Monday, December 30, 2019

Happy Birthday, CSWA!

2019 marked the 40th year of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, and we invite you to celebrate with us! Join us at our Meet and Greet at the AAS meeting on Tuesday, January 7 from 6 to 7 pm in Room 306 AB. Light refreshments will be served.

Highlights and accomplishments of the past 40 years will be shared and you'll get a chance to meet current members. Additionally, we'll have opportunities for you to sign-up to write a guest blog; subscribe to AASWomen, our weekly electronic newsletter; tell us what CSWA should be doing in the next 40 years; and share your CSWA memories.

We look forward to seeing you at the celebration! A list of other CSWA activities at the AAS meeting can be found here.

Image Credit: Karen's Cake Toppers

Thursday, December 26, 2019

CSWA Activities at the AAS Meeting (2020)

By Nicolle Zellner, Pat Knezek, and JoEllen McBride

Aloha! We are all very excited to see our colleagues at the 235th AAS meeting in beautiful Hawaii! Many of the CSWA members will be in attendance and the Committee will be hosting several activities during the week as well as supporting others. These include

Photo Credit Nicolle Zellner
  • the Student Orientation & Grad School Fair at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Tapas Ballroom (January 4, 5:30 – 7 pm). We will be staffing a table and providing information about our committee to all who stop by.
  • a meet and greet with committee members in Room 306 AB (Tuesday, January 7, 6- 7 pm) followed by
  • a joint session with the organizers of the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics in Room 306AB (Tuesday, January 7, 6 pm - 8 pm).
Light refreshments will be served at the Tuesday event.

Christina Richey is running a workshop teaching key points to communicate science through successful proposal writing using Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) as a template (Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Room 307B). JoEllen McBride, our blogger-in-chief and lead editor of AASWomen, will be participating in a special session on the AAS Astronomy Ambassadors program (Sunday, 10:00 am - 11:30 am, Room 320). Pat Knezek, our co-chair, is a presenter for special session 292 "Survival Skills for Astronomers: Posters, Presentations, and Proposals,” (Monday, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm, Room 308B). Additionally, our summer intern, Rachel Wexler, will be presenting an iPoster in the 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm session on Tuesday, January 7th.

A full list of AAS workshops can be found on the website. Other activities that may be of interest are:

  • Hawai’i Voices Swirl abstracts - includes workshops and stargazing events which explore Hawaiian culture.
  • LightSound: Learn to Build a Sonification Tool to Make Your Classes and Outreach Events More Inclusive (Friday & Saturday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Room 307A)
  • Collective Blueprints for the Ideal Astronomy Mentor (Saturday, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, Room 304AB)
  • Teaching for Equity, Workshop (Sunday, 9:00 am–1:00 pm, Room 301 B)
  • Self Care as an Act of Resistance for People of Color (Sunday, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, Room 303A)
  • SGMA Meet & Greet for LGBTQIA Members and Students (Sunday, 6:30 - 7:30, Room 323A)
  • Rest and Workflow for Marginalized Scientists: How to Maintain Sustainable Success, Workshop (Monday, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, Room 303 A)
  • Accessible Astronomy, Town Hall (Monday, 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm, Room 313 A)
  • Implementing Astro 2020: Status Report, Town Hall (Tuesday, 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm, Ballroom AB)
  • Diversity and Inclusion Swirl - includes workshops and talks we may have missed!

The Committee for the Status of Minorities in Astronomy also has a list of AAS astronomers who self-identify as people of color. You can add your name to the listing by going to

Are there other activities you'd like to advertise? Add them in the Comments!

