The purpose of the study is to understand the experiences of members of the LGBTQ+ Advocacy in STEM Virtual Community of Practice, which works to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEM. We will explore how members of this community transform from sharing a common interest in LGBTQ+ inclusion to becoming change agents, and how members integrate their change agent identities into their professional identities. The study of member experiences will illuminate the process through which individuals gain skills and confidence required to promote inclusion, and how the community supported their agency in campus climate advocacy.

The guiding research questions are:

  1. How do participants describe their experience in this community?
  2. What critical incidents, events, or interactions support or hinder community participants to achieve the community’s common goals?
  3. What themes emerge from participants’ descriptions of their experiences and activities within this community?

This research will generate new knowledge about the formation of a community of practice to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in engineering and STEM, how its members develop into change agents, and what strategies are effective in reshaping norms and creating LGBTQ+ inclusive departments.