LGBTQ+ STEM Day 2022

Nov 14, 2022

November 18th is the International Day of LGBTQIA+ People in STEM, the Diversity Group of the Virgo Collaboration is organizing “LGBTQ+STEM Day: promoting the LGBTQ+ community in STEM and in life”, a virtual conference to explore the topics of this important day.


Invited Speakers:

Simon Fox (he/him)

Title: Mind the Gap: Seeing and studying hidden populations in public health


Abstract: Mind the Gap: Seeing and studying hidden populations considers a doctoral primary study on ageing LGBT+ populations within the context of an academic career. The path to research is seen through a queer and public health lens, as the practitioner uses his own life and career to illustrate how clinical and academic environments and practices can both hinder and help LGBTQ+ STEM professionals.

Bio: I am a doctoral student perilously close to finishing my public health doctorate. My specialism is in ageing LGBT+ populations, which stems from my academic career and clinical career in palliative care, dementia care, and occupational therapy. I have previously given talks on this subject at the University of Oxford and Teesside University. In my spare time, I like to go to the gym, to socialise, bake, and do gardening.

Jaz Millar (they/them)

Title: Finding Snowball Earth

Abstract: During the Cryogenian period (720-635 million years ago) the Earth may have been almost completely frozen from the poles to the equator. Life must have not only survived this extreme climate change but sustained and diversified, as many of the first animals and plants emerged in the subsequent Ediacaran period. To understand how microorganisms survived in the cold past we look to habitats on glaciers today. Using DNA sequencing, laboratory simulations, and monitoring photosynthesis we demonstrate the capability of microorganisms to survive in Snowball Earth like conditions.

Polar science is vital for studying climate change past, present and future and a wide range of other topics. However, its imperialist history and the nature of remote fieldwork present unique challenges to equality in the field. In this talk I’ll also illustrate the wide ranging issues for LGBTQI+ equity in polar and wider geoscience.

Bio: Dr Jaz Millar (they/them) is a microbiologist and post doctoral research associate in the Microlab research group at University of Bristol School of Geography Glaciology Centre. Having completed their PhD on the topic of glacier surface ecosystems as refuges for life on Snowball Earth, they are now focusing on glacier algae as part of the Leverhulme Trust funded project “ice-Dependent Adaptations for Plant Terrestrialisation”. Over the last 8 years in their free time they have worked and volunteered and as a consultant and advocate on trans inclusion and making inclusive events.

Each presentation will be followed by a discussion


How to participate to the event?

The conference will held on zoom at the link below. No registration is required.

LGBTQ+ STEM Day Virtual Conference
18 nov. 2022 03:00 PM CET
Participate to the virtual conference

This event is a space that supports and welcomes all LGBTQ+ people around the world, but especially those with intersecting marginalised identities. By joining this event you are agreeing to the following code of conduct which will be in place during all interactions associated with this event (through moderation and reporting), and the violation of which will lead to ejection from the event:

  • No harassment or negative comments based on race/ethnicity, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, physical appearance, citizenship, or other protected categories;
  • No threatening or endangerment of other participants, including the moderators, via text, video or images;
  • No unwelcome sexual attention;
  • No encouragement of any of the above behaviours;


About the Diversity Group

The Virgo diversity group formed some years ago and became more active shortly after the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in May 2020 in response to the killing of an unarmed black person in the US. It aims to foster a collaborative environment within Virgo and create safe space for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, cultures and physical or mental abilities. Because of the group’s popularity and persistence, we have been able to organize a diversity session at each LIGO and Virgo collaboration meeting that has occurred since the BLM protests. We aim to raise awareness of the minorities that exist within Virgo and to highlight the benefits of creating an equal and inclusive community.



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