For a full list of CSWA committee members, please visit our website:

Friday, December 20, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for December 20, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of December 20, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi

Mileva Maric-Einstein, from item 2
This week's issues:

1. Meet Your CSWA, Kathleen Eckert

2. Casualty Of Genius: The Sacrifice Of Mileva Maric-Einstein

3. Nature's 10: Ten people who mattered in science in 2019

4. What Works to Close Gender Gaps?

5. Full Spectrum Documentary Short Film

6. Bringing community astronomy to rural Africa

7. Male Researchers More Apt Than Women to Hype Findings: Study

8. US biomedical agency has investigated hundreds claims of inappropriate conduct this year

9. There's No Winter Break From 'Publish or Perish'

10. Become a reviewer for the National Fellowship Program: Information for new reviewers

11. Biennial European Astrobiology Conference (BEACON)

12. Applied Galactic Dynamics Summer School

13. Global gender equality will take another 100 years to achieve, study finds

14. First-Year Graduate Students in Physics and Astronomy: Characteristics and Background

15. 'Miss America can be a scientist': Camille Schrier of Virginia wins after onstage chemistry experiment

16. Women Representation on Company Boards Increased From 5% In 2012 To 13% In 2018

17. Grading for STEM Equity

18. Job Opportunities

19. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

20. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

21. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Meet Your CSWA, Kathleen Eckert

Kathleen Eckert is a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania working on galaxy shape measurement algorithms for large imaging surveys to better understand our universe. She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a goal of understanding the masses of galaxies in terms of their stars, gas, and dark matter for the RESOLVE survey. She currently lives in Richmond, VA (working remotely) with her husband, twin toddler girls, and a toddler-wary cat.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection with the planets and stars.

When I was in third grade, I did a project about lunar eclipses for science class. I usually wasn’t very enthused about putting together art projects for school, like dioramas, but I remember planning and assembling a series of paper plates to show how eclipses work. At that point science was my favorite subject, which never really changed throughout school.

Friday, December 13, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for December 13, 2019

Stephan's Quintet (Image Data: Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA; Processing: Al Kelly)
AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of December 13, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi

This week's issues:

1. Guest Post: Working to Level the Playing Field at NASA

2. PhD bridge programmes as engines for access, diversity and inclusion

3. CSMA sponsored workshops and workshops of interest at AAS 235

4. Gender and Sexual Minorities in Astronomy and Planetary Science Face Increased Risks of Harassment and Assault

5. A Dynamical Systems Model of Power, Privilege and Leadership in Academia

6. Making Black Women Scientists under White Empiricism: The Racialization of Epistemology in Physics

7. NextProf Science 2020 Opportunity at the University of Michigan

8. Academia is now incompatible with family life, thanks to casual contracts

9. Universities may share past harassment findings

10. Astronomy funder finds that gender diversity takes more than good intentions

11. Diversity and inclusion in Australian astronomy

12. Towards inclusive practices with indigenous knowledge

13. Why I teach growth mindset

14. I thought patriarchy in science was fading. Then I saw it in the data

15. In fieldwork, other humans pose as much risk to LGBTQIA+ people as the elements

16. Why are so few Nobel Prizes awarded to women?

17. Job Opportunities

18. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

19. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

20. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Guest Post: Working to Level the Playing Field at NASA

By Joan Schmelz
NASA Postdoctoral Program Director
Universities Space Research Association (USRA)

A recently approved policy now allows NASA postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to continue receiving stipends during time away from work. This time away can be for a variety of family and medical issues, including a serious health condition, birth or adoption of a child, parental care, or other special circumstances. This is a major improvement over the old procedure, where stipends stopped while the fellows were absent from their posts.

I have been working to get this policy in place since I became the Director of the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) back in February 2019. Friends – alums of the program – shared their stories of how they tried to navigate the old system. Under the previous policy, the amount of time away from work needed to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The burden was on the fellow, who was dependent on the goodwill of their NASA research advisor. This burden has finally been lifted with a new twelve-week guarantee.

I think of this as a policy for the 21st century. I’ve described it as ‘one giant leap’ for work-life balance at NASA. If you want to level the playing field, this is where you start.

