Friday, July 17, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for July 17, 2015

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 17, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. Using Non-Cognitive Assessments in Graduate Admissions

2. Setting a Higher Standard

3. The Women Who Power NASA's New Horizons Mission to Pluto

4. In Memoriam: Claudia Alexander

5. Women's Leadership News and Advice

6. Workaholism Isn't a Valid Requirement for Advancing in Science

7. The Diversity Racket

8. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

10. Access to Past Issues


1. Using Non-Cognitive Assessments in Graduate Admissions to Select Better Students and Increase Diversity

From: Casey Miller via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

When I became the director of the APS’s Bridge Program at the University of South Florida, I leveraged that position to raise awareness about diversity issues in physics. Thanks to many people’s appreciation of this topic, I have given physics colloquia to about a dozen departments across the country and presented invited talks at numerous conferences. Recently, I teamed up with Prof. Keivan Stassun from Vanderbilt to bring this issue even more visibility with an article in Nature. The below is intended as a brief review/resource letter, summarizing what I would present in a colloquium.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/07/using-non-cognitive-assessments-in.html

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2. Setting a Higher Standard

From: Ed Bertschinger via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

There has been a lot written lately, on this blog and elsewhere, about bad behavior in astronomy and other professions. The human cost is terrible, and responsible scientists should not ignore them, even if they are not directly affected. The blog entries below about sexual harassment, and many of the responses are heart-breaking. And these are just the tip of an iceberg -- much more abuse and suffering is unreported than reported.

Having been head of a large physics department, and now as a university-wide equity officer, I have a lot of data indicating that in its prevalence of people problems Astronomy is not unusual among academic disciplines, nor among professions in general. I've concluded that theoretical astrophysics is much easier than optimizing the success of a talented group of people in an organization. Physicists solve easy problems using idealized models. A different set of skills is needed to solve real-world problems involving real people.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/07/setting-higher-standard.html

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3. The Women Who Power NASA's New Horizons Mission to Pluto

From: Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]

Edited by Tricia Talbert

When Fran Bagenal began her career working on NASA’s Voyager mission to the outer planets, she was among just a handful of women on the team. But that didn’t phase her. “That’s just how it was,” she explains, adding that she was focused on particles and plasma. “Space physics was just my way of exploring the solar system.” Now, as the particles and plasma science team leader on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, her response to the relative abundance of women on the team is met mostly with a shrug. “This isn’t remarkable—it’s just how it is.”

Read more at:

http://www.nasa.gov/f eature/the-women-who-power-nasa-s-new-horizons-mission-to-pluto

See also:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/07/women-rule-pluto/398396

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4. In Memoriam: Claudia Alexander

From: Peter McCullough [peter.r.mccullough_at_gmail.com]

By Eric Betz

This weekend was one of great excitement for the planetary science community as the New Horizons spacecraft moved in on Pluto following decades of hard work. But that optimism took on a somber tone Saturday as news quickly traveled that pioneering scientist Claudia Alexander had died at age 56. Friends and family writing online tributes reported she suffered from breast cancer, but no official cause of death was given.

Read more at:

http://www.astronomy.com/news/2015/07/pioneering-rosetta-mission-scientist-claudia-alexander-dead-at-56

See also:

http://www.engin.umich.edu/college/about/news/stories/2015/july/in-memoriam-alexander

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5. Women's Leadership News and Advice

From: Meg Urry [meg.urry_at_yale.edu]

A missive from our fearless AAS leader notes that "I’ve been getting this email for a few weeks now (not sure why) but a lot of the articles look interesting and perhaps the readership would be interested, even if they are not specifically about astronomy. Ditto re Feministing."

Take the Lead is an organization dedicated to "Women's leadership news and advice, packaged to fit your life":

http://www.taketheleadwomen.com

Feministing goes by the tag line "Young Feminists Blogging, Organizing, Kicking Ass":

http://feministing.com

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6. Workaholism Isn't a Valid Requirement for Advancing in Science

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

By Bryan Gaensler

In the late 1990s, I landed a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the storied Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At first, I would turn up to work around 9 am, and would head home around 5 pm. But before too long, I noticed that many of the other scientists were already in at work by 9, and that the same people were still in the lab at 5.

“Hmm,” I thought. “I’m at MIT now. I need to lift my game.”

I began arriving an hour earlier, and staying an hour later. But at 8 am, the same people were already in working. And at 6 pm, they showed no signs of going home. I’m the competitive sort, so I rose to the challenge. I cranked it up to 12-hour days, 7 am to 7 pm. But the same people were still in there before me and stayed after me. This silent arms race escalated for another six months, at great personal strain. But then I came to a realization. The additional hours were not translating into extra progress, but rather only into extra exhaustion. So I went back to working eight-hour days, before moving on a few years later to a faculty position at Harvard.

Almost 20 years later, I’m now an institute director at the University of Toronto. A big focus of my efforts is to boost the careers, well-being and success of my institute’s students and postdocs.

Read more at:

http://theconversation.com/workaholism-isnt-a-valid-requirement-for-advancing-in-science-44555

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7. The Diversity Racket

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is a buzz phrase these days. For about 10 years, I fought to get other people to care about “diversity issues.” Now that “diversity” has arrived, I somewhat regret it. I’ve started pushing instead for people to talk about equity, equality, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, heterocisnormativity, classism. In starting to succeed, I have begun to regret this too.

Read more at:

https://medium.com/@chanda/the-diversity-racket-49948f899b9b

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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

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10. Access to Past Issues

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

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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