Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Astronomers for Planet Earth: Gabriele Betancourt-Martinez

This feature is part of our ongoing series about the amazing women at Astronomers for Planet Earth (A4E), a global network of astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts dedicated to offering their unique perspective to the fight for climate justice. For this post, we'll hear from Gabriele Betancourt-Martinez, an undergraduate student studying astrophysics at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

If you're interested in learning more about A4E's work combating global climate change and want to get involved, join them here at: https://astronomersforplanet.earth/join-us-1. And be sure to check out A4E's white paper on what astronomers (like you!) can do to address the climate crisis: Astronomers for Planet Earth: Engaging with the Public to Forge a Sustainable Future.

Dr. Gabriele Betancourt-Martinez is a postdoctoral researcher working on the Athena X-ray Integral Field Unity (X-IFU)  in Toulouse, France.  
What is your current career and how did you end up there?
I’m a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics at the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in Toulouse, France. On paper I look like I’ve had a really straight and narrow path to research, but in reality there have been a lot of wiggles and potential zig-zags. The simplest answer is that I’ve been drawn to space and astronomy since I was little, and decided when I was 13 or so that I’d pursue the subject as a career. In college, as an astronomy and physics major, I learned about the sub-field of astronomical instrumentation, which blended two of my drivers: the creativity required to design and build novel instruments, and the wonder of asking and answering scientific questions about the universe. I went to a PhD program where I could work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on X-ray detectors that are designed to fly on satellites and observe objects like black holes and clusters of galaxies. Along the way, through other activities within the group, I also entered the field of laboratory astrophysics, which in my case, meant I was working in laboratories to recreate processes and plasmas that occur in space. My goal was to understand the atomic physics behind the X-ray spectra we measured, and to try to input this into astrophysical models to make them more accurate. When I was finishing up my PhD, I had a dream to move to California or France; it was just my luck that collaborators in Toulouse needed someone with my expertise, so I came here for a postdoc.

What is your role in Astronomers for Planet Earth (A4E)?
I’d been on the lookout for a while for some way of getting more directly involved in the fight against the climate crisis, even including considering a career change. So when I came across A4E last summer, I was excited to dig into specific activities. I eventually found a channel in the Slack workspace for a project that looked interesting and got involved there. This eventually turned into becoming the lead organizer for our open letter (https://astronomersforplanet.earth/open-letter). I’ve also now joined the “operations” group, which is a smaller subset of active members that discusses the more programmatic and organizational aspects of A4E, such as the future of our organization, how to enable accepting donations, etc.

What goals do you have for your role in A4E?
I’d love to see our open letter spark long-lasting conversations at research institutions and astronomical societies around the world about what we can do to minimize our carbon impact. And beyond just conversations, I hope it encourages places to act and incorporate policies prioritizing sustainability for their travel reimbursement schemes, infrastructure, and so on. I’d also love to see A4E expand into a full-fledged nonprofit organization, and help this happen however I can. A big personal goal is to learn more from other members! So many A4E members are goldmines of information, and there is so much collective knowledge shared through webinars, posted articles and blog posts, and conversations on the Slack space.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection between your passion for astronomy and the urgency of fighting climate change.
Astronomy and nature were two of my earliest loves, though environmental action was always a hobby or way of life for me, and I chose to pursue astronomy as a profession. But something shifted as I was finishing up my PhD. My work felt really esoteric and disconnected from the urgent needs of our planet and society, and I started to feel like I wanted to pivot my career to address the climate crisis. I did a lot of soul searching and talked to a lot of people in climate science, climate solutions, and science policy. In the end I decided to stay in astrophysics research for a bit longer, but committed to finding a way to use my time and skills on both.

