In Conversation with Rowan’s Out in STEM Club President 

Out in STEM President Cat is smiling outside on campus.

Today, we feature junior Cat Abacan (she/her), who majors in Civil and Environmental Engineering and minors in Sustainable Built Environments. She is a member of the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), RUPAC (Rowan University Philippine American Coalition), and is the President of the Out in STEM Club, a newer club on campus. Cat discusses the goals of the Out in STEM Club and her responsibilities as President of the organization.

What is the Out in STEM Club to an individual who is unfamiliar with it? 

The Out in STEM club focuses on creating community within the LQBTQ community within STEM majors. I understand that sometimes people would like to connect with individuals who have a sense of what they are going through academically and in terms of their identity.

This club is all about building a community and place for individuals to be themselves, especially when they are seeking out this safe space. 

What is the goal of this club? What will members of this club do on a regular basis?

The goal of this club is to meet new people of whom you can make connections with academically [in terms of classes and fields of study.] But we also value professional development and occasionally have speakers. We are working on getting more speakers for the upcoming months.

A lot of the time we spend in the club is simply gatherings where the team members come and spend time together. Finally, we have our Discord, which is focused on talking with and meeting other people within the club. 

Cat Abacan, President of OSTEM.
Cat Abacan, President of Out in STEM Club.

What is your personal role and responsibilities associated with the Out in STEM Club? How did you get involved with this?

My duties as President of this club consist of a few different things. First, I brainstorm and keep track of what our meetings and events will consist of. Secondly, I am constantly communicating with my e-board members and leading the conversations on new ideas for the future of the club and for different outreach projects. Finally, I am the person that people email outside of the club to find out more information and provide answers for any questions, concerns, or new ideas that individuals may have. 

What is your favorite part of this club? 

I definitely think that my favorite part of this club is the opportunity to meet new people that I would not have met through my classes. A lot of my e-board members are freshman or sophomores and individuals I would not really have had the opportunity to know through my academics. I am grateful that I have met individuals of all grades with similar interests as me and who are passionate about common ideas. 

It is really nice that I have so many friends now that not only understand me academically but know what I am going through as a member of the LGBTQ community. 

Cat Abacan with fellow OSTEM members playing a game called Happy Little Accidents.
Out in STEM members playing a game called Happy Little Accidents.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future for this club? 

For the future of this club, I do aspire to have more professional development opportunities and to have more speakers come to share their queer experiences and stories within the workforce. I really want to bring in speakers who can be role models for the members of our club and provide the opportunity for members to make connections professionally. We are a relatively smaller club, so I also aspire to grow this club and attract new members who are interested. 

When and where does the club typically meet?

We usually meet biweekly on Fridays room 320 in Engineering Hall at 1 p.m.

Cat speaks with another member of the club.

How can students and allies get active in the club?

Students and allies can get active in this club by attending our meetings, by joining our Discord, and by following us on social media to stay updated with upcoming events or speaker presentations. Our instagram is @ostem.at.rowan. You can also stay updated on our club’s Proflink page

What do you want people to know about the Out in STEM club?

I would like people to know that even though our club does focus on STEM majors like engineering, science and math, we invite anyone and everyone to be an active member of the club. Whether you want to attend meetings to hangout with friends, seek out professional development opportunities, or simply to be educated on the LGBTQ communities, we invite anyone to join. 

I also want to add that if anyone is looking for leadership opportunities, our club is always looking to add more people to our e-board.

Closeup of card game played at OSTEM member meeting.
Out in STEM members play a card game at a recent meeting.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Joseph Conte, junior community and environmental planning major

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