Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Meet Your CSWA, Gregory Rudnick

Gregory Rudnick grew up in Chicago. He started studying physics at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and graduated in 1996, after which he moved to the University of Arizona for the Ph.D. program in Astronomy. Half-way through his time there he moved to MPIA in Heidelberg, Germany to follow his adviser. After seven years of postdocs at MPA and NOAO, Tucson he started as a faculty member at the University of Kansas in 2008. He is currently a professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the KU Physics and Astronomy Department.

Greg is an observer who studies the evolution of galaxies using observatories on the ground and in space. He is especially interested in environmental effects on galaxy evolution. When not doing that, he runs an outreach program at a local high school, and he loves cooking, hiking, biking and being with his family.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Retiring STATUS

First published in 1987, Status was the semiannual print (then electronic) publication of the CSWA. However, no issue has been published since January 2016. 

In early 2020, the CSWA voted to officially retire StatusThe committee determined that there were now other venues to present the type of content formerly published in Status. For example, some shorter, less formal articles that formerly were published in Status are now appearing in the Women in Astronomy blog and in AASWomen, and the CSWA plans to arrange for publication of longer, more scholarly articles in the Bulletin of the AAS (BAAS) now that it is again available for this purpose. 

The archive of Status issues, including a full table of contents, can be found here

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Crosspost: Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium Goes Virtual

Women of Science.jpg

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium will be held virtually on Friday, October 2, 2020 from 1:00 - 4:00 PM. Registration is free and can be accessed at https://www.mmwiss.org/events/maria-mitchell-women-of-science-symposium.

Keep an eye on their website for updates at https://www.mmwiss.org/

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Meet Your CSWA, James Keane

James Keane is a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is a planetary scientist, studying orbital dynamics, rotational dynamics, and geologic processes on terrestrial and icy worlds across the Solar System utilizing data from NASA's robotic missions (GRAIL, New Horizons, etc.). James is also an avid artist and science communicator, using pen and pencil to communicate complicated scientific ideas.

 

 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A female Ph.D. student’s cautionary tale and the need for peer mentorship

By Bárbara Cruvinel Santiago

In 2018, I moved to NYC to attend my Physics Ph.D. program at Columbia. Life was far from perfect due to personal and family issues, political turmoil in my home country, being away from my loved ones, and a much less than ideal new housing situation. After working for a year, however, I was looking forward to going back to school. Given my track record, getting my B.S. in Physics at Yale under a full-ride need-based scholarship, and working for a year at MIT’s Nobel-prize-winning LIGO lab, I thought I was up for the challenge, but grad school turned out to be different from anything I had ever encountered.

Friday, August 14, 2020

AASWOMEN Newsletter for August 14, 2020

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of August 14, 2020
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Jeremy Bailey, and Alessandra Aloisi

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. Recap: Virtual CSWA Meet and Greet @ the 236th AAS Meeting

2. Women's in-class participation, performance increase with more female peers, instructors

3. NSF grant changes raise alarm about commitment to basic research

4. Frances Allen, first woman to win Turing Award for contributions to computing, dies at 88

5. Astropy call for funding proposals for inclusion, diversity, and empowerment

6. Virginia T. Norwood: The Mother of Landsat

7. Remembrance of Joan Feynman

8. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine seeking experts for study on equity and inclusion

9. Beyond Pink Microscopes: How Two Researchers are Changing the Culture of Science

10. Conferences failing to protect LGBT+ researchers: Promoting equity, diversity and inclusion at meetings requires more than a code of conduct, analysis finds

11. Five tips for boosting diversity on campus

12. Senior U.S. lawmaker wants National Academies to scrutinize racism in science

13. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

14. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

15. Access to Past Issues

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Recap: Virtual CSWA Meet and Greet @ the 236th AAS Meeting

Drawing on community input from a brief survey, our panel focused on addressing the special challenges our community faces, especially in the era of social distancing and social unrest. Recognizing that women can identify along multiple axes, the CSWA invited representatives from the AAS diversity committee to participate on this panel. Panelists were Dr. Jackie Monkiewicz (Working Group on Accessibility and Disability, WGAD), Dra. Nicole Cabrera Salazar (Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy, CSMA), and Dr. Rolf Danner (Committee for Sexual-Orientation & Gender Minorities on Astronomy, SGMA). Dr. Stella Kafka (CSWA) moderated.