How does your career in astronomy intersect with the fight against climate change?
There are a few ways I’ve brought the two topics together. One thing I really enjoy doing is outreach talks. When talking about exoplanets, or possible life on other worlds, it’s simple to loop in information about the Earth, its uniqueness, and its fragility. Often students will ask me what my favorite planet is, and always seem surprised when I tell them it’s Earth! Next, as part of the A4E open letter process, we are seeking institutional endorsements to the letter, and I was able to get the letter approved by the environmental committee at my institute (of which I am a part), and then finally by the lab council. But in the day to day activities of my work, it can be simple things like recycling materials rather than throwing them out, or being careful about how I book my travel.

How can the astronomical community engage with the climate crisis movement?
I think an important thing for astronomers to bring is our perspective and our tools. This is one of the key tenets of A4E, actually. We regularly think about a much larger picture, and we are acutely aware of how vast the universe is and how rare places like Earth are. We’re also in a great position to talk about the climate crisis to others: astronomers are trusted in society (I can dig up the reference for this later if needed), if we talk about the climate crisis, it won’t seem like we’re just trying to advance our own careers, and many astronomers also teach large university classes, providing a wide and diverse audience. Travis Rector, an A4E co-founder, has a great blog post about it these aspects here: https://aas.org/posts/news/2021/03/why-and-how-astronomers-should-teach-climate-change. Besides engaging with the public on climate, we can also look inward and work within our research groups and institutions on sustainability initiatives, like putting into place travel policies that restrict carbon emissions, or employing data storage or computing practices that use less energy. There are all sorts of ways for everyone to get involved, at many different scales. I think the main thing is to decide what aspects of the climate crisis are most interesting to you, and thinking about how you see yourself fitting into this puzzle. This can look like engaging through a sustainability committee at your institute, organizing an event, writing a blog post, supporting and uplifting others that you see doing work you admire, and so on.

If you weren’t in the field of astronomy, what would you be doing?
Um...owning and operating a vineyard for natural wine in the south of France? Or maybe that’s for later :) More seriously (cough cough), I’ve been drawn to science policy for awhile, and there are some very cool nonprofits out there that are doing great work in climate, either supporting research or influencing policy, and also diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, which is another topic very close to my heart. My postdoc position is over soon, so we’ll see where things take me next!

Dr. Betancourt-Martinez enjoys a sunny day on the slopes building an adorable snowman.
Do you have any advice for future astronomers who might also be interested in addressing the climate crisis?
We need all hands on deck right now; find your niche in the movement and join us! Working as a group will be a lot more effective than as individuals, so find like-minded people to amplify your message and actions.

Friday, September 24, 2021

AASWomen Newsletter for September 24, 2021

AAS Committee on the Status of Women           
Issue of September 24, 2021
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Jeremy Bailin, and Alessandra Aloisi

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. --eds.]

This week's issues:

Sian Proctor
Sian Proctor. NASA photo.
1. Crosspost: Sian Proctor makes history with SpaceX's Inspiration4 as first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot
2. Astronomers for Planet Earth: Jessica Merritt Agnos
3. FAMOUS Travel Grants to Promote Diversity at AAS Meetings
4. Status of STEM in Europe
5.  Jobs of the Future: How to Use Today’s Skills for Tomorrow’s Industries
6. Job Opportunities
7. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
9. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

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1. Crosspost: Sian Proctor makes history with SpaceX's Inspiration4 as first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot
From: Bryne Hadnott via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com


By Chelsea Gohd for space.com

Sian Proctor is making history as the first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot.

Proctor, a geoscientist, artist and science communicator, has been paving the way in the space sector for decades. Now, years after being a finalist in NASA's astronaut candidate program back in 2009, she is realizing her dream of becoming an astronaut as she launches to orbit with the Inspiration4 mission tonight (Sept. 15).

While the mission itself is making history as the first all-civilian mission to launch to orbit, Proctor is accomplishing a major first herself as the first Black female spacecraft pilot.