Friday, December 6, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for December 6, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of December 6, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi

This week's issues:

1. Career Profiles: Geochemist to Planetary Scientist 
2. Meet Your CSWA Intern, Rachel Wexler 
3. Cross-post: Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome 
4. New NASA Postdoctoral Program Policy Helps level Playing Field
5. Conference for Undergraduate Women in Astronomy (CUWiA) at West Virginia University  
6. Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics 2020
7. L'Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship
8. The context of diversity   
9. At NASA, 2019 was the year of the woman, yet women still are a big minority at the space agency 
In Terminator: Dark Fate, Linda Hamilton plays Sarah Connor
as an older woman, a demographic that’s rare in sci-fi novels.
Credit: Kerry Brown/Paramount/Everett Collection
10. Women from ethnic minorities least likely to be offered speaking opportunities at scientific conferences
11. A message for mentors from dissatisfied graduate students
12. Working Scientist podcast: Too many PhDs, too few research positions
13. Working Scientist podcast: It's time to fix the "one size fits all" PhD
14. Space ageing: why sci-fi novels shun the badass older woman 
15. Job Opportunities
16. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
17. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
18. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Career Profiles: Geochemist to Planetary Scientist

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy is compiling 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 Dr. Amy Riches, a freelance scientist whose work has the goal of unmasking the magmatic and interior compositions, origins, and evolutionary chapters of asteroids formed over 4.5 billion years ago, as well as Mars and the Earth-Moon system. As a broad-based petrologist and isotope cosmo/geochemist her studies generate coordinated mineral and 'bulk rock' data sets via frontline investigative approaches. The findings arising from these examinations of rocks from space are needed to resolve long-standing controversies concerning the origins of our habitable home world, as well as the search for habitable bodies elsewhere in the cosmos.

As part of her wider contributions to the scientific community, Amy enjoys driving inclusive activities such as scientific meetings and edited volumes that have advocated for and stimulated new multidisciplinary directions of study at international levels. In addition, she has led a number of public talks, articles with international media reaching many millions of readers, online showcases, and interactive outreach activities designed to enhance the engagement of global societies with planetary science themes. You can reach out to Amy at her email ajvriches AT and catch up on her work at her website

To access our previous Career Profiles, please go to

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Meet Your CSWA Intern, Rachel Wexler

Flight suit photo at NASA Langley in June!
Rachel Wexler is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. She will graduate in spring 2020 and continue studying at Georgia Tech to earn a master’s degree in public policy. Throughout her time at Tech, she has worked as a research assistant on a project that examines the transmission of knowledge about women in science and technology. Rachel is originally from Sanibel Island, Florida. She is currently leading the CSWA's write up of recommendations to the AAS based on our survey findings.

What is a public policy student at Georgia Tech?

Public policy students at Georgia Tech study a combination of politics, economics, sociology, statistics, and research methods to prepare for a future as problem-solvers in the public and private sectors.

Cross-post: Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Image Credit:

By UW Health

At work, are you afraid colleagues might find out you’re not as capable as they may think? Do you feel like any praise you receive for success is because people are just trying to be nice, not because you actually deserve it? Rather than celebrating increased responsibilities or promotions, do they instead cause anxiety because – in your mind – now you’ll have to work even harder to keep them from learning the truth about your abilities?

Here’s a secret – a lot of people feel that way. In fact, roughly 70 percent of us do at some point in our lives. While change can always cause feelings of doubt, for some people the feelings of inadequacy run so deep that no amount of success or achievement can sway them. And there is a term for it – imposter syndrome.

Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain explains that imposter syndrome can be debilitating if left untreated. “In addition to causing stress, anxiety and depression, it can impact lives in other ways. Individuals with imposter syndrome may avoid pursuing new job opportunities out of fear. Feelings of shame may make it difficult to speak up for themselves or advocate for what they believe is right.”


