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Meet these LGBTI geniuses of science and engineering who are shaping our future

Meet these LGBTI geniuses of science and engineering who are shaping our future

a collage of 6 photos of people

Last year, the first ever #LGBTSTEMDay happened on 5 July and celebrated and raise awareness of all the fabulous people work in the fields of science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM).

Like many other groups, LGBTI people are underrepresented in STEM.

Dr Alfredo Carpineti launched #LGBTSTEMDay to help promote the community who face barriers in work such as discrimination and bullying.

As ‘atomic wizard’ Dr Ben Britton says, supporting LGBTI people in STEM is important because ‘STEM drives us forward’.

‘It lives in the engine room of our curiosity. It lives as part of our humanity. The simple fact that you are reading this post on your tablet/smartphone/laptop/desktop/printout-that-your-family-member-gave-you is evidence of the power of STEM to influence our everyday lives,’ he wrote.

So we’ve decided to celebrate just a small number of some of the fiercest LGBTI people in STEM in our list below.

1. Shubhangi Karmakar

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring and Shubhangi Karmakar (R) | Photo: Supplied

Shubhangi Karmakar, 22, is a postgraduate researcher in Intercalated MSc. Molecular Medicine, philanthropist and an activist. That’s all while completing their medical education in Trinity College Dublin, and a being a visiting researcher at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

They work on translational genetic and clinical research in Neuropsychiatric and developmental disorders, such as Rett Syndrome.

Karmakar is an educator and facilitator of conversations on diversity in academia and media. They are members House of STEM and Pride in STEM, an award-nominated charitable trust dedicated to supporting and showcasing LGBT people in STEM.

They are the Health Sciences Editor of the Trinity Postgraduate Review Journal and previously the Digital Editor of the Trinity Student Medical Journal.

They were awarded a nomination of Women of The Year for International Women’s Day 2019 in Dublin for breaking down social obstacles for people of colour / migrants, women, disabled, LGBTQ+ and poor / homeless people.

They also launched ‘Repealist’, is a one-person not-for-profit jewellery and design brand which has raised over €10,000 for Repeal the 8th campaign groups and other human rights philanthropic causes.

This follows a nod for JCI Dublin’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons 2019.

They are the president of the main Irish branch of Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) and became the first treasurer of the Women in Medicine Ireland Network (WiMIN).

2. Cynthia Yeung

a woman on a stage giving a presentation, the wall behind her reads 'lesbians who tech, queer inclusive badass'
Cynthia Yeung works with robots | Photo: Lesbians Who Tech

Cynthia Yeung is the chief operating officer of Cafe X, which is setting the standard for human-robot collaboration in hospitality through its robotic coffee bars. With more than a decade of experience in technology and entrepreneurship, her previous roles have taken her around the world: leading next-gen product for SoftBank Robotics; leading platform for CheckMate, a hospitality startup that was acquired in 2016; sailing on a ship to 13 countries to launch a social enterprise startup accelerator; and leading product partnerships for various Google Maps and Google initiatives.

Yeung graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Management and Technology program with degrees from both the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a Joseph Wharton Scholar.

3. Mario Peláez-Fernández aka Sassy Science

a drag queen in a blue wig standing against a red wall in front of the portraits of two men
Mario Peláez-Fernández aka Sassy Science | Photo: Supplied

Mario Peláez-Fernández AKA Sassy Science whose pronouns are he/him, she/her, they/their out of drag and she/her in drag hails from Spain and has a PhD student in Nanoscience.

Sassy Science uses drag as a means to popularize STEM to underrepresented minorities in STEM.

His PhD looks at the properties of 1D and 2D materials, such as graphene, using Transmission Electron Microscopy; with plausible future applications in things as different as flexible electronics, touch screens, gas sensing or solar cells.

Along with this research, she decided to mix both her activism and a communication challenge she had in her European project and started the science popularisation project SassyScience, where she tries to increase visibility of underrepresented minorities in STEM and their role in the history of STEM itself.

4. Lee Constable

a woman standing against a white background, her arms are crossed in front of her
Lee Constable | Photo: Supplied

Lee Constable is a bisexual TV presenter with a focus on science, technology and society. She hosts the Australian science and tech TV show, Scope and has toured remote Australia with the Questacon Science Circus, performing live fire shows.

As a student, she founded, produced and hosted youth social justice and sustainability radio show, SoapBox.