Read more at

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2021/09/crosspost-sian-proctor-makes-history.html

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2. Astronomers for Planet Earth: Jessica Merritt Agnos
From: Bryne Hadnott via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

This feature is part of our ongoing series about the amazing women at Astronomers for Planet Earth (A4E), a global network of astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts dedicated to offering their unique perspective to the fight for climate justice. For this post, we'll hear from Jessica Merritt Agnos, a graduate student studying astrophysics at San Francisco State University (SFSU) with a background in communications and film production.

Read more at

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2021/09/astronomers-for-planet-earth-jessica.html

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3. FAMOUS Travel Grants to Promote Diversity at AAS Meetings
From: Camillia Freeland-Taylor via the AAS News Digest

The FAMOUS (Funds for Astronomical Meetings: Outreach to Underrepresented Scientists) Travel Grants program offers opportunities for AAS members to secure funding to travel to a Society meeting in order to increase the number of astronomers from historically underrepresented groups, which is part of our mission.

FAMOUS grants will be awarded at a level of up to $1,000 to attend a single AAS meeting, at which the awardee will present their research. The proposal deadline is October 15.

Learn more at

https://aas.org/posts/news/2021/09/famous-travel-grants-promote-diversity-aas-meetings

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4. Status of STEM in Europe
From: Stefi Baum [stefi_baum_80_at_post.harvard.edu] and Sukanya Chakrabarti [chakrabarti_at_astro.rit.edu]

Several resources are available to learn about the status of women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields outside of the United States.

A presentation for the next generation and how they can learn to help each other, including a pdf of the slides, can be found at

http://www.nccr-must.ch/nccr_must/news_4.html?5031

A talk that addresses both science and gender with some personal experience, including a pdf of the slides, can be found at

http://www.nccr-must.ch/nccr_must/news_4.html?5020 

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5. Jobs of the Future: How to Use Today’s Skills for Tomorrow’s Industries
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

The American Association of University Women has published an article that describes three ways recent graduates can prepare to search for a job during the post-COVID recovery: be ready to pivot, invest in learning new skills, and stay positive.

Read more at

https://www.aauw.org/resources/career/boost-your-career/job-skills/  

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6. Job Opportunities

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here: https://aas.org/comms/cswa/resources/Diversity

-       Tenure-track Astronomer, California State University Long Beach
http://tinyurl.com/p5tsft65

-       Tenure Track Professor, Planetary Geoscience, University of Iowa
https://jobs.uiowa.edu/faculty/view/74285

-       Post-doctoral Research Associate: Future Faculty Fellowship, Princeton University
https://puwebp.princeton.edu/AcadHire/apply/application.xhtml?listingId=21901

-       Lowell Observatory Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, Massachusetts
www.lowell.edu/careers

-       Postdoctoral Opportunities, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics at New York University
https://cosmo.nyu.edu/index.php/opportunities/

-    PhD Positions in Solar System Science, Göttingen, Germany
https://www.mps.mpg.de/phd/applynow 

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7. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address.

When submitting a job posting for inclusion in the newsletter, please include a one-line description and a link to the full job posting.

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

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8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email:

Send an email to aaswomen_at_aas.org. A list moderator will add your email to the list. They will reply to your message to confirm that they have added you.

Join AAS Women List through the online portal:

Go to https://lists.aas.org/postorius/lists/aaswlist.lists.aas.org and enter the email address you wish to subscribe in the ‘Your email address’ field. You will receive an email from ‘aaswlist-confirm’ that you must reply to. There may be a delay between entering your email and receiving the confirmation message. Check your Spam or Junk mail folders for the message if you have not received it after 2 hours.

To unsubscribe from AAS Women by email:

Send an email to aaswlist-leave_at_lists.aas.org from the email address you wish to remove from the list. You will receive an email from ‘aaswlist-confirm’ that you must reply to which will complete the unsubscribe.

Leave AAS Women or change your membership settings through the online portal:

Go to https://lists.aas.org/accounts/signup to create an account with the online portal. After confirming your account you can see the lists you are subscribed to and update your settings.