In support of Black Lives Matter, the Meet and Greet started with a moment of silence to reflect on the episodes of social injustice that were occurring at the time of the meeting (early June 2020). Subsequently, posts that highlight the work of Black astronomers were (and will continue to be) cross-posted on the CSWA blog page.

The panel discussions centered around three topics: work-life balance, supporting each other, and making on-line meetings inclusive. What follows are comments from the participants on the panel, including the moderator. A link to the CSWA Resources page is included at the end.

Friday, August 7, 2020

AASWomen Newsletter for August 7, 2020

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of August 7, 2020
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Jeremy Bailey, and Alessandra Aloisi

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. Women in Space Seminar Series Episode 3: Lack of Representation and Systemic Racism in Academia  
2. 51 Pegasi b Fellowship 
3. NASA ExoPAG, SAG22: A Target Star Archive for Exoplanet Science
4. Ben Barres Fellowship
5. ‘It’s like we’re going back 30 years’: how the coronavirus is gutting diversity in science  
6. The pandemic is hitting scientist parents hard, and some solutions may backfire 
7.  Language may undermine women in science and tech
8. The 'female' brain: why damaging myths about women and science keep coming back in new forms
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

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Meet Your CSWA, Jeremy Bailin

Jeremy Bailin is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama. His research involves galaxy formation using computer simulations, observations in the optical and radio, and phenomenological models. He is particularly interested in the outskirts of galaxies — stellar halos, circumgalactic medium, globular clusters, and satellite galaxies. He teaches courses from introductory astronomy to graduate astrophysics, and is involved in astronomy education research.

Jeremy joined the CSWA in 2019, and is particularly interested in how the CSWA’s mission plays out in university education (particularly in mid-range size institutions, where the most undergraduates encounter astronomy), and in LGBT+ issues.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

CSWA Resources for Astronomers

Image of the Milky Way in the sky.
In order to use our time effectively during the CSWA Meet and Greet panel at the 2020 Summer AAS Meeting, we conducted a survey to see what topics we would discuss. There were 14 concerns about being (or knowing) a woman and/or underrepresented minority in astronomy or planetary science (or another STEM field) that our respondents could choose. The top 10 concerns are listed below. The CSWA wanted to make sure that the community is aware of the resources available to them to approach some of these issues and others. Links to the relevant resource pages or blog posts are provided below if available.

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Fallout from COVID-19 on Astronomy’s Most Vulnerable Groups

Aparna Venkatesan (U. of San Francisco), Ed Bertschinger (MIT), Dara Norman (NOIRLab), Sarah Tuttle (U. of Washington, Seattle), Kelsie Krafton (AAS Bahcall Public Policy Fellow) 

Reaching to the stars
by Ares Nguyen via flickr
This has not been the year any of us envisioned. We are in the midst of a global pandemic that is still raging in many countries, including the U.S. For many of us in academe or higher education, the challenges of an unprecedented spring look likely to continue through most, if not all, of the next academic year. We attempt here to begin a discussion of the enormous and still-increasing fallout from COVID-19 and other national/global crises on astronomy as well as STEM. We began to write this post in mid-May but have had to continuously update it as numerous crises spanning many arenas have emerged.

AASWOMEN Newsletter for July 17, 2020

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 17, 2020
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson,
Alessandra Aloisi, and Jeremy Bailin

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. Be well! --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. The Fallout from COVID-19 on Astronomy's Most Vulnerable Groups

2. A Celebration of Margaret Burbidge

3. Virtual Women in STEM event on tap at science center

4. How COVID-19 can bring gender justice

5. How the UAE’s Mars mission is changing life on Earth

6. She’s an Authority on Earth’s Past. Now, Her Focus Is the Planet’s Future.

7. New "Black Lives in Astronomy" Resource Guide and updated "Astronomy of Many Cultures" website

8. Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students

9. The People of Color in Astronomy Listing You Should Know About

10. Increased representation of women, ethnic groups not enough to overcome biases in STEM

11. Unequal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists

12. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

13. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

14. Access to Past Issues

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Meet Central American-Caribbean Astronomy Bridge Program Fellows - Part 3

The Central American - Caribbean bridge in astrophysics is a program created to mentor and train the next generation of students in astrophysics from that region. This was created because there is an enormous lack of resources and research opportunities for students interested in astrophysics. We hold monthly webinars and invite a speaker every month to talk about their personal life, academic obstacles, and research. The goal is for the students to feel represented, motivated, and capable, especially women in our group. More recently, we began a remote REU-like internship where students are able to complete a mini-project within a four-month period. Last Fall 2019, we had four students from Costa Rica and Honduras who worked with professors from Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. This Spring 2020, we are working with three students from Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. This opportunity brings research opportunities to these students and connects them to potential advisors and PhD programs.

