Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Astronomy Postdoctoral Positions where EPO is Explicitly Included & Valued

Each year postdoc applicants ask -- besides the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, are there other astronomy postdoctoral opportunities in which education/outreach efforts are explicitly included and valued as part of your effort? 

Below is the list I've compiled so far. If you know of other opportunities, please post a comment or send me an email. I'll then post the final list to the AstroBetter Wiki, astrobites, and aas.org (if they're interested), and/or anywhere else people suggest. 

The following possibilities are listed because of resources within the department/institution. Collaborating with these groups while a postdoc at that institution will depend on your potential postdoctoral advisor's stance/support. 
There are also a few astronomy departments which provide bridge programs for students from under-represented groups. There are often opportunities as a postdoc within these departments to get involved in supporting these efforts. 
A final important piece of advice is -- if you don't see the position you want, see if you can create it for yourself. 

My own experience is an illustrative case. The CIERA Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern caught my eye because of its interdisciplinary component. The solicitation at the time, however, only included STEM interdisciplinary possibilities (i.e., no Education/Outreach interdisciplinary connections). Before submitting my application, I spoke with the CIERA Director about my interests and background and presented my case for working across disciplines between Astronomy and The School of Education for 20% of my time. Through this conversation I learned that the CIERA Director is extremely supportive of EPO efforts. And as a result of that conversation, I was able to write a strong application that included 20% of my effort on Education/Outreach projects relevant to CIERA and the University. Three years later, my CIERA Postdoctoral Fellowship turned into a joint appointment with the Adler Planetarium... and the rest is history.