Friday, October 19, 2018

AASWomen Newsletter for October 19, 2018

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
October 19, 2018
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, JoEllen McBride, and Ale Aloisi (guest ed.)

This week's issues:

1. A personal recommendation for the AAS to collect data to determine participation of underrepresented groups
2. Australia gets Women in STEM Ambassador in astrophysicist professor
3. Sarah Stewart Receives MacArthur "Genius Grant"
4. Breakthrough Prize Honors Early Career Astronomers
5. 2019 ASU Exploration Postdoctoral Fellowship
6. Astronomy is losing women three times faster than men
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. A personal recommendation for the AAS to collect data to determine participation of underrepresented groups   
From: Members of the DPS Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

In order to determine how new policies affect the equitable participation of astronomers from all backgrounds, we propose that the AAS collect detailed demographic information on its members and use these data to understand the barriers for members of underrepresented groups. While the AAS workforce surveys do ask demographic information (Workforce Survey of 2016 US AAS Members Summary Results), they can not easily be compared to award or author information in the way a member database could. 

To learn how the American Geophysical Union has enabled these kinds of studies and to learn more about the DPS proposal, please read


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2. Australia gets Women in STEM Ambassador in astrophysicist professor
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellenr_at_albion.edu]

The federal government has announced the appointment of Australia's first Women in STEM Ambassador. Astrophysicist and Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith (CSIRO) has been charged with "overseeing the country's attempt to diversify its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics sectors." The federal government has committed "AU$4.5 million over four years under the Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan to formulate a Women in Science Strategy to develop and distribute STEM Choices resources kits to school-age girls."

Read more at


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3. Sarah Stewart Receives MacArthur "Genius Grant"
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

[Stay tuned for an interview with Sarah to be posted at womeninastronomy.blogspot.com . – eds.]

Dr. Sarah Stewart, a planetary scientist at UC-Davis, has been recognized for "[a]dvancing new theories of how celestial collisions give birth to planets and their natural satellites, such as the Earth and Moon". Congratulations!

See her interview about the Moon-forming event at


Read the AAS press release at


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4. Breakthrough Prize Honors Early Career Astronomers
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

Dr. Lisa Barsotti (MIT) has been recognized, along with her colleagues, with a New Horizons in Physics Prize "for research on present and future ground-based detectors of gravitational waves." Congratulations!

Read the AAS press release, and see the rest of the honorees, at


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5. 2019 ASU Exploration Postdoctoral Fellowship
From: Judd Bowman [Judd.Bowman_at_asu.edu]

The School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) at Arizona State University invites applications for the position of Exploration Postdoctoral Fellow.  The fellowship provides opportunities for outstanding early-career scientists and engineers, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research.  Research areas within SESE encompass astrophysics, cosmology, Earth and planetary sciences, astrobiology, instrumentation and systems engineering, and science education.

Incoming Fellows will receive an annual stipend of $65,000 with health benefits, plus $12,000 per year in discretionary research funds.  A relocation allowance will be provided.  Appointments will be for up to three years and shall commence on or around July 1, 2019. 

For more information and application details, please see:


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6. Astronomy is losing women three times faster than men
From:  Maria Patterson [maria.t.patterson_at_gmail.com]

“Analysis of recruitment data strongly supports anecdotal evidence that the field struggles to retain women early in their careers.”

Read more at


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7. Job Opportunities

-          Postdoctoral positions, Space Sciences Lab, University of California at Berkeley

-         YCAA Postdoctoral Prize Fellowship, Yale Center for Astrophysics, Yale University

      -     Lecturer in Geosciences, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida

             -    Assistant Professor, Planetary Science, Rutgers University

      -    Asst. Professor, Theoretical Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Barbara

      -   Faculty Position in Theory (incl. cosmology/astrophysics), Dept of Physics and Astronomy, Yale

        -   Margaret Burbidge Visiting Sabbatical Fellowship, Depat of Physics and Astronomy, UC-San Diego


For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here: https://cswa.aas.org/#howtoincrease

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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 aaswlist+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.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A personal recommendation for the AAS to collect data to determine participation of underrepresented groups