In this series, we will highlight selected fellows. If you'd like to learn more about the program and ways you can get involved please visit https://cencabridgeastro.weebly.com/

My name’s Valeria Hurtado, and I was raised in Managua, Nicaragua until the age of 17. When I was young I wanted to be a vet-ballerina-scientist-actress-athlete. So far, I have become one of those things. When I was in Nicaragua, I knew I was interested in the natural world and in applying the scientific method, but back then I didn’t know that those things were physics. However, becoming a scientist in a country in constant socio-political and economic unrest would have been a luxury too unrealistic for me to afford. Besides, the scientists I saw in popular science channels were definitely not Nicaraguan or women - so I never really considered astronomy as a career. Fortunately, I was a stubborn, rebellious, and unaware 16-year-old who decided to apply to competitive schools to study physics.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Crosspost: A Break-up Letter with Astronomy, From a Young Black Woman


Credit: ESA, NASA

By Lauren Chambers via Medium.com

Dear Astronomy,

It’s not me, it’s you.

I had intentions of leaving you for over 3 years, even before I finished my astronomy undergraduate degree. The original reason I cited for wanting to leave is that I felt I would never be fulfilled by the content of what a career in astronomy would look like. Spending a lifetime studying stars and galaxies while watching my neighbors suffer from structural inequalities — inequalities that I have studied rigorously and am capable of fighting against — felt irresponsible and selfish to me.

Make no mistake, I knew that I could have stayed with you and been successful if I wanted to. For those who need evidence to accept that claim: I graduated magna cum laude from Yale, winning departmental prizes for my research in both astronomy and African American studies, and won the American Astronomical Society’s Chambliss prize for an exceptional undergraduate research poster. I didn’t leave because I felt at all incompetent or insecure about my ability to be an astronomer. Nor was I pushed out — I was exceptionally lucky to have many supportive mentors in the field across multiple institutions, I never had a research experience that was anything short of delightful, and I (generally) enjoyed myself and felt welcomed during the two years that I worked as a software engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope mission at Space Telescope Science Institute.

Despite all this, I realize I have been kidding myself when I tell myself the only reason I left you was the inhumanity of your objects of study and my changing academic interests. It’s an easier pill to swallow for everyone — “it’s not us, it’s me.” But an even stronger force that turned me away was the inability of astronomers to be respectful community members, and to acknowledge the terrestrial effects of our celestial research.

Read the full letter at

https://medium.com/@lauren.marietta/a-break-up-letter-with-astronomy-from-a-young-black-woman-a30de24fe209

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Crosspost: #BlackInAstro from astrobites


Image credit: Astrobites. Credit for the Milky Way picture in the background of the featured image: ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)

Astrobites, a grad-student led website that summarizes astrophysical journal articles for undergraduates, has been posting articles highlighting the experiences of Black astronomers in their series #BlackinAstro. We highlight the articles here with links to read more.

#BlackInAstro: How Can We Support Black Astronomers?

By Astrobites

This week, the U.S. is rising in protest in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery are the most recent in a long history of extrajudicial murders of Black people in the U.S. We at Astrobites stand in solidarity with the protestors, and against the systemic anti-Blackness that continues to enact violence on Black people in this country. We recognize that these same systems pervade academia and our field, and contribute to the inequities present in astronomy.

Why are we discussing these issues on an astronomy website? First, our scientific research is stronger when it comes from a community grounded in respect and diversity. But most importantly, we believe that the people in our community should be prioritized over our science. In order to do so, astronomy must be explicitly anti-racist and actively work to support Black students and researchers.

