Saturday, January 2, 2016

Events at the 227th American Astronomical Society Meeting

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. Danny Barringer posted to Astrobetter for the upcoming meeting, and Jason Wright had previously written a first timer's guide to the AAS meeting for Astrobetter.

Below are highlights for events that may be of interest:

1. Student Pavilion and Mentoring Events:
The NEW Student Pavilion, located in the exhibit hall, will provide a unique space for students to meet, network, and collect information.  The Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA), the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA), and the Committee for Sexual-Orientation & Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA) have teamed up to provide table space and well as mentoring opportunities Tuesday-Friday.  Mentoring sessions will be held at 10 AM and 2 PM each day and will include mentors form various backgrounds (more information on mentors will be available in a future Women in Astronomy blog post).  The sign up sheets will be available starting at the UG Orientation Reception and will then be available at the student pavilion.

The current mentor schedule is (Please note, this may change as mentor's schedules become finalized.  All changes will appear on posters located in the Student Pavilion):

Tuesday, 5 January, 10:00 AM:
Alyson Brooks, Rutgers University, Mentor's Choice of Topic
Kartik Sheth, Program Scientist, Astrophysics Division, NASA HQ, Mentor's Choice of Topic

Tuesday, 5 January, 2:00 PM:
Jonathan P. Gardner, Chief of the Observational Cosmology Lab at Goddard Space Flight Center, Topics: Working for NASA: How to get a job with NASA and what you will do if you get one.
Jesse Shanahan, Graduate Student, Wesleyan University, Topics: Getting in to graduate school, Accessibility in astronomy, The AAS Early Career Advisory Board

Wednesday, 6 January, 10:00 AM:
Stuart Vogel, Department Chair, Astronomy, Uni. of Maryland, Topics: Success in Grad School:  A Department Chair’s Perspective
Christina Richey, Sr. Scientist and Program Officer, SDSE LLC and NASA PSD, Chair of CSWA, Mentor's Choice of Topic

Wednesday, 6 January, 2:00 PM:
Robert Hurt, Visualization Scientist, Spitzer Science Center/IPAC/Caltech, Topics: Science Visualization and Public Outreach
Christopher Crockett, Astronomy Writer, Science News, Topics: Alternative Careers

Thursday, 7 January, 10:00 AM:
Jane Rigby, Deputy Operations Project Scientist for JWST, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mentor's Choice of Topic
Heather Bloemhard, John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow, AAS, Topics: Science Policy
Thursday, 7 January, 2:00 PM:
Christina Richey, Sr. Scientist and Program Officer, SDSE LLC and NASA PSD, Chair of CSWA, Mentor's Choice of Topic
Kartik Sheth, Program Scientist, Astrophysics Division, NASA HQ, Mentor's Choice of Topic

Friday, 8 January, 10:00 AM: 
Paul Hertz, Director of the Astrophysics Division, NASA HQ, Topics: Working for NASA, Public Policy and Administration, X-Ray Astronomy, Time Management
Adam Burgasser, Professor, UC San Diego, Chair of CSMA, Topics: cool stars, brown dwarfs, extrasolar planets; (astro)physics education research; undergraduate research opportunities; bridge programs

Friday, 8 January 2:00 PM:
Nancy Morrison, Professor of Astronomy Emerita, University of Toledo, Topics: Career; Mentor's Choice of Topic
Patricia Knezek, Deputy Division Director, Div. of Astronomical Sciences, National Science Foundation, Mentor's Choice of Topic

2. Career Services:
The AAS hosts a Career Center at each winter AAS meeting. It is a place for job seekers to find jobs and interview and for employers to advertise their jobs and to interview job candidates. Career Services are offering a large list of Workshops, Sessions, and even a Networking Job fair. Please go to the following link for details on each sessions, as well as registration requirements (not all require registration).

3. Town Hall on Harassment in the Astronomical Sciences, Tuesday, January 5th, 12:45-1:45 PM, Osceola C:
Harassment and its impact on our community are important and timely issues for the AAS and the discipline as a whole. The panelists who will lead the town hall discussion are: Christina Richey (Chair, AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, discussing Harassment in Astronomy and Planetary Science and Preliminary Results from the CSWA Survey on Workplace Climate),  Dara Norman (AAS Councilor, discussing The AAS Ethics Task Force's Plan for Revising the AAS Ethics Statement), and Jim Ulvestad (Director, NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences, discussing Agency Policies on Sexual Harassment Issues in Conduct of Research Awards).

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.  Please be sure to 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:
More than 150 members of the astronomical community came together at Vanderbilt University in June 2015 for the first Inclusive Astronomy meeting. Inclusive Astronomy was structured around four broad themes: (1) Eliminating Barriers to Access, (2) Creating Inclusive Environments, (3) Establishing a Community of Inclusive Practice, and (4) Policy, Power, and Leadership. This special session is intended to summarize key points that emerged at the meeting, and most importantly – in the spirit of the previous Baltimore Charter and Pasadena Recommendations – to present a mature draft of the “Nashville Recommendations” that emerged from the conference. These recommendations, which include specific action items on multiple timescales (immediate, intermediate, long-term) for multiple stakeholders (academic institutions, funding agencies, professional societies), will be presented to AAS Council to consider endorsement. Feedback from Society members attending this session are welcomed. The goal of the Nashville Recommendations is to advance astronomy toward becoming a profession marked by diversity, broad inclusion, and thus continued excellence. Session speakers: Adam Burgasser (UC San Diego) – Summary of Recommendations and Process; Keivan Stassun (Vanderbilt University, Fisk University) – Summary of Creating Inclusive; Kim Coble (Chicago State University) – Summary of Eliminating Barriers to Access; Nick Murphy (SAO) – Summary of Establishing a Community of Inclusive Practice; Dara Norman (NOAO) – Summary of Policy, Power, and Leadership; Jedidah Isler (Vanderbilt University, Harvard University) – Session Participant Feedback on Draft Recommendations.

7. Beyond the Academy: Showcasing Astronomy Alumni in Non-Academic Careers, Friday, January 8th, 10:00-11:30 AM, Osceola 4:
More of our astronomy colleagues are choosing meaningful careers in industry, and yet very little information trickles back into academia about what those careers are like, what skills transferred from astronomy training, or even how to make the career transition. The lack of solid information and mentoring can make any career path beyond the academy seem daunting. We propose to fill this information gap in a continuation of the Employment Committee’s professional development workshops and seminars at the annual winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). In partnership with the American Institute of Physics (AIP), we propose to have two complementary sessions on careers beyond academia. This first session is designed to provide an inside look at the types of projects tackled and skills needed in a variety of rewarding and intellectually challenging careers. Through a series of invited talks from astronomers who are currently in the professional, entrepreneurial, and government sectors, we will learn about their career trajectories, what they do day-to-day, and why they recommend this path, as well as the growth opportunities and challenges in their fields. Showcasing these real-world examples of astronomers in successful careers will provide tangible recognition of the rich variety of career paths available beyond academia.

8. Beyond the Academy: Panel Discussion on Securing a Non-Academic Career, Friday, January 8th, 2:00- 3:30 PM, St. George 108:
In this session, astronomer alumni and recruiters from a wide spectrum of fields join in for an engaging panel discussion on how to start a career outside of academia. Topics will cover advice on marketing your existing skills for a position beyond the academy; what highly-sought skills will increase your competitiveness; how the job-hunting process works; what to expect in the interview process; what the initial transition will really like and more. Expect lots of Q and A from the audience and time to network with individual panelists during this session. Presented in partnership with the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

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