scientists and technicians, especially for research, design, and engineering positions that require employees to have a college degree and skills in math, science, or technology. All groups of students continue to drop out of the educational pipeline in science and technology at alarming rates, but women and ethnic minority youth drop out at a faster rate at each transition point within higher education.

An increasing body of evidence shows the unique challenges that young LGBT individuals inclined toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics face.* Many students may be socially marginalized or even abandoned by family, friends and society because of their sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity. Feeling the isolation and the pressure to succeed, many students may choose not to stay the course in their career track. There are few out role models for these individuals to give them a sense that the career they would like to have is attainable. Yet, at the same time, LGBT STEM professionals have made substantial formal and informal strides in achieving workplace equality.** As the 2010 inaugural Out To Innovate™ Summit at USC highlighted, the time is NOW to bring together LGBT and Ally high school, college, and post-doctoral students with LGBT career professionals, academics, and employers in the STEM community for a day of sharing diversity, mentoring, and career learning opportunities.

Life stories will be shared, myths corrected, and resources provided to give hope, inspire, and enable a helping hand to be out, proud, and on track whether on campus or in the workplace.

Out To Innovate™ 2012: Building on Success

  • Diversity-inclusive companies and educational institutions will have the opportunity to interview, advise, and recruit LGBT STEM students and early career professionals.
  • Participating students—coming from the greater midwest area and other locales —will leave with a better sense of LGBT participation in their chosen STEM careers; find mentorship networking opportunities, and possible employment and career networks.
  • Participants will be surveyed for demographics and asked to fill out evaluations on workshop content value. A final report on this pilot project will be generated for the NOGLSTP Board of Directors and sponsor stakeholders. Criteria for future summits in other locales will be evaluated.
  • Summit leaders and contributors—individuals, corporations, and governmental agencies—will take away a better sense of the size of the LGBT STEM community and the degree of impact LGBT STEM professionals have in our fields.
  • Videos produced from content recorded at the summit will make information on STEM careers for LGBT individuals available on a broad basis through AAAS MySciNet, other internet sites, and downloadable podcasts.

*Cheh, E. and Waidzunas, T., “Engineers Who Happen to Be Gay: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Studentsʼ Experiences in Engineering” (2009). Proceedings of the 2009 Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education.

**National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals. “Career Opportunities for LGBT Science, Engineering, and Technology Graduates: Brighter Than Ever” (2009).

Out to Innovate Summit 2012 Organizers:

Co-Chair: Amy A. Ross, Ph.D., Programming and Mentoring Coordinator for NOGLSTP

Dr. Ross is President of BioLogical Concepts in Los Angeles, CA, and recently served as an Associate Biologist at the California Institute of Technology. She is a founding member of the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association and serves on the USC Alumni Associationʼs Board of Governors. She was a founding member of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Scientists. Dr. Ross has organized symposia for NOGLSTP, MentorNet, and Out and Equal; she established four scholarship funds for USC Lambda LGBT Alumni, and has represented NOGLSTP at many career/pride fairs traveling to professional society meetings, universities, Out for Work, Out and Equal Workplace Summit and more.

Co-Chair: Theodore ‘TJ’ Ronningen, Ph.D., Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH

Dr. TJ Ronningen develops novel spectroscopic sensors as a Principal Research Scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute. Battelle is an international science and technology enterprise that explores emerging areas of science, develops and commercializes technology, and manages laboratories for customers. Dr. Ronningen joined Battelle in 2005. He works with scientists and engineers in the Electronics, Sensors and Information Systems product line to address the needs of commercial and government clients. He also carries out research into applications of emerging spectroscopic and data analysis techniques. Dr. Ronningen is a member and leader of Battelle’s LGBT employee resource group. He obtained his Ph. D. in Chemical Physics from The Ohio State University and a B.A. from Wabash College with a major in Chemistry.

Co-Organizer: Rochelle Diamond, Chair of the NOGLSTP Board of Directors

Ms. Diamond has been a dedicated NOGLSTP leader for over 25 years. She has organized 6 symposia on various topics in conjunction the AAAS Section on Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering and NOGLSTP. She has organized 3 workshops for the Annual Out and Equal Workplace Summit and 4 workshops for the Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native American Scientists National Conference. She is a Member of the Professional Staff at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) since 1982 managing a developmental immunology research group and the Caltech Flow Cytometry Cell Sorting Facility. Ms Diamond participates in the Caltech community on a number of levels which include membership on the LGBTQ working group committee, establishing the Caltech Mentoring Day with the Caltech Career and Development Center, working Career Fairs on behalf of the Caltech Academic Partnership with MentorNet, past member of the Caltech Womenʼs Center Advisory Board, consultant for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Spectrum LGBTA Group, member and volunteer of Caltech Prism Group. Ms. Diamond is a member of the American Chemical Society serving on local section committees, a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), member of the American Association for University Women. She was awarded the Lesbians and Bisexual women Active in Community Empowerment (L.A.C.E.) Award for Professional Achievement (1996) by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the Walt Westman Volunteer of the Year Award (2005) by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals. She is listed in Whoʼs Who in Science and Engineering, Whoʼs Who of American Women, and Whoʼs Who in the West.


Out to Innovate Summit 2012 Exhibitors/Sponsors

Founding Sponsor: Battelle Memorial Institute

Event Sponsors: American Chemical Society Diversity ProgramseBayGenentechIBMJohnson & JohnsonOwens CorningRaytheon

Event Supporters: American Chemical Society Division of Professional RelationsThe Clorox CompanyThe Dow Chemical CompanyGE AviationHonda R&D AmericaNational Security AgencyOhio State University Office of Diversity and InclusionProcter and GambleTexas Instruments

Event Associates: Campus PrideDiverseScholar.org; Generous Individuals; oSTEM at OSUPoint FoundationThe Trevor Project

Media Sponsor: ScienceCareers.org