Read more at

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Nominate our field’s best for the 2021 AAS Prizes and Honors by July 14**


Dr. Beth Brown, NASA astrophysicist (1969-2008). Learn more about the Beth Brown Memorial Award. Image credit: Jay S. Friedlander, NASA

By Aparna Venkatesan (U. of San Francisco), Ed Bertschinger (MIT), Dara Norman (NOIRLab), Sarah Tuttle (U. of Washington, Seattle)

The COVID19 pandemic and the nationwide protests for racial justice have revealed the longstanding injustices and inequities in our society, as well as in academia and the sciences. The pandemic, which shows no signs of slowing down, has already had a documented fallout on academe’s most vulnerable populations, including women, underrepresented minorities and especially women of color, as they try to navigate a radically altered higher education landscape, canceled interviews, and lost professional or research opportunities. Those most at risk are among our most talented, whose voices we most need in our profession in the years to come.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Meet Central American-Caribbean Astronomy Bridge Program Fellows - Part 2

The Central American - Caribbean bridge in astrophysics is a program created to mentor and train the next generation of students in astrophysics from that region. This was created because there is an enormous lack of resources and research opportunities for students interested in astrophysics. We hold monthly webinars and invite a speaker every month to talk about their personal life, academic obstacles, and research. The goal is for the students to feel represented, motivated, and capable, especially women in our group. More recently, we began a remote REU-like internship where students are able to complete a mini-project within a four-month period. Last Fall 2019, we had four students from Costa Rica and Honduras who worked with professors from Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. This Spring 2020, we are working with three students from Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. This opportunity brings research opportunities to these students and connects them to potential advisors and PhD programs.

In this series, we will highlight selected fellows. If you'd like to learn more about the program and ways you can get involved please visit https://cencabridgeastro.weebly.com/

My name is Nicole Stephanie Mejia Cerros. I was born on in Olanchito in the department of Yoro in Honduras. My childhood was a great influence in choosing a career in astronomy. My teachers at school and my parents motivated me to discover and read more about science topics. Many of the books I read were about astronomy in some way, and one of my teachers would always share with me what she had read on the subject. I did my high school in “Inmaculada Concepción” in Olanchito. In my town, there is not much development of science but my teachers always motivated me to pursue my dreams and choose this career. During high school, many questions about physical phenomena and the origin of the universe arose in me, seeking to understand them more thoroughly. Currently, I am a student of Astronomy and Astrophysics and also Physics at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH).

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Meet Central American-Caribbean Astronomy Bridge Program Fellows - Part 1

The Central American - Caribbean bridge in astrophysics is a program created to mentor and train the next generation of students in astrophysics from that region. This was created because there is an enormous lack of resources and research opportunities for students interested in astrophysics. We hold monthly webinars and invite a speaker every month to talk about their personal life, academic obstacles, and research. The goal is for the students to feel represented, motivated, and capable, especially women in our group. More recently, we began a remote REU-like internship where students are able to complete a mini-project within a four-month period. Last Fall 2019, we had four students from Costa Rica and Honduras who worked with professors from Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. This Spring 2020, we are working with three students from Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. This opportunity brings research opportunities to these students and connects them to potential advisors and PhD programs.

In this series, we will highlight selected fellows. If you'd like to learn more about the program and ways you can get involved please visit https://cencabridgeastro.weebly.com/


My name is Natalia Ramirez Vega. I am from a small town in Costa Rica called Tres Rios. Since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to study the universe. Thus, all my professional decisions have been made based on that goal. I am a Computer Systems Engineering student at University Fidelitas in Costa Rica. I really enjoy creating new things that will somehow help other people. I also love art; I feel there is a strong connection between science and art. I like drawing in my free time especially if I can do it in a place near a waterfall or a nice view. A fun fact is that I want to get a pilot license in the upcoming years just because I want to say I know how to fly an airplane.


Monday, June 8, 2020

Call to Participate in Strike for Black Lives and Black Survival and Wellness Week

By Gregory Rudnick

As a community and society we are grieving the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, James Scurlock, Manuel Ellis, and so many others who have been victims of the institutionalized and systemic anti-Black racism that deprives Black people regularly of their lives and livelihood. In this moment of grief and anger we must also confront the ingrained racism within our departments, institutions, disciplines, and communities.

We must harness the anger and thirst for change and justice that we are feeling and convert this moment into a movement that is grounded in action at all levels of society. Sometimes it is hard to know where to start with such an endeavor. One way is to start locally, inspired by a global movement. The chance to do this is now.

