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Q&A with Caitlin Dunne

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

In honor of Pride Month, we spoke to a couple of our members who identify as LGBTQ+ to get their thoughts on how our LGBTQ+ sisters have been accepted within the engineering space and how we can all be better sisters and allies. This interview was conducted with Caitlin Dunne via email.

Do you feel that the LGBTQ+ community faces unique challenges within the fields of engineering and engineering technology (both in college and professionally)? If so, what is one such challenge and how does someone overcome it?

I don't think the challenges LGBTQ+ people face in engineering are unique, while there certainly are challenges these are also keenly felt by other minorities. The only exception is that being LGBTQ+ can be either seen/unseen to peers, professors and coworkers ... it is not uncommon to be treated differently after someone finds out you are LGBTQ+ but these exchanges, this "otherness" is felt by all Phi Rhos.

Has Phi Sigma Rho provided you any sense of community or support as a member of the LGBTQ+ community? If so, how?

Phi Sigma Rho is truly one of those communities where I was wholeheartedly embraced for all facets of who I am, I had a sense of belonging and inclusion and I never felt I was treated differently because I am LGBTQ+.

What can sisters in Phi Sigma Rho and in the greater engineering community do to be better allies for their peers in the LGBTQ+ community?

Allyship is definitely an action word, and I'd love to see more sisters and the greater engineering community stand up against homophobia, from being more involved with lobbying against exclusionary policies at local/state/federal levels and calling out casual homophobia every time they hear or see it.

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