Friday, November 22, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for November 22, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of November 22, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi

Henrietta Leavitt, from item 3
This week's issues:

1. Kick-off Post for Two-Body Problem Series

2. New Video Interview Series from the Europlanet Early Career and Diversity Committees

3. How Henrietta Swan Leavitt Helped Build a Yardstick to Measure the Universe

4. The Scientist Who First Showed Us The Double Helix: A Personal Look At Rosalind Franklin

5. Supporting Parents and Caregivers in Science, Engineering, and Medicine

6. The Long Road to Getting, and Keeping, More Women in Science

7. Navigating the 'Old Boys' Club' of Science, With a Friend

8. Why I'm not applying for promotion

9. Want more women and minorities in STEM? Address social oppression in the classroom, says new research

10. 5 Ways to Welcome Women to Computer Science

11. The mental health of PhD researchers demands urgent attention

12. Are you guilty of equity offset?

13. Job Opportunities

14. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

15. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

16. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Kick-off Post for Two-Body Problem Series

Image Credit: SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

The two-body problem refers to the complications of dual-working partners finding jobs in the same location. This is a special issue for academics for several reasons, principally 1) academics are more likely to be partnered with other academics and 2) jobs in academia are scarce and finding two in the same location is difficult. For women, especially those partnered with men, this becomes even more precarious as academics who identify as women are far more likely to have a partner in the same field or within academia. They are also more likely to “follow” their partner, resulting in compromising their career path for the ability to live with their partner and family.

The CSWA has recognized the impact of the two-body problem on careers for women in astronomy, and frequently posted to this blog. However, our last posts about this issue were in 2014, and we believe it is time to kick-off a new series, bringing in personal stories, insights from the hiring standpoint, and looking for solutions. If you would like to contribute a post, email the blog editors at wia-blog AT

In this kick-off post, we are sharing an interview with Timothy D. Swindle, Department Head and Director of the Department of Planetary Sciences and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, who shared his insight into how departments and schools can address the problem. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Why is your department/school taking steps to address the two-body problem?

Almost half the people that we want to hire, male or female, have a partner who is also in academia. If we want to successfully recruit them, we probably have to help them solve that problem. If their partner is an M.D. or a lawyer or a schoolteacher, it's not an issue that we can address as a university, although we will try to provide contacts in the community.

What negotiated resources, tangible benefits, or other offers have departments implemented that have been effective? What has not worked?

Offering a tenure-track faculty line, complete with a start-up package that is large enough to allow for success, is usually effective. If the partner is not already in a tenure-track position, a staff position with a few years of security may be effective.

It is often not effective when the offer for the partner is (or appears to be) a step down in rank, e.g., from a tenured position to tenure-track or lecturer, or from tenure-track to staff.

Is it effective when departments make the offer or does the school/institution need to be on board?

The institution needs to be on board to allow the departments to make effective offers. In my institution, we have usually been successful when the partner was also in the sciences. The science departments typically have 20 or more faculty, and the department heads all recognize that there is a good chance that we will be the one shopping a partner in the future. Additionally, the dean has not held partner hires against us for future hiring plans, even if the partner doesn't align perfectly with our strategic needs. On the other hand, we have lost hires when dealing with departments in other colleges, especially smaller departments. Even if they liked the partner for a position, their dean would give no assurances for planned future hires.

Every situation is different. It works best when both partners are very strong so that the department hiring the second partner can make a strong case. But we have also had some cases where one department (or college) would cover the startup or the first few years of the partner's salary, perhaps in return for some indirect cost return. The negotiations can become involved. But the bottom line is that it's essential that the university administration, at the level of dean and above, be supportive.

What improvements have you seen in the hiring process for faculty with partners?

There is a growing recognition that a substantial fraction of the people a university wants to hire as faculty will have a two-body problem. Our department has been in an era of hiring, partly due to growth, partly to retirements, and our success rate for scientists with academia-minded partners, though not quite as good as for those who are single or have spouses in other fields, is not far off. Being better at solving the two-body problem does give an institution an advantage, given the number of talented couples on the job market.