On June 10th, there will be a global day of action, affirming that Black Lives Matter in academia as well as in our communities. This day of action is organized by Particles for Justice and led by physicists Dr. Brian Nord Jr and Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein.

If you are interested to learn more, please read this Dear Colleagues letter from Dr. Nord. The call is asking for academics to not work on anything related to their research, administration, or teaching missions on June 10, in order to give Black academics a break and a chance to breathe. Particles for Justice folks started a petition in order to collect signatures. To quote from the particlesforjustice.org web page:

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Cross-Post: AAS President Calls on All Members to Support Black Americans Now

By Megan Donahue

As AAS President, I wish to comment on the tragic and brutal murders of Black Americans Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. As scientists, researchers, educators, and human beings we have a responsibility to respond, to see and name these injustices, and to empathize and acknowledge our different human experiences and reactions to these events. We stand together with our Black members, their students, and their families. We stand with our Black AAS employees and volunteers from whom we have asked so much during these difficult and challenging times.

Read more at

https://aas.org/posts/news/2020/06/aas-president-calls-all-members-support-black-americans-now/

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Women Leading Pandemic Research Through Time

By Sethanne Howard

Medical schools routinely have 50% female students. Does that mean women are equal participants in the field? Let us consider the issue and start with the current pandemic. Women are leading research teams studying the novel COVID-19 virus. There is Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, MD at the National Institutes of Health who is leading a team developing a vaccine for the virus. Dr. Susan Weiss, PhD, along with Dr. Frederic Bushman, PhD, directs the Penn Center for Research on Coronavirus and Other Emerging Pathogens. The goals of the Center are to: expand the research, centralize information on the research, and compile sources for new funding for research on SARS CoV-2.

So we can see that today there are women leading research teams studying this class of virus. Were they active before then? Let’s look back at the wonderful women who came before!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

CSWA Meet & Greet Panel

AAS 236: CSWA Virtual Meet and Greet
Tuesday, June 2, 6:40 pm ET


The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) is hosting a panel during the AAS Virtual Meeting centered around discussions related to career challenges in our academic and research fields. Members of the diversity committees* will be present to address issues common to all of us, so please fill out the survey to indicate the topics of most interest to you.

Panelists include: Rolf Danner, SGMA; Nicole Cabrera Salazar, CSMA; Jackie Monkiewicz, WGAD; and Stella Kafka, CSWA (Moderator).


Date: Tuesday, June 2 
Time: 6:40 pm ET




* AAS diversity committees include the CSWA, CSMA (Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy), SGMA (Committee for Sexual-Orientation & Gender Minorities in Astronomy), and WGAD (Working Group on Accessibility and Disability).

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Cross-post: What are the impacts of performing a Decadal Survey during a global pandemic?

Image of solar system with orbits of planets shown.

The following post was written and contributed by the members of the Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee of the AAS’s DPS.

The Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey is a once-in-ten-years opportunity for the research community to provide critical input into the U.S. strategy for space research. The survey is in its early stages; nominations for panel membership were due on May 1st, and white papers (a major form of community input[1]) are due July 4th.

However, since the Statement of Task for this Decadal Survey was formulated, the coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruption throughout our society, including in the work of planetary scientists. Of greatest concern for the Decadal Survey, this burden falls unevenly. For example, the pandemic has disproportionately affected the scientific productivity of women researchers[2], and racial and ethnic minority communities overall[3].

Read more at

https://womeninplanetaryscience.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/what-are-the-impacts-of-performing-a-decadal-survey-during-a-global-pandemic/

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Words w/ Astronomers

By Pat Knezek and Nicolle Zellner, CSWA Co-Chairs

As we enter the second month of remote instruction for many of us, with just a few more weeks to go until the end of the semester, and as we continue to endure and exit from "safer at home" orders that limit physical interactions, we share with you positive, inspiring words and images that will remind us to take of ourselves and each other.



"In these difficult times as I am simultaneously juggling my role as professional, parent, and teacher of my kids, I am thankful every day for what I have: a wonderful job as Astronomer that inspires the world and a healthy family united under the same roof 24/7."


"My silver lining of being at home is the time and space to nurture a calming hobby."


Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.