Friday, June 27, 2014

AASWomen Newsletter for June 27, 2014

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of June 27, 2014
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. Increasing diversity by ditching the GRE

2. Why So Few? Contrast-Sensitivity Ability

3. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Software Engineer at SpaceX

4. Interesting Verizon commercial about encouraging girls in science

5. Women and Wikipedia: science and engineering’s forgotten labour

6. L'Oreal Fellowship Winners in Physics

7. Seeking Women Astronomer Role Models

8. Master's Degree Opportunity at the University of Manitoba

9. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

11. Access to Past Issues


1. Increasing diversity by ditching the GRE
From: John Johnson via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Every Fall seniors in the US take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), and their scores are submitted along with their applications to grad school. Many professors, particularly those in physics departments, believe that the GRE is an important predictor of future success in grad school, and as a result many admissions committees employ score cutoffs in the early stages of their selection process. However, past and recent studies have shown that there is little correlation between GRE scores and future graduate school success.

The most recent study of this type was recently published in Nature Jobs. The authors, Casey Miller and Keivan Stassun show there are strong correlations between GRE scores and race/gender, with minorities and (US) white women scoring lower than their white male (US) counterparts. They conclude, "In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success."

To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.fr/2014/06/increasing-diversity-by-ditching-gre.html

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2. Why So Few? Contrast-Sensitivity Ability
From: Joan Schmelz via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

The 2010 report entitled, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), profiles research by Dr. Shelley Correll on gender differences in self-assessment, or how good you think you are at a particular activity or subject. Dr. Correll is a sociologist at Stanford University and finds that "boys do not pursue mathematical activities at a higher rate than girls do because they are better at math. They do so, at least partially, because they think they are better."

To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.fr/2014/06/why-so-few-contrast-sensitivity-ability.html#more

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3. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Software Engineer at SpaceX
From: Laura Trouille via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

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

Below is our interview with Patrik Jonsson, an astronomer turned software engineer at SpaceX. He made his career switch at the age of 41 and works remotely from Hawaii.

To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.fr/2014/06/career-profiles-astronomer-to-software.html

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4. Interesting Verizon commercial about encouraging girls in science
From: Cindy Taylor [ctaylor_at_lawrenceville.org]

I saw a post about this Verizon commercial on Slate. Here's the commercial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP3cyRRAfX0

Here's the Slate post:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/06/26/_inspire_her_mind_verizon_and_makers_collaborate_on_an_ad_about_girls_and.html

And another article on ThinkProgress gives more detail on the background of the ad:

http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/06/25/3452972/new-commercial-exposes-sneaky-ways-we-discourage-girls-from-science

It definitely raises some good points about what we say to young girls. As a mother of a 10 year old girl, a high school teacher, and having earned a Ph.D. in Astronomy, it made me pause and think about what I say to my kids and to my students.

I'm lucky in having a father who watched me braid the hair on my barbie dolls and realized I had the fine motor skills to play with his old Erector set (which I used to create new cars for my barbie dolls - I played with it more than my older brother). And also lucky in having parents who encouraged my enthusiasm for Astronomy after watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos series in 7th grade.

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5. Women and Wikipedia: science and engineering’s forgotten labour
From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]

by Alice Bell (23 June 2014)

Today, to celebrate National Women in Engineering Day, the Royal Academy of Engineering are running a women in engineering Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.

It follows a series of similar events held at the Royal Society (who have their own Wikimedian in Residence). Anyone can turn up - men are allowed in too - they are given an introduction to editing Wikipedia and encouraged to help build and improve entries on female scientists, engineers and mathematicians

To read more, please see

http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/alice-bell/women-and-wikipedia-science-and-engineering%E2%80%99s-forgotten-labour

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6. L'Oreal Fellowship Winners in Physics
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

Two physics post-docs received a L'Oreal fellowship, including one who studies differences between matter and anti-matter:

http://www.iop.org/news/14/jun/page_63399.html

Note this part of the article:

"A quarter of the 289 women who applied for fellowships and half of the eight shortlisted candidates said that they would use the prize money to fund childcare. This highlights “the unique value of the fellowship in providing flexible funding to support women in science”, the organisers said."

Good to know that there are some flexible fellowships out there!

For more information about the L'Oreal Fellowships, please see

http://www.loreal.com/foundation/Section.aspx?topcode=Foundation_AccessibleScience

http://www.loreal.com/foundation/Article.aspx?topcode=Foundation_AccessibleScience_WomenExcellence_W

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7. Seeking Women Astronomer Role Models
From: Heidi B. Hammel [hbhammel_at_aura-astronomy.org]

The Carnegie STEM Girls initiative *desperately* needs modern women astronomers to profile as role models for their "outer space" theme, since I doubt that today's tween and teen girls will relate to "Livin' It!" profiles about Caroline Herschel, Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin, and Maria Mitchell! They gave me permission to circulate their request:

Carnegie STEM Girls initiative is looking for female STEM professionals to showcase in their "Livin' It!" section at their CanTEENgirl.org site, designed to inspire tween and teen girls to see themselves in STEM careers. This site features profiles of women who are involved STEM fields, and answers some basic questions girls may have such as, "What's a typical day like?" or "How do I start preparing now?".

To be featured as a role model, send a photo of yourself, and simply fill out this form:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFItR1VaNER4cHhVWXN3YnV6eVlyQVE6MQ#gid=0

Here is an example of a role model profile:

http://canteengirl.org/livinit/julie-phillippi

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8. Master's Degree Opportunity at the University of Manitoba
From: Jayanne English [Jayanne.English_at_ad.umanitoba.ca]

There is an immediate graduate degree opportunity to study the motions of galaxies in a very women-friendly astronomy group at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Please see "How Does Your Galaxy Grow?" at

http://www.physics.umanitoba.ca/~english/masters

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9. 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.

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

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10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email:

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11. Access to Past Issues

http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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