Another improvement in the last decade or so has been the increased effectiveness of parental leave policies, allowing parents to take more time with newborns without it counting against the tenure clock. I have seen this both at our institution and at others. I know that is widespread, but a couple thinking of having children should check on that.

Anything else you'd like to add?

One of the very difficult things about this is that, unless it is a targeted hire of a couple in the same area, there is usually one partner who is the second body. Will that person be accepted as a scientist in their own right? My suspicion is that it is easier in a larger department and in a department with a more substantial history of dealing with the issue. I know of cases where that has been a problem, and that can be hard on an individual and on a relationship. For a couple where one gets a job offer, it's worth asking if there are other couples or spousal hires in the department, and if so, finding out their perception.

Tim Swindle is a Professor of Planetary Sciences and Geosciences at the University of Arizona, where he is the Head of the Department of Planetary Sciences and Director of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. He has negotiated the hiring of 21 faculty members in the last decade.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Cross-post: Increasing gender diversity in the STEM research workforce

Women experience substantial, gender-specific barriers that can impede their advancement in research careers...We outline here specific, potentially high-impact policy changes that build upon existing mechanisms for research funding and governance and that can be rapidly implemented to counteract barriers facing women in science. These approaches must be coupled to vigorous and continuous outcomes-based monitoring, so that the most successful strategies can be disseminated and widely implemented. Though our professional focus is primarily academic biomedical research in U.S. institutions, we suggest that some of the approaches that we discuss may be broadly useful across STEM disciplines and outside of academia as well.

Read more at:

The CSWA is currently working on their own set of recommendations to the AAS for a more inclusive astronomy in the form of a Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (BAAS) article. Those recommendations will be presented at AAS by Rachel Wexler, a senior at Georgia Tech who is working with the CSWA on this project.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Physics and Astronomy STEM Equality Achievement (SEA) Change Department Awards

By Arlene Modeste Knowles and Beth A. Cunningham

Over the last two years, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has developed the STEM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change Project which supports systemic, structural institutional transformation around diversity and inclusion in colleges and universities. It does so by encouraging, assisting and recognizing academic institutions that commit to and engage in the difficult work of removing structural barriers to success for women, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, people with disabilities, and others who are marginalized in STEM fields. In the SEA Change process, inclusion, and its valuable impacts, are measured by the experiences of students and faculty, as well as by data. The SEA Change Principles can be found here: Three universities were the first recipients of SEA Change bronze awards in February 2019: Boston University, University of California, Davis, and University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cross-post: Every woman has an 'I Don't' list. And it's about time we shared them.

We all do so much. It's so easy to forget all you do and just focus on what you don't. But instead of feeling guilty for all the things you don't do, what if we shared them! Holly Wainwright, Head of Content on the Mamamia blog, writes in this blog post "But now I can see that what women really need to hear is not how other women “do it all”, so that we can mimic their to-do lists and add more and more to our cracking plates. No. We need to hear what other women aren’t doing."

Read more at:

My list overlapped with hers in many spots, but here are a few additional things 'I Don't' do:

  • I don't make my kids brush their teeth in the morning. Heck, I don't even brush my teeth in the morning.
  • I don't make my bed.
  • I don't make my kids make their beds.
  • I don't cook most nights, because my partner gets home before me.
  • I don't do ANY work after 8:30 pm. That's TV time.
  • I don't have any hobbies.
  • I don't attend most CSWA meetings because they happen during my work hours.
  • I don't shower every day.

So, what don't you do? Feel free to share in the comments!