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9. Access to Past Issues

https://aas.org/comms/cswa/AASWOMEN

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Crosspost: Sian Proctor makes history with SpaceX's Inspiration4 as first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot

 Written by Chelsea Gohd for space.com 

Sian Proctor is making history as the first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot.

Proctor, a geoscientist, artist and science communicator, has been paving the way in the space sector for decades. Now, years after being a finalist in NASA's astronaut candidate program back in 2009, she is realizing her dream of becoming an astronaut as she launches to orbit with the Inspiration4 mission tonight (Sept. 15).

While the mission itself is making history as the first all-civilian mission to launch to orbit, Proctor is accomplishing a major first herself as the first Black female spacecraft pilot.

"I'm really grateful to be here and to have this opportunity," Proctor said Sept. 14 during a news conference with reporters. "There have been three Black female astronauts that have made it to space, and knowing that I'm going to be the fourth means that I have this opportunity to not only accomplish my dream, but also inspire the next generation of women of color and girls of color and really get them to think about reaching for the stars and what that means."

Read the rest of the article at https://www.space.com/sian-proctor-inspiration4-first-black-female-spacecraft-pilot to learn more about the history of Black women in space and Proctor's journey from science communication to civilian astronaut. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Astronomers for Planet Earth: Jessica Merritt Agnos

This feature is part of our ongoing series about the amazing women at Astronomers for Planet Earth (A4E), a global network of astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts dedicated to offering their unique perspective to the fight for climate justice. For this post, we'll hear from Jessica Merritt Agnos, a graduate student studying astrophysics at San Francisco State University (SFSU) with a background in communications and film production. 

If you're interested in learning more about A4E's work combating global climate change and want to get involved, join them here at: https://astronomersforplanet.earth/join-us-1. And be sure to check out A4E's white paper on what astronomers (like you!) can do to address the climate crisis: Astronomers for Planet Earth: Engaging with the Public to Forge a Sustainable Future.


Jessica Merritt Agnos, mother, science communicator, and co-founder of Astronomers for Planet Earth, is pictured here holding one of her children who is already enthusiastic about space. 

What is your current career and how did you end up there?
I'm an astrophysics graduate student at San Francisco State University. My undergrad degree is in Communications (TV/Film Production). I'm from New Orleans and lived in New York City for a while - having many different jobs that never truly fulfilled me. Upon moving to San Francisco, I had the opportunity to return to school when my son was born and realized astrophysics was a passion I could no longer deny.

What is your role in Astronomers for Planet Earth (A4E)?
I'm a cofounder and tend to have some level of involvement in most things that happen on a large scale. Because of my previous work experience, I’m involved in video production, and I try to get everyone on board with the ideas of marketing and branding so we can be effective in getting our message out. My husband and I spearheaded the logo design. He edits most of the videos and wrote several of the ones that have been produced so far. It’s a family affair in my household! I also have a good amount of public speaking experience, so I participate in conferences and (pre-Covid) hosted/mc'd events at SFSU for A4E.

