Friday, October 23, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for October 23, 2015

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 23, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. Don’t Masculinize the Letter of Recommendation: Towards a Truly Gender-Brave Science Community  
2. The Discovery Program Series: Introduction and Interview with Michael New  
3. Op-Ed: Sexual harassment: Another roadblock for women in science
4. BBC Seeking Women to Speak on Sexual Harassment in Astronomy and Physics     
5. Emmy Noether Visiting Fellowship in Theoretical Physics
6. The Odds That a Panel Would 'Randomly' Be All Men Are Astronomical    
7. Job Opportunities
8. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
10. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter



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1. Don’t Masculinize the Letter of Recommendation: Towards a Truly Gender-Brave Science Community     
From: Andy Elby and Ayush Gupta via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Dr. Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of Science Journals…noticed that letters of recommendation about women disproportionately included descriptors such as “friendly,” “kind,” and “humble.”  Dr. McNutt writes, “those were not necessarily the most relevant characteristics I was looking for in the next generation of scientists to advance the frontiers of discovery,” adding that descriptors such as “brilliant,” “hard-working,” and “independent” are more relevant. 

We think science would benefit from more women and men who are humble, good listeners, kind, and eager to create and participate in family-friendly, mentally healthy work environments. 

Read more at


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2. The Discovery Program Series: Introduction and Interview with Michael New (Lead Program Scientist) 
From:  Christina Richey via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

As stated on the NASA website, NASA's Discovery Program gives scientists the opportunity to dig deep into their imaginations and find innovative ways to unlock the mysteries of the solar system…From the 27 proposals submitted in November of 2014 to the most recent Announcement of Opportunity for Discovery, NASA has selected 5 missions for further refinement in the next year… 

The announcement of these selections for further refinement were exciting for several reasons, not the least of which was that 4/5 teams are being lead by female PIs.  Each of the selected missions and their team leads will be profiled in this series of blog posts.

To start this series, I had the chance to interview the NASA Discovery Lead Program Scientist, Dr. Michael New.  

Read more at 


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3. Op-Ed: Sexual harassment: Another roadblock for women in science
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

In an Op-Ed for the LA Times, astronomer Laura Lopez draws on the cases of Geoff Marcy and Walter Lewin and writes that “the problem of sexual harassment in academia, particularly in the sciences, is much larger than any individual offender.”

Read more at


Read an interview about this topic with past CSWA chairperson Joan Schmelz at


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4.  BBC Seeking Women to Speak on Sexual Harassment in Astronomy and Physics 
From:  Jessica Kirkpatrick via the Equity & Inclusion in Physics & Astronomy Facebook page

BBC World News is looking to run a 3-4 minute piece on sexual harassment in astronomy and physics (and science in general). The aim of the piece is to lift the lid on sexism and sexual harassment that is endemic in many institutions, and apparent attempts by them to cover it up and protect senior members of staff. It will not name individuals and anonymity will of course be given to people who participate. 

The piece would be part of a BBC season at the end of November called 100 Women. It has run every year for the last couple of years and is a series of reports and debates about various issues affecting women around the globe. The report should be fronted by US-based correspondent and presenter Laura Trevelyan and produced by London-based senior world affairs producer Kate Benyon-Tinker. 

If you do have a personal story to share, please contact Kate at Kate.benyon-tinker_at_bbc.co.uk and your testimonials, thoughts and views will be treated confidentially and be off the record until you decide.

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5. Emmy Noether Visiting Fellowship in Theoretical Physics
From: Pauline Barmby [pbarmby_at_uwo.ca]

The Perimeter Institute is seeking applications for its Emmy Noether Visiting Fellowship from outstanding theoretical physicists who may wish to pursue research at the institute while on leave from their faculty positions. The Fellowship provides financial and organizational support for relocation, which may include some or all of the following: teaching buyouts, salary support or top-up, local expenses, accommodation, return transportation and research-related travel, and reimbursement as required for child care. Applicants may specify visit timing and other requirements on the application form.

More information and the online application may be found at 


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6.The Odds That a Panel Would 'Randomly' Be All Men Are Astronomical  
From: Sharon Traweek [traweek_at_history.ucla.edu]

In "Addressing the under representation of women in mathematics conferences”, Greg Martin, a mathematician at the University of British Columbia, has studied the likelihood of all male conference panels.  He found that it is statistically impossible for a panel to be dominated by males, at least in the field of mathematics. However his formula can be “easily applied to other fields; all that’s needed is reliable data on the field’s gender distribution”.

Read more at


Martin’s publication can be found at


The NSF publication, “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering”, provides statistical information about the participation of these three groups in science and engineering education and employment. A formal report, now in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years and can be found at


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7.  Job Opportunities

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

- Tenure Track Position in Physics, Astronomy, or Astrophysics, UC-San Diego
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8. 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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9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email: 

Send email to aaswlist+subscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have subscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like. 

Be sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email. (Just reply back to the email list) 

To unsubscribe by email: 

Send email to aawlist+unsubscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have UNsubscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like. 

To join or leave AASWomen via web, or change your membership settings: 


You will have to create a Google Account if you do not already have one, using https://accounts.google.com/newaccount?hl=en  

Google Groups Subscribe Help: 


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10. Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.