Friday, December 18, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for December 18, 2015

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of December 18, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Elysse Voyer, & Heather Flewelling

This week's issues:

1. Scientists Respond to Justices Scalia and Roberts

2. On LGBTQ Visibility at Colloquia

3. Alcoholic Astronomer

4. Joan Schmelz in Nature's Top Ten

5. Physics GRE Scores of Prize Postdoctoral Fellows in Astronomy

6. New York Times interview with Andrea Ghez

7. Carol Dweck, the Growth Mindset, and STEM

8. Computer Science Pioneers: Ada Lovelace & Grace Murray Hopper

9. Set To Take Over Tech: 70% Of Iran's Science And Engineering Students Are Women

10. Men, Women and Ikea: It's Complicated

11. Job Opportunities

12. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

13. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

14. Access to Past Issues


1. Scientists Respond to Justices Scalia and Roberts
From: Daryl Haggard [daryl.haggard_at_mcgill.ca]

[Members of our community have spoken out in support of affirmative action and diversity in physics in the wake of comments by Justices Roberts and Scalia during oral arguments in Fisher vs. University of Texas on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. Here is a selection of links/actions authored by or featuring members of our astronomy and physics communities. -Eds]

An open letter to SCOTUS from professional physicists (w/ ~2500 signatories to date) by Equity & Inclusion in Physics & Astronomy Group http://eblur.github.io/scotus

NY Times Op Ed: The 'Benefits' of Black Physics Students by Jedidah Isler http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/opinion/the-benefits-of-black-physics-students.html

LA Times: Black scientists respond to Scalia's suggestion that 'less advanced' classes are more suitable by Dexter Thomas http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-black-scientists-scalia-20151210-story.html

NSBP Statement on Racial Diversity in University Settings http://nsbp.org/press-release

Statement on Diversity in Physics from APS President Sam Aronson http://www.aps.org/about/governance/letters/scotus.cfm

Racism Doesn't Belong In My Classroom by Sarah Tuttle https://medium.com/@niais/i-am-a-white-woman-about-to-start-a-faculty-position-in-astronomy-at-the-university-of-washington-d30967443cfd

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2. On LGBTQ Visibility at Colloquia
From: Jessica Mink via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

[Today's guest post is by Dr. Jane Rigby. Jane Rigby is an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, a contributor to Astrobetter, and a member of the AAS's Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA)). This is one of a series of regular monthly posts from SGMA.]

You know the experiment where you give first graders crayons and ask them to draw a scientist. They draw white men with beards. Given that, if we want to make STEM more inclusive, we need to change the “scientist” cartoon in peoples’ minds. On average and generalizing, my female colleagues give more public talks than my male colleagues. In part, I think this is a conscious effort on their part to make female scientists more visible to the public.

A while back, my colleague Jason Wright (at my Alma Mater, Penn State) asked me a question about visibility for LGBTQ speakers in particular, and I responded. We did not come to any conclusions, so here we hope to start a broader conversation on the topic here that could inform LGBTQ colloquium speakers and their hosts.

To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/12/on-lgbtq-visibility-at-colloquia.html

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3. Alcoholic Astronomer
From: Christina Richey via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

[The below is a guest contribution from a regular reader of our blog who wishes to remain anonymous.]

It's been almost 12 years since I last drank alcohol. At this point most of my friends and colleagues have never seen me drink. When I first stopped drinking (probably because it was such a behavior change and I was in my early twenties) people asked me all the time why I wasn't drinking. These days, most people don't really seem to notice or care. But every once in a while, someone asks me why I'm not drinking. When they ask, I usually say one of the following (all of which are true): I don't like the way it effects me; I'm on a medication which conflicts with alcohol; alcoholism runs in my family; I just don't feel like drinking tonight. But sometimes (depending on my mood and how close I am with the person) I say the more honest answer: I used to drink and it was a problem. I find it easier to not drink at all than try to control my drinking.

Anyone can be an alcoholic, even a PhD astronomer.

To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/12/alcoholic-astronomer.html

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4. Joan Schmelz in Nature's Top Ten
From: Nancy Brickhouse <nbrickhouse_at_cfa.harvard.edu>

Nature has named Joan Schmelz as one of the "Ten people who mattered this year" for her work on sexual harassment in astronomy and STEM. This volume of Nature also has a number of articles on women in science.

To read the article, please visit

http://www.nature.com/news/365-days-nature-s-10-1.19018

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5. Physics GRE Scores of Prize Postdoctoral Fellows in Astronomy
From: Guest via astrobetter.com

[This is a guest post by Emily Levesque, Rachel Bezanson, and Grant Tremblay. Emily is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, Rachel is a Hubble Fellow at the University of Arizona, and Grant is an Einstein Fellow at Yale. Their post below references this paper.]

Last week, AAS President Meg Urry issued an open letter regarding use of the Physics GRE, a required element of applications to the vast majority of astronomy graduate degree programs in the United States.

Meg's letter questions whether or not the General and Physics GREs are useful predictive tools for future success in graduate school and beyond. The problems surrounding standardized tests and their apparently inherent bias (with strong correlations between scores and the gender, race, and socioeconomic status of test-takers) are well-established (check out Helms 2009, Steele & Aronson 1995, and Miller & Stassun 2014, among others). Standardized exams also preferentially exclude students with disabilities. Finally, the General and Physics GREs are extremely expensive; between registration and score report fees for these two exams, an applicant applying to ten astronomy graduate programs in the U.S. must spend over $500 just on test-taking, in addition to the potential cost of traveling to a testing center. This financial burden is profoundly exclusionary, and likely imposes a socioeconomic pre-selection on applicant pools across the board.

