LGBTQ Research Symposium encourages education, inclusion

Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center at the City University of New York, will be the keynote speaker at the seventh Annual LGBTQ Research Symposium: Research for Change on May 23 and 24.

The symposium event offers opportunities for mentoring sessions, workshops and research feedback on current projects.

Nadal is one of the leading researchers in understanding the impacts of microaggressions, or subtle forms of discrimination, on the mental and physical health of people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and other marginalized groups.

This program builds upon the success of the previous symposiums that allowed researchers to present and discuss the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned during the social science research with LGBTQ populations.

Ramona Oswald, professor in ACES and a speaker at the symposium, said this event is one of the few in the country that focuses specifically on LGBTQ research but also covers a wide range of social science fields and perspectives.

“We provide a forum that covers human development, psychology, sociology, social work, education anthropology, geography, you name it,” Oswald said. 

Oswald said her human development and family studies background provides a unique background on the everyday lived experiences of LGBTQ families.

“We’re focused on everyday contexts like families, schools, neighborhoods, medical settings,” Oswald said. “And we have an applied research orientation with research focused on bringing attention to and solving practical issues on the ground.” 

Megan Paceley, professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare will be hosting a methods workshop at the symposium, where she will be presenting information about doing community-based LGBTQ research.

The methods workshop will focus methods that involve community engagement as a whole.

“I hope that people who attend that presentation will leave with ideas about how to make their own research more engaging with LGBTQ communities, so instead of doing research on people it will be thinking about how to do research with them as co-researchers,” Paceley said.

Oswald said the event has wide-ranging benefits besides providing a pipeline for researchers and proposals.

“The event also creates a pipeline of senior scholars mentoring junior scholars, and there are continuing education and professional credits offered for some sessions,” Oswald said. “We would encourage any students interested in these issues to come and see what it’s about.”

Oswald said the event and its popularity helps push the University’s message of inclusion and diversity forward.

“We’ve brought over 100 people to this campus from all across the country, even a few people from Canada,” Oswald said. “It creates a forum for important conversations and connections, it helps us recruit graduate students, and it also reinforces a climate of openness and inclusion as part of our campus.”

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