Thursday, December 29, 2016

Events at the 229th American Astronomical Society Meeting

Several key events will be occurring at the 229th American Astronomical Society meeting, held January 4th-8th at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas. 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.  The AAS has posted an important update for the winter meeting (after receiving feedback from the 227th meeting), which includes "Grab & Go" Meals and Restaurant Discounts, Complimentary Shuttle Service, Bigger Badges for Accessibility, and Enhancements to the Exhibit Hall (including the announcement of the STARtorialist booth).

Below are highlights for events that may be of interest:

1. Student Pavilion and Mentoring Events:
The Student Pavilion, located in the exhibit hall, will provide a unique space for students to meet, network, and collect information. The AAS will provide table space and well as mentoring opportunities. Mentoring sessions will be held Wednesday-Friday (January 4th-6th) at 9:30-10:00 AM, 5:30-6:00 PM, and 6:00-6:30 PM each day, as well as Saturday morning (January 7th) and will include mentors form various backgrounds (more information on mentors will be available at the Student Pavilion). The sign up sheets will be available starting at the UG Orientation Reception and will then be available at the student pavilion.

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. Workshop: Career 101: Career Planning Workshop and Panel for Graduate Students and Postdocs, Wednesday, January 4th, 9:30 AM-11:30 AM, San Antonio 1
This FREE workshop and panel discussion will center on the current and expanding crisis in the job and career market for astronomers. Specifically targeted towards graduate students and Postdocs, this workshop will identify and investigate the shortage of traditional astronomy jobs, and how early-career scientists can best prepare for this challenge. Our focus will be on career planning for traditional astronomy positions. We will demonstrate how to orchestrate a personal career plan and develop a Plan B and Plan C for contingencies. We will discuss what early-career astronomers should do now to enhance their CVs and research reputations, and what they should look for in and how they can leverage a Postdoc appointment to set themselves up for success in the field. We will also discuss non-traditional jobs and career paths in astronomy, and introduce the skills that are needed to pursue these. Q and A between panelists and workshop participants will be highly encouraged.This session is organized by the AAS Employment Committee.

4. Town Hall: Racism = Prejudice + Power: A Discussion of Racism in the Field of Astronomy, Wednesday, January 4th, 4:30-5:30 PM, Texas A
The daily news cycle reminds us that racism is alive and well in the United States: police violence against persons of color, racial profiling at borders and airports, anti-muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric by presidential candidates are common headlines. What may be surprising and hard to accept by many astronomers is that racism is also entrenched in our own scientific community. Racial discrimination in graduate admissions, closures of research programs and Astronomy departments at minority-serving institutions, lack of scholarship funding for immigrants, and demeaning language directed toward indigenous groups opposed to astronomical development on sacred sites are all examples of endemic racism in astronomy. But what exactly is racism? How does it manifest itself? How do we talk about it? And how do we eliminate it from our community? Drawing on the work done and lessons learned during the 2015 Inclusive Astronomy meeting, this session aims to educate astronomers on race and racism, their equivalence to power dynamics and white privilege, and what (primarily white) astronomers in power can do to recognize and dismantle racism at our institutions and communities. The session will include a panel of astronomers and social scientists with expertise in racism and racialized power dynamics, followed by a moderated discussion. Given the sensitive nature of the subject matter, participants will be asked to adhere to specific ground rules for the discussion, including sharing the air, being conscientious of power dynamics, using "both/and" rather than "either/or" language, leaning into discomfort, speaking to their own experience, focusing on the message rather than the messenger, and identifying and acknowledging harmful speech ("oops, ouch"). We will ask that the discussion be confidential ("What's said here stays here; what's learned here leaves here") to permit a safe space to do this challenging but essential work.  

5. The Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy Meet & Greet, Wednesday, January 4th, 6:30-7:30 PM, San Antonio 5.
The CSMA Meet & Greet is an informal forum for students and researchers from underrepresented minority groups, and their allies, to meet with each other and AAS leadership (including CSMA members), network, and disseminate information about how to pursue a career in Astronomy and get involved with the AAS.Confirmed Speakers Jorge Moreno (CSMA chair), Adam Burgasser (AAS Council)

6. LGBTIQQA+ Networking Dinner, Wednesday, January 4th, 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.
The AAS Committee for Sexual-Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA) works to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, and asexual individuals within our profession. Join us for dinner on Wednesday evening, January 4. We'll meet in front of the Meeting Registration Desk at 7:30 and walk to a local restaurant. Please bring a method of payment for this dinner.

7. Session 210, The Presidential Transition: What Can We Expect, Thursday, January 5th, 10:00-11:30 AM, Grapevine B
A new president has been elected and the incoming administration is currently preparing to take charge. How does this transition process impact federal support of science, especially at NASA, NSF, and DOE? Policy experts will discuss the process of a presidential transition, with a particular emphasis on federal support of science.

8. The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy Meet & Greet, Friday, January 6th, 6:30-7:30 PM, Yellow Rose Ballroom.
The CSWA Meet & Greet is an informal venue women and allies to meet with each other and AAS leadership (including CSWA members), network, and disseminate information about how to pursue a career in Astronomy and get involved with the AAS. Confirmed attendees include Christina Richey (CSWA chair), Nancy Morrison (AAS Council, CSWA), and Stuart Vogel (CSWA).  Light hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be provided.

9. Session 411, Astronomy Education Across the Human Continuum Research, Programs, Practice, and More!, Saturday, January 7th, 10:00-11:30 AM, Dallas 6

10. Events from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey:
Press Conference & Briefing, Thursday, January 5th, 2:15 PM, Austin 5, "SDSS Efforts to foster Inclusivity in Astronomy" presented by Kelly Holley-Bockelman
Poster 237.13 (Thursday, Jan. 5th): The Formation of COINS: Equity and Inclusion in SDSS
Poster 336.05 (Friday, Jan. 6th): The FAST Initiative: Fostering a More Inclusive SDSS Collaboration
Poster 336.04 (Friday, Jan. 6th): Results from a Pilot REU Program: Exploring the Cosmos Using Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data

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