Friday, October 25, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for October 25, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 25, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi

Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, NASA, from item 3
This week's issues:

1. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Communications and Stewardship Staff Writer

2. Zibi Turtle: Titan of Exploration

3. Why spacesuit design choices - not women's physiques - delayed the first all-female spacewalk

4. NASA reveals new spacesuits designed to fit men and women

5. Announcement: Upcoming Proposal Writing Workshops for R&A Proposals

6. Bill Recognizing 'Hidden Figures' for Contributions to U.S. during the Space Race Headed to President Trump's Desk to become Law

7. All co-first authors are equal, but some are more equal than others

8. Being reminded of bias makes students treat female professors fairer

9. Townhall: STEM Student Success- Investing in Minority Serving Institutions for Our Future Workforce

10. Three Ways Your STEM Organization Can Have More Women Leaders - AWIS Research

11. Vote for the Woman Because She's a Woman

12. The Ghost of the Glass Ceiling That Still Haunts Equal Pay

13. What Girls Really Need to Succeed in STEM

14. By age 6, kids tend to see white men as more 'brilliant' than white women

15. Job Opportunities

16. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

17. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

18. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Career Profiles: Astronomer to Communications and Stewardship Staff Writer

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy is compiling 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 Dr. JoEllen McBride, an astronomer who left astronomy to become a science writer. While a PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she recognized her interest in outreach and education and developed her experience in these areas. After receiving her PhD, Dr. McBride was awarded an AAAS Mass Media Fellowship to be a science journalist at Voice of America. By day she is a Communications and Stewardship Staff Writer for Penn Medicine Development and Alumni Relations. The rest of her time is split between being with her family of two daughters, Carina and Alessa; two kitties, Thelma and Louise; and her partner, Ed, who is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Math at Thomas Jefferson University East Falls. She also still gives public talks about astronomy and teaches 4th-grade girls about astronomy ten Saturdays out of the year. You can follow her on Twitter at @astrophyspunkin or on Instagram at @astropunkin.

To access our previous Career Profiles, please go to

Friday, October 18, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for October 18, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 18, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi

This week's issues:

1. US Delegation to the 7th International Conference on Women in Physics

2. Are We Pressuring Students to Choose a Hostile STEM?

3. The Style-Quantifying Astrophysicists of Silicon Valley

4. Viewpoint: Feynman, Harassment, and the Culture of Science

5. Doris Lessing at 100: roving time and space

6. Trailblazer in astronomy and science is Delaware's contribution to innovation coin series

7. How I overcame impostor syndrome after leaving academia

8. Shared parental leave: making it work for the whole family

9. Why the 2019 Nobel Prizes in STEM struggled with diversity

10. Once, most famous scientists were men. But that’s changing.

11. Transitioning from postdoc researcher to gig-economy scientist

12. NASA's First All-Female Spacewalk Set For Friday

13. Working Scientist podcast: How to inspire young women to consider scientific careers

14. Award recognizes efforts to inspire girls to pursue science careers

15. REGISTER NOW: Astro2020 Webinar on October 28 at 1:30pm ET

16. Extreme Galaxies and their Extreme Environments as Probes of Galaxy Formation Conference

17. Workshop announcement: How to start a peer-led SVSH prevention program

18. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

19. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

20. Access to Past Issues of the AASWOMEN newsletter

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

US Delegation to the 7th International Conference on Women in Physics

By Beth Cunningham

ICWIP 2017 Group Photo
Copyright Liz Hingley, IoP and University of Birmingham

Every three years, starting in 2002, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics has sponsored a global conference for women physicists and astronomers. About 200 women and their male allies from approximately 60 countries gather to talk about their success stories and continuing challenges in advancing the careers of women in physics and astronomy. Attendees must be part of a country delegation in order to participate. The conference includes plenary sessions with world-renowned women physicists and astronomers, breakout sessions on special topics such as education and improving the workplace, poster sessions to highlight activities supporting women in each country and for attendees to showcase their own work, and multiple opportunities for networking and building collaborations and alliances. The seventh International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP 2020), will be held in Melbourne, Australia, from July 13 through July 17, 2020. The proceedings of all the previous ICWIPs are freely available.