By members of the DPS Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee

In order to determine how new policies affect the equitable participation of astronomers from all backgrounds, we propose that the AAS collect detailed demographic information on its members and use these data to understand the barriers for members of underrepresented groups. While the AAS workforce surveys do ask demographic information (Workforce Survey of 2016 US AAS Members Summary Results), they can not easily be compared to award or author information in the way a member database could. As shown below, collection of demographic data by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has enabled studies addressing gender disparities in geosciences. Furthermore, the AGU has enacted policy changes based on these findings. Collection of demographic data by AAS would enable determination of areas that are lacking in gender representation, in addition to areas that are lacking in representation with respect to persons with disabilities, underrepresented minorities, etc. This would enable AAS to implement policy changes to enable equitable participation of astronomers from all backgrounds and to test if the new policies are effective.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Our Current Political Climate and the Confirmation Process: the Community Reacts

By Sarah Tuttle

The last few weeks have been difficult for many folks as a highly politicized confirmation process played out on Capitol Hill. Issues around gender and race swirled barely below the surface as we watched echoes of the past, with Anita Hill reminding us about how we were in some ways reenacting recent history (and in other ways dancing around it). For many of us, this pushed a lot of buttons and renewed memories of trauma even outside of the explicit scope of Dr. Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony – from alcoholic family members, to abusive partners, to harassment or assault at school and work.

It is a lot to carry.

I’ve collected a small number of responses from women throughout our field to give us some space to reflect, to be together in community even when we are many miles apart, and to acknowledge that sometimes the hardest part of our work isn’t the intellectual challenges of our research but existing in a world that resists making room for us to exist.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Donna Strickland and Frances Arnold win Nobel Prizes

The winners of the Nobel Prizes were announced this week and two women, Donna Strickland and Frances Arnold, have been honored for their extraordinary contributions to the sciences.

On Tuesday, Donna Strickland became the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. She's the first woman to win the prize in 55 years.

Here are a select number of articles about Dr. Strickland's win:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/10/02/nobel-prize-physics-awarded-tools-made-light-first-woman-years-honored/?utm_term=.a38c57221bfd

http://time.com/5412840/donna-strickland-nobel-prize-physics/

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Career Profile: Executive Director

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

Dr. Stella Kafka is the Executive Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). She enjoys enabling scientific research and in addition to her academic positions has worked as the CTIO REU/PIA site director and in the American Institute of Physics publishing group.

What field do you currently work in?

Observational astronomy – variable stars (especially semi-detached binaries – CVs)

What is the job title for your current position?

Executive Director – Chief Executive Officer and Chief Science Officer at the AAVSO

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Announcement of DPS Workshop on Proposal Writing: Friday October 26th

The success of scientists depends upon their ability to obtain funding. Using Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) from NASA as a primary example, this workshop will focus on teaching the audience key points to writing a successful proposal.

Topics to be covered include:
8:00-8:15- General introduction and welcome
8:15-9:15- Proposal lifecycle, guidance on writing for specific audiences, compliance checklist
9:15-9:30- Break
9:30-10:30- Evaluation criteria, the review process, programmatic balance, debriefs and appeals, and making changes to address review concerns
10:30-11:00- General wrap up and group Q&A
11:00-11:30- One-on-One Q&A as needed.

Proposal Writing Workshops help early career scientists, as well as those looking to improve their previous proposal performance. As a result of this session, participants will be able to understand the proposal writing, reviewing, and selection process for federally funded proposals, as well as help those who have previously submitted proposals improve their performance. The workshop will be done in a format that allows for a great deal of audience participation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Balancing Your Act

By Michelle Zellner

Michelle has been a trainer, coach, and facilitator for over 20 years.  Her business, Better Beings, encompasses individual clients, weekend workshops, and a week-long wellness retreat.  She is also an event key-note speaker and is highly sought  to deliver corporate trainings.  Thus far, she has conducted over 2000 trainings, both live and via webinar.  Along with her knowledge, the connection she makes with the audience often results in requests for repeat visits.

Michelle’s background has enabled her to deliver on a wide variety of training topics, including: exercise, nutrition, weight loss, stress management, sleep, preventing and managing chronic disease, work-life balance—and many more. 