To read more, please see

http://www.astrobetter.com/blog/2015/12/14/physics-gre-scores-of-prize-postdoctoral-fellows-in-astronomy

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6. New York Times interview with Andrea Ghez
From: Andrea Schweitzer [schweitzer_at_frii.com]

An interesting article to share, which includes an interview with Andrea Ghez. I really liked her comment: "Just hiring more help with the logistics of life and not feeling that was a bad thing - it was part of doing my job well," Dr. Ghez said. "I was so thrilled that I could have a work and family life."

To read the article "How MacArthur Geniuses Handle Their Money Windfalls" by Paul Sullivan, please see

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/26/your-money/how-macarthur-geniuses-handle-their-money-windfalls.html

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7. Carol Dweck, the Growth Mindset, and STEM
From: James Lowenthal [jlowenth_at_smith.edu] & Daryl Haggard [daryl.haggard_at_mcgill.ca]

Why attitude is more important than intelligence by Travis Bradberry

When it comes to success, it's easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude).

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

To read more, please see

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-growth/why-attitude-is-more-important-than-intelligence/article27497990

Here are several WiA posts referencing Dewck's work in STEM

Why So Few? Growth Mindset (by Joan Schmelz) http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2014/01/why-so-few-growth-mindset.html (Jan 2014)

What does it mean to be smart? (by Nicholas McConnell) http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2013/02/what-does-it-mean-to-be-smart.html (Feb 2013)

And a 2013 NYT interview with Dweck

Q. & A. With Carol S. Dweck (by Vikas Bajaj) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/opinion/q-a-with-carol-s-dweck.html

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8. Computer Science Pioneers: Ada Lovelace & Grace Murray Hopper
From: Nick Cowan [nicolas.cowan_at_mcgill.ca] & Daryl Haggard [daryl.haggard_at_mcgill.ca]

[This week saw features on two female giants in computer science, Ada Lovelace and Grace Murray Hopper. -Eds]

Ada Lovelace and the Impossible Expectations We Have of Women in STEM by Victoria Turk

December 10, 2015, marks the would-be 200th birthday of computing pioneer Ada Lovelace. Lovelace is credited with publishing the first computer algorithm and, more importantly, with grasping the real potential of machines that didn't actually exist in her own lifetime.

Lovelace's main legacy today is as a figurehead for women in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM). But despite her place in history, conversation around Lovelace often veers toward the less scientific aspects of her life (when it's not outright trying to undermine her achievements). Rumours of affairs, gambling, and an addiction to prescribed opiates have made it into retellings of her story. She was the daughter of Lord Byron after all.

To read more, please see

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/ada-lovelace-and-the-impossible-expectations-we-have-of-women-in-stem

Physics Today FB Feature on Grace Murray Hopper

On this date [Dec 9] in 1906, Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist and US Navy Rear Admiral, was born in New York, New York. Hopper earned a PhD in math from Yale and taught at Vassar University until she joined the US Navy Reserve during WW2 where she worked on IBM's Harvard Mark I computer. After the war, continuing to work under contract with the Navy, she joined the team that developed the UNIVAC I (first photo), where she wrote the world's first programming language compiler. Her work led to some of the first compiler-based programming languages and was influential in the development of COBOL and FORTRAN. Late in her career she was a frequent lecturer and became well-known for using 11.8" (30 cm) lengths of telephone cable to illustrate the distance light travels in a nanosecond.

To read and comment on the Facebook post, please see

https://www.facebook.com/PhysicsToday/posts/10156332731985164

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9. Set To Take Over Tech: 70% Of Iran's Science And Engineering Students Are Women
From: Daryl Haggard [daryl.haggard_at_mcgill.ca]

by Amy Guttman

70% of of Iran's science and engineering students are women, and in a small, but promising community of startups, they’re being encouraged to play an even bigger role.

The common myth about women in Iran is that they are seen, but not heard, that they're not permitted to drive, that they are second-class citizens, and that entrepreneurship and positions of power are out of reach. These notions are wrong. For years, women in Iran have owned and managed businesses, many of them in male dominant industries like oil and gas, construction, mining, and now tech. And now, with such a high number graduating with degrees in science and engineering, there's a push to get women more involved in Iran's blossoming startup scene.

To read more, please see

http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyguttman/2015/12/09/set-to-take-over-tech-70-of-irans-science-and-engineering-students-are-women

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10. Men, Women and Ikea: It's Complicated
From: Stella Offner <soffner_at_astro.umass.edu>

by Jeff Guo

Psychologists have long said that men tend to be better than women at spatial tasks, like mentally picturing and manipulating shapes. Hundreds of studies spanning several decades have shown that on average, men score higher on tests asking them to rotate objects in their heads.

This is one of the few persistent and significant differences scientists have discovered between the brains of men and women. The pattern also aligns, perhaps suspiciously, with stereotypes about men being better at reading maps or parking — or putting together flat-pack furniture.

To read more, please see

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/17/researchers-have-finally-settled-whether-men-or-women-are-better-at-assembling-ikea-furniture

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11. Job Opportunities

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here: http://www.aas.org/cswa/diversity.html#howtoincrease

- Harvard Postdoctoral Fellowship for Future Faculty Leaders, Cambridge, MA

https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/opportunities/fellowships/fflpostdoc/overview.html

- Postdoctoral Research Position in the Ice Spectroscopy Laboratory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/planetary_news/2015/12/13/job-opportunity-experimental-planetary-sciences-eps

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12. 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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13. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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14. Access to Past Issues

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

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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