Dr. Ramón Barthélemy is currently an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University ofUtah in Salt Lake City. Dr. Barthélemy’s current research applies qualitative and quantitative methods to study the educational trajectories and experiences of underserved student populations and their impacts on their career goals.
Barthélemy has been interested in STEM equity work since he was a graduate student. His subfield is in physics education research, and he has striven to bring in gender and queer theory in order to understand educational pathways and experiences of minoritized people in the field.
“It was very apparent as an undergrad that there was a distinct lack of diversity in physics students, which was concerning and pushed me to think about how to make changes” he says.
“The world is a diverse place, and the opportunities provided by being a STEM researcher and being part of the STEM community should be available to everyone.”
Barthélemy is a member of the third ARC Network Virtual Visiting Scholar (VVS) cohort. The VVS program provides a unique opportunity for select scholars across disciplines to pursue research meta-analysis, synthesis, and big data curation on topics crucial to STEM faculty equity.
Participating in the VVS program gave Barthélemy the opportunity to be able to focus on LGBT issues in STEM. “It’s actually the first time I was given funding to do queer studies in STEM, and there’s a great community element as well,” he says. “You’re snapped into a network of interesting scholars and an important platform to disseminate findings. It’s a great way to share work.”
For his VVS research, Barthélemy focused on policies for LGBT+ faculty and students in STEM. LGBT+ issues are not discussed as much as other marginalized identities in STEM, and Barthélemy wanted to dig deeper into the literature to help think about the issue from a policy perspective.
One of his biggest findings was the fact that most research on LGBT+ people in STEM has focused on negative experiences, such as stories of exclusion or poor workplace culture.
“I didn’t see studies that looked at queerness as a resource. How is queerness a positive thing? How does it help people succeed? There is a rich vibrancy that comes from diverse identities and backgrounds. I want people to take away the fact that we need to start thinking about ways to examine identity in a positive light.”
Barthélemy built upon his VVS research to receive a grant with colleagues to investigate the networks of non-LGBT women and LGBT people in order to determine how they construct and navigate their professional networks to support their post PhD physics careers, with the hope that their success can be replicated for students. Additionally, acting as a part of theARC Network has granted him the opportunity to serve on advisory boards, go to workshops, and facilitate sessions at conferences. “I really loved it. I thought it was an awesome opportunity to get to know people I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to network with, and it helped catapult my career.”