Learn more about Michelle at:
www.betterbeings.net and on fb and Instagram @betterbeingsus

This blog entry is an modified excerpt from her upcoming book.

Stress is part of everyone’s life, but if you don’t learn to find some balance, serious health consequences could be waiting!  We often waste resources (time, money and energy) or are simply not distributing them effectively, and this leads to feeling overwhelmed, undervalued and unappreciated. Burnout---physical, mental, emotional or professional---could be near, but is totally preventable. Follow along and fill out the evaluation tools to help you identify how balanced YOUR act is.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Katherine Johnson Celebrates Her 100th Birthday

President Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to
Katherine Johnson on November 24, 2015. (Reuters)
Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who played a crucial role in calculating trajectories for America's early space missions, turned 100 on Sunday August 26th. Johnson and other groundbreaking women mathematicians of color at NASA were highlighted in the book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and in the movie with the same name.

Numerous articles were written about Johnson this weekend celebrating her many achievements.

Among her many honors, this weekend West Virginia State University honored her with a statue and scholarship dedication. Johnson graduated from the university in 1937. Read more at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nasa-katherine-johnson-hidden-figures-100th-birthday_us_5b840c8ee4b0cd327dfe9857

See a message from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about Johnson's birthday:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7twrDde6P0g

For additional coverage on Johnson, see:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jesseshanahan/2018/08/28/nasa-computer-katherine-johnson-celebrates-her-100th-birthday/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/26/us/katherine-johnson-hidden-figure-birthday-trnd/index.html

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/319099

https://www.space.com/41638-katherine-johnson-celebrates-100th-birthday.html

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Career Profile: Associate Teaching Professor

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

Dr. Julia Kregenow is an Associate Teaching Professor at Penn State University. She worked in science policy before moving to teaching. She has also published three children's books about astronomy.

What field do you currently work in?

Astronomy and Astrophysics

What is the job title for your current position?

Associate teaching professor

Friday, August 17, 2018

AASWomen Newsletter for August 17, 2018

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
August 17, 2018
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, Maria Patterson, and JoEllen McBride

This week's issues:

1. Cross-post: The book that fights sexism with science            
2. Useful and Interesting Webpages 
3. Lawrence Fellowship: Applications Now Being Accepted
4. FUTURE of Physics 2018: Nominations Now Being Accepted
5. Mary G. Ross: Google Doodle honors first Native American woman engineer who helped put man on the moon 
6. The comet calculator: Nicole-Reine Lepaute 
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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Cross-post: The book that fights sexism with science

Angela Saini
Photo: Gareth Phillips for the Observer, from the Guardian
A recent article on the Guardian by Donna Ferguson discusses the impact a recent book, Inferior: The True Power of Women and the Science that Shows It by Angela Saini, has had on the myth that there are biological differences our brains by gender that cause men or women to be better at certain things. Female scientists rallied behind this message and started a crowdfunding campaign to send a copy of the book to every mixed gender secondary school in England.

Read more at

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/aug/11/women-equal-to-men-science-fact-book-angela-saini








Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cross-post: How This Female Fortune 100 Executive Is Helping Women Advance In STEM Fields

In this week's cross-post article, journalist and Forbes contributor Elana Lyn Gross profiles Nicola Palmer, the chief network engineering officer at Verizon. Palmer has been committed to helping girls and women gain STEM skills that can make an impact in any field. In the interview, Palmer speaks about "her 28-year career at Verizon, inclusive leadership and actionable ways we can support women in STEM fields".

Read more at 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2018/08/06/how-this-female-fortune-100-executive-is-helping-women-advance-in-stem-fields/#29244f0e1e21

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

There are many fantastic ways to raise the profile of women in STEM. One that has been in the news recently is hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. The AASWomen editors were inspired last week after seeing an article about a physicist who wrote 270 Wikipedia profiles for female scientists.

