Erin Cech

Erin Cech by Moni Jones

Dr. Erin Cech, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, sees science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as an area that could use more LGBTQ+ leaders. The most rewarding aspect of her work “is the opportunity to give voice to the experiences of LGBTQ-identifying folks in STEM,” she tells GO. “When someone at a talk I give or someone who has read an article I wrote reaches out to me to say, ‘Thank you for seeing me,’ or ‘Thank you for helping me see I’m not alone,’ that is a powerful experience.” Prior to her professorship, Dr. Cech studied at both UC San Diego and Montana State University and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. From there, she joined the faculty at Rice University. Her work has appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Advances, the American Journal of Sociology, and the American Sociological Review. Dr. Cech’s goal in her research focuses on creating and maintaining opportunities for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people in STEM programs and other professional careers. While she is focused on professional development, Dr. Cech also sees opportunities in all areas of life to create space for LGBTQ+ individuals. “As you move through your life — whether up through grades in high school or up through the ranks of your career — provide help and encouragement to the LGBTQ folks who are coming behind you,” she says. “Don’t take for granted the wisdom you have to offer, nor the power of your encouragement, to those who are more junior than you.” —NT

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