In 2016, a steel-and-glass spaceship landed next to St Pancras railway station, London’s gateway to Europe. From the start, the biomedical powerhouse that is the Francis Crick Institute set out to put its stamp on a district already home to University College London, the Wellcome Trust and Nature. But how to carve out a cultural niche in an area buzzing with scientific and artistic activity?
Using a national longitudinal survey data set from the Higher Education Research Institute, this study tested whether students who identified as a sexual minority (for example, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer) were more or less likely to persist after 4 years in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, as opposed to switching to a non-STEM program, compared to their heterosexual peers. A multilevel regression model controlling for various experiences and characteristics previously determined to predict retention in STEM demonstrated that, net of these variables, sexual minority students were 8% less likely to be retained in STEM compared to switching into a non-STEM program. Despite this finding, sexual minority STEM students were more likely to report participating in undergraduate research programs, and the gender disparity in STEM retention appears to be reversed for sexual minority STEM students.
Climate scientists Zoe Courville, 42, and Lora Koenig, 40, met more than a decade ago in the middle of the Greenland ice sheet where they were colleagues — before either of them had kids. Now, Koenig, who lives in Colorado, has two sons, and Courville, who lives in Vermont, has one son. The working moms are often away from home for weeks at a time studying the impacts of climate change in remote areas of the world. It was especially hard at first to be thousands of miles away from their families, the researchers say in a StoryCorps conversation.