Thursday, November 29, 2018

STARtorialist 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

By Emily Rice, Summer Ash, and Kelle Cruz

Hello from STARtorialist HQ! As we’ve ventured into the retail business via our conference pop-up shop, aka the BOOTHtique, we have learned first-hand how much of an impact your purchasing choices can have on small businesses and independent designers, especially during the holiday season. For this year’s gift guide, we are sharing some of our favorite startorial shops, the majority of which are small businesses, many of them women- and/or minority-owned (read more here). For full disclosure, some of the links below are affiliate links which might generate commissions for us and/or we have purchasing and promotional relationships with these companies. 

Clothing & Accessories

Left to right: Constellations glow-in-the-dark tee from Svaha, Amazing Women Pioneers canvas tote bag from Svaha, Space Lover socks bundle from Svaha, “Fleur-de-Lift-Off” Rockets infinity scarf from Princess Awesome.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium - Summary of Discussions

By: Nancy Morrison, Nicolle Zellner, and Jessica Mink

The first Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium, in honor of the 200th anniversary of  Maria Mitchell's birth, was held October 5-6, 2018 at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. It was organized by the Maria Mitchell Association of Nantucket, MA, and sponsored by many organizations including the AAS. Nancy Morrison, Nicolle Zellner, and Jessica Mink, members of  the CSWA, attended and participated in the discussions. Speakers included Dr. Meg Urry (Yale), Dava Sobel (author), Dr. Jill Tarter (Emeritus, SETI), and Dr. Kate Kirby (APS). Panelists included astronomy profesor Dr. Colette Salyk (Vassar), Dr. Shirley Malcolm (AAAS), professors in environmental studies, biology, math, and other science fields, and other  science professionals. The panel discussions focused on three themes:
  • Recruitment: How to Bring Women and Girls into STEM
  • Retention: Strategies for Stemming the Leaky Pipeline and Ending Unconscious Bias
  • The Future: Where Are We Going and How Do We Get There? The Future of Women and Girls in STEM

Each panel was followed by "salons", discussion groups to which we were assigned, with a range of ages and experience, all of which made for quite interesting discussions. For example, Shirley Malcom (AAAS) noted that the problem is not recruitment of women into science, but keeping them on a path (not a pipeline!) toward a life in science. We all agreed that retention is just as much affected by varied paths as it is by a single leaky pipeline and that there still is a problem that women's paths all too often take them away from academia and/or STEM. And the path isn’t necessarily family: Meg Urry presented the fact that the number one predictor of success in STEM careers is gender - not family issues; there is no difference between women with and without children.

Summaries of the break-out discussions will eventually be posted by members of the Maria Mitchell Association who organized the symposium, so highlights noted by Jill Tarter in her meeting summary are listed here. Take-away advice includes:

for individuals:
  • Master your skill sets and use them when in new and/or unintended situations. 
  • Take advantage of opportunities when they arise and learn to sell yourself intelligently.
  • Strive for work-life alignment.
  • Celebrate science and never stop asking “Why?” 

for institutional leaders:
  • Publish and make transparent the rubrics that are used in evaluating candidates for entrance and advancement.
  • Avoid geographic and intellectual isolation. For example, hire and admit in cohorts.
  • Acknowledge and remedy stresses, including financial diversity and mental health, that women and underrepresented minority scientists (URMs) may be experiencing.
  • Confront bullying and harassment and create safe spaces for women and URMs.
  • Create multiple on/off/return ramps to academics and careers.

Maria Mitchell said, "We are women studying together". We look forward to our future and to the organizers’ intended future offerings of the Maria Mitchell Symposium! 

For a full list of speakers and panelists, and more information (including pdfs of the presentations), visit the Symposium's website. You can also see photos at the Maria Mitchell Association's Facebook page and search twitter for #MMWISS for tweets by several people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Does Astronomy Education Research have a glass ceiling?

Saeed Salimpour
By Saeed Salimpour1,a and Michael Fitzgerald2

1Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
2Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia

The challenges associated with gender equity and equality have been the topic of much research over many decades. In the context of science, the issue of gender is even more pronounced, this is marked by efforts to engage more women in science, or more specifically STEM. However, the research has mostly centred around scientists and science research. This brief article highlights findings from a study which explored the issue of gender in the context of Astronomy Education Research (AER) – a rapidly growing field of research drawing in, not just astronomers, but also researchers from different fields, e.g., education, psychology, evaluation.

Michael Fitzgerald
The study used the iSTAR database (International STudies of Astronomy education Research) (, link to summary paper). Over the years, iSTAR has grown to contain, or link to where appropriate, more than 1800 publications. These have drawn from major literature searches throughout the mainstream astronomy, astronomy education and science education journals, major conference proceedings and thesis collections. We presented the current status of iSTAR, at the recent RTSRE & iNATS conference in Hilo, Hawai’i, a recording of the talk is available here, and to see a fully referenced expanded version of this article, a pre-print of the article is available here.

Friday, November 9, 2018

AASWomen Newsletter for November 9, 2018

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
November 9, 2018
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and JoEllen McBride

This week's issues:

1. Rubrics and Resources for a Diverse Faculty and Graduate Student Body
2. Unforgotten sisters: The woman who bested Kepler 
3. This women-led space program is crowdfunding Kyrgyzstan’s first satellite launch
4. STEM: What’s holding females back?  
5. 10 Career Tips From The First Woman To Lead The Smithsonian Air And Space Museum
6. Women in tech call on global summit for greater roles as #MeToo hits
7. To address sexual harassment in science, the past can inform the way forward   
8. Job Opportunities   
9. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rubrics and Resources for a Diverse Faculty and Graduate Student Body

The editors of the AASWomen Newsletter are receiving many ads for tenure-track faculty positions and fellowship opportunities. Thank you for sending them! 

As we enter the "hiring season", please think about using rubrics in decisions related to hiring and, in the case of graduate school, admission*. Please also consider making them transparent by publishing them so that applicants are aware of the evaluation criteria. All of us are born with biases and they play out in our lives every day, especially when considering who to add to our department, field, and/or community. Rubrics allow us to compartmentalize those factors that are most important to us and allow a standardization of the factors to be considered, among all members of the decision committee.

I've listed some resources here that may be useful to you and/or your department. Feel free to share widely!

Faculty Search Toolkit (Michigan State University)

Faculty Hiring Evaluation Rubrics (University of Michigan, via the University of Washington)
Checklist for Hiring (Michigan Tech)

Multiple resources, incl. a variety of rubrics and a list of best practices (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

More resources (University of Michigan)

While the above resources are focused on practices to hire a diverse faculty, the guidelines can certainly be applied to accepting graduate students and the rubrics can be revised accordingly. As far as I can tell, no one has developed any rubrics for graduate school admission, but the need is real! So, if you design one, it will be a great resource and the CSWA can help you disseminate it widely! 

A quick Google search on "rubric evaluating grad student applications" provided some promising links:

Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions (Council of Graduate Schools)

Finally, rubrics to evaluate PhD Qualifying Exams also exist. You can find one here (pdf) and here (doc).

Do you know of other resources? Let us know! and check out the CSWA's page for additional information.

* I thank my salon group at the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Symposium for the stimulating discussions that lead to this post.