Read more here:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scientist-pens-270-wikipedia-pages-in-a-year-so-female-scientists-get-noticed_us_5b574eeee4b0b15aba92c0d5

There are a number of resources online for how to host your own edit-a-thon. One example from 500 Women Scientists can be found here:

https://www.sciencerising.org/2018/07/23/hosting-an-edit-a-thon/

A great example of a successful event at UNC can be seen here:

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Meetup/UNC/Chapel_Hill_NC

Let us know if you decide to host an edit-a-thon and we'll include it in a AASWomen's newsletter!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Cross-post: We need to start being honest with girls about science

As an avid science communicator and astronomy subject matter expert for hire, Dr. JoEllen McBride, CSWA member, strives to make science inclusive for anyone who wants to participate. In this blog post, Dr. McBride discusses how we have to be honest with young women; not just about the set backs they may face when doing science but the systemic hurdles they'll face within their scientific institutions.

Read more at

http://www.astropunkin.com/2018/07/we-need-to-start-being-honest-with.html

Thursday, July 19, 2018

How to Avoid Becoming a Sexual Predator


By Greg Mace

Greg Mace works as a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin and McDonald Observatory. This post is written from his own perspective as an advisor, white male, father and husband.


Something that has been bothering me about the anti-harassment discussion in our community is the denial from allies that they are capable of being a harasser and predator. In the worst cases there appear to be wolves in sheep’s clothing within our equity and inclusion groups. In lesser cases, we need to acknowledge that claiming to be an ally while ogling or fanaticizing of our co-workers is a form of grooming that is best stopped before it starts.

I wish to be considered an ally, and I also acknowledge that I am capable of harassment and predation.

When I hear others talk about their disdain for harassment and then proclaim their innocence, I immediately question their definition of harassment. If harassment is defined as the explicit intimidation of someone, then I agree that many people are capable of suppressing their bad behaviors when asked. However, what happens when there is a power separation between senior and junior researchers? Does the junior researcher need to explicitly say, ‘I don’t want you to look at me like that,’ or can we assume that they don’t want it? A better definition of harassment is one that focuses on the actions of the harasser. I would say that harassment can be defined as - behaving in ways that you know, based on past experience and the rules of consent, to be inappropriate.

Friday, July 13, 2018

AASWomen Newsletter for July 13, 2018

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 13, 2018
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Cristina Thomas, Maria Patterson, and JoEllen McBride

This week's issues:

1. Applications Open for AAS-EPD Mini-Grants
2. Meeting: Multi-Dimensional Characterization of Distant Worlds
3. Why women need mid-career mentors 
4. Institute Archives spotlights pioneering women at MIT
5. Why Science Breeds a Culture of Sexism 
6. Podcasting Is About to Become a Lot Less White and Male
7. 5 Inspiring Young Women Who are Leading the Way in STEM 
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

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cross-post: Summary of the 2018 LPSC WiPS Event "Overcoming Impostor Syndrome"

The Women in Planetary Science blog recently posted a summary of the discussion from their 2018 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference event. The post includes stories and a summary of strategies for combating impostor syndrome. 

Read more at:


The Women in Planetary Science blog has a number of announcements and stories relevant to the Women in Astronomy community. If you're not already a reader of the blog, we encourage you to take a look!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cross-Post: 35 Years Since Sally Rode ...

The US Postal Service recently
issued a Sally Ride "forever stamp".
Image from collectspace.com.
June 18, 2018 marked 35 years since Sally Ride's historic flight into space. 

I was a young girl at the time of Sally's flight, and I don't recall much of the hype surrounding the launch. However, looking back and seeing how she and her five female astronaut classmates (and 29 male classmates) changed - in fact, equalized and enabled - spaceflight probably had some effect on my career trajectory. I do know that by working on the ultraviolet telescope mission, STS-67, and meeting Tammy Jernigan (astronomer) and Wendy Lawrence (pilot), two astronauts who flew on that mission, my plans to do research in space science were solidified. 


and/or tell us how these female astronauts influenced your career in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cross-post: Where Women Must Defy the Odds to Become Scientists

In a new documentary, National Geographic Explorers Clare Fieseler and Gabby Salazar focus on stories of women with careers in science who face intense cultural and social barriers. The film, Outnumbered in Africa, focuses on Moreangels Mbizah, a lion conservationalist in Zimbabwe.

Read the interview with Fieseler and Salazar at:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/women-harassment-outnumbered-clare-feiseler-gabby-salazar-explorers-science/