What goals do you have for your role in A4E?
Right now, many of us are busy with operations and planning, trying to set up a long-term structure. This organization is very grassroots and has grown far more quickly than we ever imagined, all on a volunteer basis. As a student and mother of three, I have very limited bandwidth, so my hope is once a structure is in place, my focus can be back on video production. I want to do more video portraits of our members (like this) and really hear from our wider community. One thing that is off-putting about academia in general is the circular back scratching that occurs, which eliminates a lot of voices that should be heard. I want to tell the stories of our student members, our members in parts of the world that don't get showcased the way they should, our members who are out in their communities doing the work - maybe not the head of an institution, but a volunteer or community organizer. Climate change is already affecting people, mostly communities who have been traditionally exploited and are on the front lines. Those voices need to be elevated; their actions highlighted. I've been kicking around the idea of a podcast with a similar theme which could allow for branching out beyond the astronomical community and having interdisciplinary discussions. I keep my eye on a lot of amazing activists with whom I would LOVE to speak. Climate work requires all hands on deck and people working with one another from all backgrounds and locations. I want to do my part in making connections. We need to do a better job at showcasing the intersectionality of the climate crisis, so whatever I do in the future will be focused on that.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection between your passion for astronomy and the urgency of fighting climate change.
I worked as a presenter in the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, where the institution made sustainability their top priority. All of the planetarium shows had a sustainability aspect to them, and it was an obvious connection. They made a planetarium movie about coral reefs and ocean acidification that won many awards globally. It opened discussions about plastic pollution and food choices. Another interactive we did was "Living Beyond Earth" where we talked about the resources needed for the International Space Station, for a moon base, and for the trip to Mars. We really got the audience thinking about how carefully resources need to be managed to sustain life. Then we put the focus on "Spaceship Earth", and you could see the light bulbs going off in the minds of the audience members! It was so powerful. In my "Tour of the Universe" script, in which we traveled through the observable universe, I read Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot" at the end as we were coming back home to Earth. I added that after the Charlottesville riots, being so heartbroken and disturbed by those events. As a woman of Central American heritage and a mother of a biracial young woman, I felt a need to give my audiences a message of unity and show how much we depend on one another for survival. In my opinion, it's not been said better than "Pale Blue Dot", so it became a staple.

These experiences were my inspiration in helping found A4E. The Cal Academy was already doing it, and it seemed to me that more astronomers should be doing the same. All the credit goes to the Morrison team for having such amazing shows.

How does your career in astronomy intersect with the fight against climate change?
Going back to the Morrison Planetarium - I watched kids' and adults' minds expand while giving them messages of sustainability through the lens of the astronomical perspective. When you have the tools of a planetarium to show these obvious connections, it's very powerful. It was easy to show (as I would state in my shows) " we are not separate from 'out there', we are actually 'out there' !" Observing how impactful that was to an audience made me want to bring that message to as many people as I could.

This inspired the sustainability panel at the ASP conference that launched A4E. Dr. Adrienne Cool (associate physics chair at SFSU) and I met with ASP over the summer of 2019 because they were holding their annual conference on our campus that fall. We had a conversation about this topic being of utmost importance. Over the course of planning and bringing more voices in, A4E was born. This organization is in the fabric of the department I'm in. It's in the mindset of our students and faculty. It's not just an intersection, it's woven into who we are. Even the dean of our college has invited me to talk about A4E. I feel very lucky to be in such a mindful academic environment.

How can the astronomical community engage with the climate crisis movement?
We should be making large-scale connections every chance we get. Carl Sagan did this so masterfully, and we need to carry his torch. We are life birthed from the stars. We are all interconnected. We are all in this together. Astronomers have a beautiful perspective; we need to share it and showcase the uniqueness of our home.

It's worrisome to me when I hear others get pushback for their sustainability efforts at their institutions. It blows my mind that anyone in the astronomical community would not be putting the sustainability of our planet at the forefront considering no one knows better than astronomers how special this planet is.

Working in the planetarium really impacted me, because I saw from our museum guests almost everyone loves astronomy. It's who we are as humans - literally and figuratively. We owe civilization to the fact that we were able to discern patterns from the sky. How special is that? Astronomers are such incredible ambassadors. We need to be talking about this and sharing the awe and wonder of what we do and what we know.

(I'd like to shout-out Wendy Crumrine, another A4E founding member from SFSU who is on her way to USC for a PhD in cosmology. She has an undergrad in psychology and has developed curriculum for children that uses astronomy to develop empathy. It's amazing. My son participated in her "Wonder Hour" workshop, and he loved it. She's a treasure and a wonderful example of an astronomer doing engaging climate work.)

