Lisbeth Lueninghoener, owner of the Los Alamos STEAM Lab, with her daughters Maddy and Emily who are also STEAM enthusiasts. Courtesy photos
BY KELLY DOLEJSI
Friends of Los Alamos Pride
Science, technology, engineering, and math — all competitive fields for which people are willing to hide or adjust who they are in order to find work. However, the owner of the Los Alamos STEAM Lab wants that to change.
“STEM fields have traditionally looked and acted in a very particular way,” said owner Lisabeth Lueninghoener, whose business focuses on bringing STEM subjects as well as art — the “A” in STEAM — to Los Alamos youth. “We want to disrupt that. We don’t want to teach kids that if they try hard enough and act a particular way that they, too, can find a job. STEAM fields need diverse perspectives in order to grow and thrive.”
Further, Lueninghoener said, “We strongly believe in supporting and embracing everyone in our community. If we fail to embrace LGBTQIA+ community members, then not only are we not living up to our own values, the world misses out on all they have to offer. We want [this community] to know in their hearts that they have something to contribute exactly as they are. They don’t need to put on a different facade to be successful. The world is so much fuller when they share their true selves.”
To her, Pride means being loud and public about the STEAM Lab’s support of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Love isn’t just something we express when it is convenient and we at the STEAM Lab happily accept any pushback we may receive for that,” Lueninghoener said.
She added that because Los Alamos is not a large city, “it would be easy for someone to think they were alone in their feelings. Pride Week not only tells them that they aren’t alone, but that they also have so much support.”
That support is not unanimous in the county. But Pride events show “folks who are not welcoming or supportive that LGBTQ+ folks have a whole community behind them making sure that they feel safe, accepted, and welcomed.”
While intolerant people might presume the LGBTQ+ community is “small and without much power” on the Hill, “it’s important they know how wrong they are.”
The STEAM Lab, being relatively new to town, hasn’t had the opportunity to participate in either of Los Alamos’ previous Pride Festivals. It currently lacks a physical space, but Lueninghoener said the business is promoting Pride on its social media and is planning to publish information on LGBTQ+ folks in STEAM fields.
Visit the STEAM Lab online at https://lasteamlab.com/.