Monday, June 1, 2015

Reminder: Inclusive Astronomy Conference & Call for Help: IAU XXIX General Assembly Women's events

Several events occurring this summer will give astronomers the chance to discussion equity and inclusion topics and participate in ways to improve our community.  This blog will be dedicated to two upcoming conferences and for two different purposes:

-The Inclusive Astronomy Conference (which has finalized their Science Program and has extended the deadline for registration to this Friday)
-The Women’s events for the IAU XXIX General Assembly (which includes a call for topics to be covered and a request for volunteers from the community to lead table discussions or to serve as a mentor for early career members).

The first of the events that I’ll be highlighting, The Inclusive Astronomy Conference (to be held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee on June 17-19), has extended their registration deadline to June 5th (so if you’ve been meaning to sign up, forget the rest of this blog piece for a moment and head to the registration website). While the deadline for hotels has passed, rooms are still available, and on-campus housing is available at a very affordable rate. This conference has already been discussed by the Women in Astronomy blog in detail.  The conference will serve as a welcoming, strategic venue to advocate and provide resources for the inclusion in the astronomy community of: people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, or questioning (LGBTIQ) people; people with disabilities; women; and anyone who holds more than one of these identities. Those who seek to aid in such inclusion are also invited to attend.  The program is now available and includes plenaries, breakout sessions, panel discussions, workshops, and posters on the following topics: Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality; Barriers to Access; Creating Inclusive Environments; Policy, Power, and Leadership; and Building a community of Inclusive Practice (the expanded program includes titles and abstracts).

The second conference that I’ll be highlighting is the Women’s events for the IAU XXIX General Assembly (August 3-14 at the Honolulu Convention Center in Hawaii).  The events are being lead by the IAU Working Group for Women in Astronomy in partnership with the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and are being organized by the chair of the WG, Francesca Primas with assistance from me (a member of the CSWA). 

We’ve worked on an ambitious program this year to allow for deeper discussions and plenaries on key topics facing women within the field.

1. The Women in Astronomy luncheon will occur on August 4th, in Room 323, from 12:45-2 pm will include a key note talk, as well as table discussions on key areas (which may include anti-harassment policies and procedures, 2-body problems, intersectionality, inclusion practices, work/life balance, cultural issues and science, the use of social media, unconscious bias, mentoring, etc.) that will build off of items discussed and lessons learned from the previous General Assembly Women’s Lunch in Beijing.  The lunch is very near capacity, so please register as soon as possible.  For those who are on the list for attending the luncheon, and would be willing to volunteer as a table leader, please email myself ( and Francesca ( and let us know which topic you’d like to lead.  With every event, we would like to have as diverse a crowd as possible; any and all are welcomed! 

2. Due to the size limitations for the Women’s lunch, the vast schedule of the conference covering two full weeks, and to allow for more detailed discussion of specific topic, we will also be hosting 3 scattered lunch talks.  The locations, dates, and exact times are to be determined (however, they will be spread out over the two-week period) as we finalize the space, and these particular lunches will be ‘bring your own food/drinks’.  We would like to hear from the community as to which three topics they believe would be important to have separate discussions on, and suggestions for speakers would be appreciated (the final selections will be made by the organizers at a later date). Again, please just email Francesca and myself.

3. ‘Mentoring Programs’ was listed as a vital need during the previous General Assembly Women’s lunch in Beijing, and this GA we are working to fill that void. The student pavilion will be located in the IAU exhibit hall.  The purpose of this pavilion is provide a centralized location for students to gather, network and learn about various programs and research opportunities available at international astronomical institutions. The area has been graciously offered as a meeting venue for early career networking events, including a ‘Meet with Mentors’ event during the first day of the exhibit opening. We are working out the final details now, but again, we’d love to have volunteers, particularly senior scientist who would be willing to meet with early career scientists.  This could occur either at the opening event or throughout the week (when your schedule permits).  Topics of discussion would be geared towards early career members and would include searching for jobs, interviewing skills, proposal writing, etc.

I will have another blog on The IAU events as the schedule is finalized and will include detailed notes from the previous General Assembly Women’s Lunch and current statistics from the IAU.