If you weren’t in the field of astronomy, what would you be doing?
I've done a lot of different things, enough to know astronomy really makes me happy. If I wasn't doing this specifically, I'd probably be in renewable energy. I'm also very interested in nutritional science, so maybe that, too. Many of my professors joke with me that I've never met a subject I didn't like, so who knows. I'm fascinated with existence. Physics and astronomy are the building blocks of that, so that's why it captivates me. But I love seeing how it all came together to make us. We're literally sun scraps, and yet we have the ability to know that about ourselves and communicate it. That's amazing.

Do you have any advice for future astronomers who might also be interested in addressing the climate crisis?
Climate change is already affecting everyone in various ways and will only get worse if action isn't taken now. No profession will be able to avoid talking about it in the future. It's something everyone, including astronomers, need to be thinking and talking about, and actively playing a role in the solutions. The most important thing for anyone to do is to talk about it so it becomes obvious to the powers that be that they MUST incorporate climate action into their policies and business plans. The field of astronomy will be affected by changes in the atmosphere and severe weather. We can't insulate ourselves. With the long preamble, my advice is be mindful, be vocal, live your values, and speak up every chance you get. You won't be alone. Join us, and let's elevate each other's voices so that changes happen!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) Committee for the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) Strategic Plan and its Implementation: What are we doing and how can you help?

Written By: Gregory Rudnick
Background for the Strategic Plan
In 2019 the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Committee for the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) initiated a Strategic Planning process. This significant investment of time was motivated by a few factors. As we moved into the 2020s, it became apparent that the landscape of challenges and opportunities had significantly evolved in many ways from the dominant issues that were the focus of the CSWA in years past. For example, the #MeToo movement shined a harsh light on the pervasiveness of harassment in our discipline and society - long known but seldom publicized - and demanded a coordinated and forward-looking response from the astronomical community. As a committee and community we also became more aware of the ways that we had failed to treat intersectionality in our advocacy for the CSWA constituency, thus rendering valued colleagues and friends invisible and marginalized. Addressing these and other issues required data, a plan, and a set of actionable items to implement the objectives of that plan. In this blog I outline the main components of the CSWA Strategic Plan, the process by which it was created, the implementation steps that we are undertaking, and a call to action among the community to help us with our goals.

The Strategic Plan is designed to guide the long-term activities of the CSWA and to provide continuity for successive generations of CSWA members. The plan is also designed to serve as a tool that the CSWA can use to help in its decision making process surrounding new opportunities or issues. Given the limited people power that the CSWA members and its constituents can bring to bear, a plan can help us determine the most efficient use of our resources to accomplish our larger goals.

The plan was informed by a community survey issued by the CSWA in 2019. The purpose of this survey, which combined Likert-scale and free-response questions, was to guide the CSWA in its future activities and priorities. The in-depth survey was fully anonymous and had 340 responses. The results from this survey informed our writing of two white papers to the Astro2020 Decadal Survey, one which addressed Advancing the Career Development of Women in Astronomy and one which addressed Eliminating Harassment in Astronomy. The survey has also been used to construct a set of recommendations to the AAS in the form of two BAAS papers (Wexler et al. in prep), and as a resource for constructing our Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan was developed over the course of a year by a subcommittee of the CSWA, was discussed multiple times in front of the whole CSWA committee, was sent to the other AAS and Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) Diversity committees for comments, was iterated on and eventually approved by the CSWA, and was finally sent to the AAS Board of Trustees for final approval.

The Strategic Plan has four main focus areas: Harassment & Bullying, Creating Inclusive Environments for an Ethical Workplace, Professional Development, and CSWA Operations and Interactions. Each of these areas has a set of associated high-level objectives that define the main scope of work in each of these areas.

