Thursday, June 13, 2024

Celebrate Black in Space Week 2024

By Ashley Walker, Caprice Phillips, AJ Link, LLM, KeShawn Ivory, Naia Butler-Craig, Robert Washington III, and Cheyenne Polius

Black In Astro is excited to announce #BlackSpaceWeek, which runs from June 16 to June 22, 2024 and will provide the opportunity for the Black Space Community to celebrate our multidimensionality and everything that it entails. Starting with the #BSWRollCall and continuing for the rest of #BlackSpaceWeek, we cannot wait to get into #MTheory and what it means to be #AfroDynamic; we will provide a #LiftOff platform to showcase our collective talents and reflect on #ContainingMultitudes; and finish the week by putting on #ForTheCulture and looking towards an #NDimensional future by honoring our past. Click here to
Black in Astro logo
  • see the schedule of events, 
  • submit artwork, 
  • register for panels and chats, and
  • register for research showcases.

We are multidimensional beings made of stardust. This year, for #BlackSpaceWeek, the Black In Astro team wants to uplift how our community brings our multidimensional identities and experiences with us into Space. 

The concept of multidimensionality allows us to acknowledge that our identities are not just intersectional, but ever changing and ever evolving based on our lived experiences. Multidimensionality is a way of expressing our constant relationship with everything around us, from the current matrices of oppression to the historical wisdoms of our ancestors, and from our individual struggles to our collective liberation. 

To embrace multidimensionality is to celebrate how we are just as complex and fascinating 
and worthy of awe as the universe we are traversing. 

Come join us for #BlackSpaceWeek 2024!

Thursday, June 6, 2024

NASA SMD Bridge Program: Funding Opportunities for non-R1 Institutions

By Padi Boyd, NASA Headquarters

Learn about the NASA SMD Bridge Program at the Summer AAS meeting in Wisconsin!

NASA Bridge graphics

The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Bridge Program’s primary goal is to develop sustainable partnerships between NASA science and engineering researchers and faculty and students at institutions historically under-resourced by NASA. These institutions include Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Primarily Black Institutions (PBIs), and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and also Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) and community colleges. These research collaborations include faculty and NASA researchers and paid student research opportunities, with the goal of transitioning the students from undergraduate studies into graduate schools and/or employment by NASA or other STEM employment.

A unique element of the program is that it is being co-created with the community it seeks to serve. A community workshop in October 2022 gathered together hundreds of community members to understand the current landscape at a variety of under-resourced institutions (URIs), as identified above. Themes and perspectives from the workshop have provided a foundation for establishing funding opportunities in the Bridge Program. Importantly, the key takeaways from the workshop were

  • To build research capacity, the ideal NASA Bridge Program would center the needs of students, faculty, and institutions that have been historically and systematically marginalized.

  • The ideal NASA Bridge Program would lead a paradigm shift by assuming primary responsibility for building impactful relationships/partnerships with marginalized and underserved communities  to diversify its workforce and the STEM community.

Common themes from the workshop include

  • the need for NASA to help facilitate new partnerships where no NASA collaboration currently exists. 

  • the importance of strong positive mentorship in developing students into STEM professionals, as well as the impacts of poor mentorship on retention of STEM students. 

A report from the workshop is public and available on the SMD Bridge website. Workshop content, including agenda, and recordings are available on the workshop website

Members of the SMD Bridge Program team have organized a special session for the Summer AAS meeting in Madison at

10 am - 11:30 am on Tuesday, June 11

Ballroom C

We’re looking forward to sharing an overview of the program, presenting some examples of newly selected teams who have received seed funding to initiate research partnerships between a wide variety of URIs across seven NASA Centers, and providing updates on current and future funding opportunities through NASA SMD’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES) omnibus solicitation. Everyone is welcome to attend!

A list of other DEIA and Education activities at the AAS meeting can be found here.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

DEIA and Education Activities at the Summer 244th AAS Meeting

By Alessandra Aloisi, Member of the CSWA

AAS meeting logo

This summer’s 244th AAS meeting in Madison, Wisconsin will be held on June 9-13, 2024 jointly with the Laboratory Astrophysics Division. The meeting is promised to be jam-packed with a lot of great scientific talks, as well as opportunities for networking with colleagues and learning more about the state of our profession, equity, inclusion, education, and outreach.

The meeting showcases strong representation of women speakers in the plenary sessions, including:
  • Rachel Bezanson (University of Pittsburgh) - Lives of massive galaxies through cosmic times
  • Cecilia Garraffo (SAO/CfA) - AI models for astrophysics and atmospheric sciences
  • Erika Kohler (NASA Goddard) - Chemical and spectral properties of exoplanetary clouds and atmospheres
  • Judith Lean (Lab. for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder) - Variations in the Sun’s radiative output and effects of this variability on Earth 
  • Kerstin Perez (Columbia University) - Detection of high-energy cosmic particles as evidence of dark matter interactions
  • Noemi Pinilla-Alonso (Florida Space Institute) - Surface compositions of minor bodies to understand formation and evolution of the solar system
  • Teznie Pugh (University of Texas Austin) & Aparna Venkatesan (University of San Francisco) - Protection of the dark skies and the space environment

First Timer’s and Opening Receptions are on Sunday, June 9. Astronomy educators and undergraduate student receptions are on Monday, June 10.  We strongly encourage you to participate in other sessions sponsored by the AAS’s committees working with the AAS Board of Trustees to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in Astronomy. These events include the following:



There are a lot of additional opportunities to learn more about the state of the profession, education, outreach, and diversity activities at this AAS meeting, including:





The full block schedule can be found here. And please feel free to stop by and say hi in-person if you attend one of our events, or tag and tweet us.