Friday, January 1, 2016

AASWOMEN Newsletter for January 1, 2016

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of January 1, 2016
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Elysse Voyer, Heather Flewelling

This week's issues:

1. Women in Astronomy Events at the 227th AAS Meeting
2. Seeking Women to be Interviewed at AAS 227
3. Career Profile: Astronomer to High-School STEM Educator    
4. A Remarkable Year
5. The Discovery Program Series: Lucy
6. Why So Few? Unconscious Bias II   
7. Project to Tackle Stereotyping in Subject Choice Launches in Scotland       
8. Calculating Conference Diversity      
9. Job Opportunities
10. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
12. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

1. Women in Astronomy Events at the 227th AAS Meeting
From: Christina Richey []

Several key events will be occurring at the 227th American Astronomical Society meeting, held January 4th-8th at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.

Events that may be of interest are:

1. Student Pavilion and Mentoring Events: Mentoring sessions will be held at 10 AM and 2 PM each day. Sign-up sheets will be available in/near the Exhibit Hall.

2. Career Services: For details on sessions, as well as registration requirements (not all require registration), go to

3. Town Hall: Harassment in the Astronomical Sciences, Tuesday, January 5th, 12:45-1:45 PM, Osceola C.

4. The Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy Meet & Greet: Tuesday, January 5th, 6:30-7:30 PM, St. George 104.

5. LGBTIQQA Networking Dinner: Tuesday, January 5th, 6:30 PM. Meet at the AAS registration desk to walk to a local restaurant; bring a method of payment for dinner.

6. A Report from the Inclusive Astronomy 2015 Meeting: Community Recommendations for Diversity and Inclusion in Astronomy, Wednesday, January 6th, 2:00-3:30 PM, Sanibel Room.  

7. Beyond the Academy: Showcasing Astronomy Alumni in Non-Academic Careers, Friday, January 8th, 10:00-11:30 AM, Osceola 4.

8. Beyond the Academia: Panel Discussion on Securing a Non-Academic Career, Friday, January 8th, 2:00- 3:30 PM, St. George 108.

More details can be found in the next few days at

2. Seeking Women to be Interviewed at AAS 227
From: JC Holbrook []

The AAS Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) has been running an oral history project for three years, partially funded by the American Institute of Physics Niels Bohr Library, with ongoing funding coming from the AAS.  We are looking for people to interview, including those who are still “in process” at any career stage because it is the only way to get what life as an astronomer is really like during our time.

Each interview lasts 1.5 to 2.5 hours, during which we will discuss your education, career moves and strategies, work-life balance, intellectual preferences, collaborations, reputation, leadership, and mentoring. Other topics of interest include the new climate of zero tolerance towards sexual harassers, the complexity around how astronomers feel about women-only prizes and awards and the label “feminist”, and crafting careers while being the trailing spouse. We like to end with career advice to the next generation.

The resulting interviews are meant to go on the AIP website; however parts of the interview can be made private or only for release after 20 years, etc. It takes roughly a year for an interview to be transcribed and edited, then both the interviewer and interviewee co-edit the transcript before it is made public.

To sign up to be interviewed, please go to

3. Career Profile: Astronomer to High-School STEM Educator
From: Stuart Vogel via

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the AAS Employment Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting the diversity of career trajectories available to astronomers. The interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on those paths.

Below is our interview with Hannah Krug, an astronomer turned high-school STEM educator.   If you have questions, suggestions, advice to share, etc. about this career path, please leave a comment...

For access to all our Career Profile Project interviews, please visit

Read more about Hannah’s education and career at

4. A remarkable year
From: Ed Bertschinger via

2015 was the most remarkable year for social justice and equity in science and society that I can remember over more than 50 years. I was a child during the civil rights era of the 1960s and recall my wonder at the marches and protests of those days, the social upheaval, and the juxtaposition of hope and sorrow. The last two years have brought a similar sense of wonder, and as I reflected on this year, I realized that so much has happened the only historical comparison I have is with the events of my childhood. For women, men, and gender-nonconforming people in astronomy and in society, the remarkable pace, breadth and depth of change this year is worth remarking on in these pages.


5. The Discovery Program Series: Lucy
From: Christina Richey via

PI: Hal Levison, Southwest Research Institute, Managed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

I took a circuitous path in my career. As an undergraduate and early graduate student I was mainly interested in becoming an instrumentalists for large telescopes.  My first publication was as an undergraduate in Byte magazine where I developed an early, automated photometer.  As a graduate student at The University of Michigan, I pursued degrees in both astronomy and electrical engineering (which I never completed) and helped develop the electronics for Michigan's new 2.4 meter being constructed on Kitt Peak. I was soon seduced by theory and developed an interest in dynamics and computer simulations.


6. Why So Few? Unconscious Bias II 
From: Joan Schmelz via

The 2010 report entitled, “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics”, by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), finds that women continue to experience more overt discrimination, as well as the more unconscious bias, in science and engineering. Research by Dr. Madeline Heilman at New York University shows that women in so-called masculine jobs or nontraditional fields, which includes science and engineering, often find themselves in a double bind.

First, women in these “masculine” jobs are often judged to be less competent than their male peers, unless the women are clearly successful in their work. But when a woman is clearly competent in a “male” job or position, she is often judged to be less likable… Recommendations to address and eliminate this kind of bias include raising awareness about bias against women in the STEM fields...


7.  Project to Tackle Stereotyping in Subject Choice Launches in Scotland
From: Rick Fienberg []

A project to challenge the belief that certain school subjects are “just for boys” or “just for girls” – Improving Gender Balance Scotland (IGB Scotland) – was launched on 9 December at a school in Ayr.

IGB Scotland is a partnership between the IOP,Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Education Scotland that aims to empower students, teachers and parents to tackle stereotyping in the choice of school subjects and careers. The IOP is running a similar Improving Gender Balance project in England, funded by the Department for Education.

To read more, please see

8. Calculating Conference Diversity   
From: Urry, Meg []

How do you know if your conference has a good gender balance? A new model calculates the chance of having a certain number of women speakers at a conference.  It was “inspired by comments from [colleagues] who modelled the probability distribution for male/female speaker balance based on a Poisson distribution and found that the likelihood of an unbiased selection process yielding a line-up with no women at all is far lower than intuition might suggest.”

Find the calculation tool at

9.  Job Opportunities

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here:

-         Research Associate, Galaxy Evolution, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
-         Research Associate, Pulsar Astrophysics, National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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