Constable also founded, Co-Lab: Science Meets Street Art, where she sets up one-on-one collaborations between scientists and street artists resulting in science-inspired street art that evolve live for the public.

In 2018, Constable was part of the largest ever all-female expedition to Antarctica with Homeward Bound and women in STEMM from around the globe, which is currently developing a YouTube series about and the role of women in the planet’s future. Also in 2018, Constable was selected into the Emerging Producer Program as part of the 2018 World Congress of Science and Factual Producers.

This year she also plans to release her first book.

5. David Smith

a close up selfie of a man in a white t-shirt and black frames glasses. he is smiling and has a rainbow coloured lanyard on around his neck
David Smith | Photo: Supplied

Dave Smith is Professor of Chemistry at University of York, where he carries out research into smart nanomaterials and nanomedicines, and has published more than 150 papers.

He is a passionate educator, giving outreach lectures to about 50,000 UK school students and developing his own YouTube chemistry channel, with more than half a million views.

Chemical and Engineering News named him as one of the Top 25 chemists to follow on Twitter where he has around 15,000 followers.

Smith has been recognized for excellence both in research and teaching, receiving the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Corday Morgan Award and a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship.

He has written and lectured widely on the representation of LGBT+ scientists and was shortlisted for the Gay Times Honours Barbara Burford Award for activist work representing LGBT+ individuals working in STEM.  Smith was nominated as one of the RSC’s 175 diverse ‘Faces of Chemistry’. He works passionately for diversity and is a member of the RSC’s Inclusion and Diversity Group.

In his personal life, Smith entered into a civil partnership with his husband Sam in 2010, and in 2014 they adopted their son.  Much of Dave’s research attempts to develop systems which could potentially address healthcare problems experienced by Sam associated with his cystic fibrosis and lung transplant.  Sadly, Sam passed away in early 2019.

6. Brigitte Lewis

a headshot of a woman with short blonde hair who is smiling
Brigitte Lewis | Photo: Supplied/Peter van der Merwe

Brigitte Lewis is wildly passionate about making the net a safer space. She has a background in Sociology AKA understanding human behaviour and is a Penetration Tester (no, really), otherwise known as an ethical hacker, by day.

She works for Deloitte where she tests, websites, people and infrastructure for vulnerabilities and their ability to be compromised so the next big data breach (hopefully), take down or ransomware attack doesn’t happen quite so soon.

‘They say however, that it’s not a matter of if you get hacked, but when and realistically, you’re probably already under attack,’ Lewis said.

Lewis is also a Google Women Techmakers Scholar and coined the term ‘Lesbian Fuck Eye’ or LFE, published in Australia’s Archer Magazine.

7. Ben Britton

a man in a grey vest standing in a corridor, he is looking at the camera and is smiling
Ben Britton | Photo: Supplied

Dr Ben Britton is a professional ‘atomic wizard’ (materials scientist and engineer), that means he works on how to understand the behavior of metals from atoms upwards. Britton’s work tends to focus on mechanical behaviour and performance in metals used in aerospace, oil and gas, and nuclear power.

He is a trustee of Pride in STEM and a member of TIGERSInSTEMM.

On top of being an atomic wizard, Britton has won a bunch of awards including the Imperial College Presidents Award for Outstanding Early Career Researcher in 2017.

In 2016 he was the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year was awarded the IOM3 2014 Silver Medal for his outstanding contribution to materials science, engineering and technology by a person under 30.

8. Alfredo Carpineti

a man standing against a concrete wall. his hands are behind his back and he is wearing a white shirt over a blue science themed t-shirt.
Alfredo Carpineti | Photo: Supplied

Alfredo Carpineti is a gay Italian astrophysicist, science journalist, and science communicator. He has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Imperial College London.
Carpineti founded and is the chair of Pride in STEM. They started and continue to promote LGBTSTEM Day, the international day for LGBTQ+ people in STEM which happens every year on 5 July.

9. Emma Haruka Iwao

Google employee Emma Haruka Iwao smashed the previous pi world record | Picture: Google

Haruka Iwao smashed a Guinness World Record just last month when she calculated the length of the number pi (π) to a new world record.

The developer advocate at Google calculated pi to 31 trillion digits, which smashed the previous record of 22 trillion digits.

‘I am still trying to adjust to the reality. The world record has been really hard,’ Iwao said at the time.