Friday, October 31, 2014

AASWOMEN Newsletter for October 31, 2014

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 31, 2014
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:



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From: Joan Schmelz via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Negative stereotypes about women’s and girls’ abilities in STEM persist despite considerable gains in the last few decades…A large body of experimental research has found that negative stereotypes affect women’s and girls’ performance and aspirations in STEM. Even girls who strongly identify with math - who think that they are good at math and being good in math is important to them - are susceptible to the effects (Nguyen & Ryan 2008).

Read more and see examples at


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From: David Charbonneau via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

My colleague John Johnson recently recommended the book Seeing White: An Introduction to White Privilege and Race and asked that I read it so that we could have a more informed discussion as we work together over the coming years…I am happy to report that I am now halfway through. The last chapter I read described different frameworks in which to understand discussions of race and privilege, and I was particularly struck by the discussion of one such framework, namely that of Multiculturalism. 

In the book's definition of Multiculturalism, a multiculturalist would express understanding for different groups, celebrate an appreciation of these differences, seek to ensure diversity in their community, and advocate respect for individuals in these different groups.

Perhaps many of you might be thinking: That certainly sounds pretty good! Respect, understanding, and diversity are all very progressive words. I might even go further and argue that many members of our astronomy community strive to achieve these goals.

Read what's missing and why at 


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From: Maria Patterson [mtpatter_at_uchicago.edu]

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing earlier this month gained some media attention from the Microsoft CEO's comments about women asking for raises. 

Read the perspective of an astronomer working in a research area focused on computational data science at


For a viewpoint on why women stopped coding, please see


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From:  Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]

Dr. Karen Masters, a senior lecturer in the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, has won the Women of the Future Science award. A Fellow of the RAS, Karen was recognized for her research into understanding how galaxies form and evolve over the history of the universe. The Women of the Future Awards recognize the UK's most inspiring women.

Read more at


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From: Aomawa Shields [ashields_at_astro.ucla.edu]

The googled definition of networking is to “interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.” This has often been a frightening prospect for many, and certainly for me at first, mainly because the definition itself carries with it a certain vagueness. Just how does one go about finding the right people with whom to exchange that crucial information (and what is that?), and develop those contacts (and who are those?) that are vital to the furthering of one’s career (and how to you know which ones are)? For a scientist, the prospects of networking and marketing oneself are especially harrowing, because there just isn’t one single path from point A to point B. We can’t just sit at our desks and work and write. We have to get out of our chairs and go talk to people or introduce ourselves. That isn’t always the biggest draw for a typical scientist.

Get tips on how to network as a scientist at 


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From:  Andrea Dupree [adupree_at_cfa.harvard.edu]

The Smithsonian sponsors a science and public policy internship. Applications from astronomers are welcome. This program combines the best of the Smithsonian’s vast scholarship and collections with its unparalleled access to leading thought leaders and policy-makers. Fellowships last one year and include a stipend of $53,000.

For more information, please see


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For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here: http://www.aas.org/cswa/diversity.html#howtoincrease 

- Junior Faculty Position, Astronomy Department, Columbia University
- Assistant Professor, Astronomy Department, New Mexico State University
- Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, San Francisco State University
- Science Program Manager, Astrophysical Sciences, NASA HQ

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Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.