Strategic Plan Projects and Their Implementation
The “work” of the CSWA in the context of the Strategic Plan is to carry out specific projects to accomplish these objectives. These projects represent the implementation portion of our plan. Using the initial survey data and discussions within the subcommittee and CSWA, we decided on a list of example projects and on an initial prioritization of these projects. We also classified projects as requiring short-term (<1 year) or long-term (>1 year) effort. While the focus areas and objectives are viewed as static for the lifetime of the Strategic Plan, the project list is dynamic. The list of example projects is given in Table 1 of the Strategic Plan, but it has always been the intention that this list could be added to, changed, or reprioritized. These projects involve working with different groups. Pursuant to the mission of the CSWA, most involve work within the AAS, both with the Board of Trustees and with the other committees. We also have projects focused on the AAS journals as well as projects that are more inward looking and involve CSWA activities. All projects were conceived with an explicit focus on intersectionality, intentionally taking a broad and inclusive view of our constituency.

We offer a range of projects from collecting demographic information on PhD student retention to coordinating with other AAS committees, like the CSMA and SGMA, to develop cross-committee goals. I encourage you to take a look at Table 1 of the Strategic Plan itself to find more detailed information on the range and scope of projects offered by the CSWA. Naturally, there are far too many things to do for even a very active committee to address simultaneously. We prioritized the projects to both reflect our internal committee ranking and also to ensure that there was a mix of long and short-term projects as well projects in every one of our focus areas. Ultimately the projects that we are actively working on are dictated by the interest and available effort of our committee members.

These projects form a significant component of the total ongoing and planned CSWA effort and their implementation and coordination is handled within a separate CSWA subcommittee, composed of those members who are actively working on projects. This group meets monthly to update everyone on project status and to use the other members as a resource to discuss problems and brainstorm solutions. We report our progress regularly to the larger CSWA.

Assessment is a critical part of any project implementation. In some cases the assessment of a project is straightforward and we have some examples of assessments in the Strategic Plan. For other projects, however, the most useful form of assessment is only apparent once the project is started. It may also be that the development of proper assessments lies outside the realm of expertise for committee members. For this reason we therefore construct assessments once the projects gain some steam and we more appreciate the subtleties in project execution. In a shared document we keep track of all projects, the people working on them, the status of the projects, and the status of the assessment.

Synergy with the Strategic Plan of the AAS
The AAS recently made public their Strategic Plan for 2021-2026. The CSWA plan was developed prior to the AAS plan, involved a significant amount of community input, and was carried out independently from the AAS Plan. Given this independent development process, it is therefore heartening to see the significant synergy between the two. All of the goals under Strategic Priority 2: Build equitable, diverse, and inclusive (EDI) practices within the astronomical community align with objectives of our plan, as do goal 4 of Strategic Priority 3: Support astronomy education, professional development, and dissemination of astronomical science.

In addition to high-level agreement between the two plans, there is also significant overlap in the AAS Actions and CSWA Projects. For example, Actions under Staff Support, Access and Participation, and ​​Justice and equity in ethics, policies, and practices in Strategic Priority 2 of the AAS plan directly correspond to CSWA projects. There is additional overlap in CSWA projects with the AAS Strategic Priority 3 Actions Professional development for education, mentoring, and outreach and Journals and Publications.

From the standpoint of the CSWA, it is a good sign that the resources and will of the AAS is fully behind the goals of our constituents. This is already being reflected in the close work that various AAS officers are undertaking with our committees, and in the dedication of budgetary resources to the CSWA to carry out its Strategic Plan Projects.

Call for Volunteers and How You Can Help
Our ability to carry out projects and accomplish our goals is limited largely by the amount of time that CSWA members can commit. Indeed, it was always the intention that our constituency within the AAS would be solicited for help implementing projects. The CSWA serves its constituency, but is most effective when we can enlist the active participation of interested community members.

What might this effort look like? It may be that you could volunteer to help out with an existing project. Either you could assist one of the committee members who is already leading a project, or you could take up the leadership of a new project. You could even propose a new project (subject to CSWA approval) if you think it addresses one of the Strategic Plan Objectives. It is also possible that the CSWA could procure funds to support some of these activities, as we know that time is precious and that compensation is important. In other words, please don’t let resource limitations prevent you from entering a discussion with us.

If you are interested in helping out or if you have any questions, please contact me (grudnick@ku.edu).