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/