STEMS and Leaves was created in 2019 to promote intersectionality in STEM through storytelling, intimate interviews, and candid conversation. The show focuses on individuals’ experiences and how their identities have shaped their journey working in STEM fields. We do this through the lens of intersectionality, which considers how social labels like gender, race, sexuality, etc impact our work in the world. We also touch on inclusivity as an aspect of intersectionality – that is to say, once we are aware of how our identities effect us in the workplace, how to we create spaces that include, support, and enhance the lived experiences of marginalized groups and individuals?

Above all else, STEMS and leaves is a project fueled by curiosity with an intent to create a space to explore these complex ideas safely and confidently. Together we are learning how to better ourselves and strengthen the systems that bind and support us.

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About the creator

I’m Ezra, the creator and host of STEMS and Leaves. I started this podcast as an undergrad riddled with anxiety about graduation and applying for a big kid job. I had a lot of questions about work culture, legal rights, social expectations, etc and I wasn’t finding the support I needed in my academic spaces. As a person of color, as a queer femme, as a person that often checks the ‘Other’ box, I wasn’t finding people or stories that connected my identities with what I envisioned myself doing as a career. It was hard for me to see a space in STEM where I knew I could be my authentic self.

So, I decided to make some space. I began the show with the idea to host guests in intimate conversations where we could begin to let our humanity show. I am so grateful for the friends, mentors, and other guests that have sat down at the mic with me and shared their truth. STEMS and Leaves has morphed and changed, but the goal is still the same: letting curiosity lead.

If you’d like to connect, you can find me at:

STEMS and Leaves on Instagram

Quick Notes

What is STEM?

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. However, this podcast recognizes the diversity of STEM study and practice beyond the typical definition. While we use the former definition as a guide, we also include Social Sciences, Law, Economics, Art, and any other field that may involve multidisciplinary approaches.

What is Intersectionality?

To first share a dictionary definition: Intersectionality is “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage“.

In the context of this podcast, intersectionality is a framework for social awareness that considers how an individual’s multifaceted identity affects their daily life and work. These identities may include race, class, gender orientation, or ability level – all of which may combine and interact differently in an individual’s life. Understanding these forces can foster a more critical awareness and empathy for the people we encounter in the world.

If you’d like to explore a more detailed discussion on intersectionality, please refer to ‘Intersectionality 101’ by Dr Olena Hankivsky. It’s a wonderful crash course to introduce you to the language we use around intersectionality as a framework for considering the world.

What is Inclusivity?

To be inclusive is to embrace our differences and deliberately create spaces that support every individual at the level they need. For some, this idea is most significant in terms of their physical or mental ability levels. For others, inclusiveness around racial or religious diversity may be more important. This practice may vary a lot across spaces – being inclusive in a workplace may be wildly different from fostering inclusiveness at home or your local coffee shop. An understanding of our differences and promoting open-mindedness in these regards is a great place to start.

A few resources to learn more about inclusivity: ‘Diversity Is Useless Without Inclusivity’ by Christine M. Riordan is a great article that discusses challenges in achieving organizational inclusivity. For a quick guide to some of the language used around inclusivity take a peak at Quantum Impacts’ ‘Diversity and Inclusion 101

Let’s get curious together.