Friday, October 11, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for October 11, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 11, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi
From item #1

This week's issues:

1. Crosspost: Women in Planetary Science, Summary from the Planetary Allyship Meeting 2019

2. Apology from the Blogger-in-Chief

3. ‘More women are being nominated’: Nobel academy head discusses diversity

4. The 1st All-Female Spacewalk Is Back on As NASA Gears Up for 10-EVA Marathon

5. Suggest new names for next generation Source Extractor

6. ‘Graduate school is not designed for us’: For parents in graduate programs, traditional academia and gendered expectations clash

7. Ada Lovelace, Pioneer

8. Too Emotional to Go to Space — 'Lucy in the Sky' Reinforces Negative Stereotypes (Op-Ed)

9. 30 women in robotics you need to know about – 2019

10. Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to scientists, some rally behind one who never got one

11. How to be your most authentic self

12. NIH marquee awards for ‘high risk, high reward’ projects skew male—again

13. Staying Power: a convening about postdoctoral women

14. STEM Student Success: Promising Approaches from Minority Serving Institutions

15. The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM

16. Applications for the US Delegation to the 7th International Conference on Women in Physics

17. Job Opportunities

18. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

19. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

20. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Apology from the Blogger-in-Chief

I want to offer an apology to all of our readers for the Mental Health Day post I posted to the Women in Astronomy blog yesterday. It was a terrible oversight to not get approval from the entire CSWA, especially since I did not do my due diligence as a writer to vet claims in the post. I also want to apologize for the damage done to those who live with the conditions referenced in the post. Life is complicated by many factors. We're all just trying to live our best lives within our circumstances and no one should ever be shamed for that. I'm sorry for any pain or harm I caused.

Thank you to all the people who spoke out about the post and taught me this valuable lesson. I will do better.

-JoEllen McBride, PhD

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Crosspost: Women in Planetary Science, Summary from the Planetary Allyship Meeting 2019

The Women in Planetary Science blog this week featured a summary of the Planetary Allyship Meeting held at the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) conference in September. The Planetary Allyship Meeting is an informal group that has met since 2015 to "discuss issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion among those who have privilege to support folks who have less." At the fourth annual DPS they discussed "several issues that span the Atlantic, affecting both our American and European colleagues, and issues that seem unique to each side of the divide."


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Means of Doing Science

By JoEllen McBride, PhD

The views expressed in this blog post are not necessarily the views of the CSWA, the AAS, its Board of Trustees, or its membership.

When the U.S. decided to go to the Moon, President John F. Kennedy famously said “We choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” But is that why we went to the Moon? It is pretty well known that our arms race with the Soviet Union provided the urgency to send men to the Moon. We considered Air Force pilots for astronauts and the government pumped billions of dollars into creating NASA just to beat the Soviets to the Moon. It’s also safe to say that going to the Moon inspired a whole generation of kids to go into STEM fields and created new technologies that benefited most of us.

But what happens when you only look at the products of science and technology and not how it was accomplished? Is it just as inspiring to know the reasons behind why we went? What if the government had just invested in the space program for the technological innovations that would result and the people it would inspire? Instead, we went to the Moon to prove our military and technological superiority to another country that we were in a nuclear arms race with. A race that made it so children practiced drills in school in the event a nuclear weapon was detonated over their town and the government questioned the loyalty of its own citizens.

Friday, September 27, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for September 27, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of September 27, 2019
eds: JoEllen McBride, Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and Alessandra Aloisi

This week's issues:

1. Crosspost: How The First Woman in Climate Science Beat One of Its Founders to a Major Finding

2. New Data on Bachelor's Degrees Earned by African Americans

3. Astronomy Degree Recipients: One Year After Degree

4. Latest Employment Data on New Physics & Astronomy PhDs

5. Lindsay Yazzolino Helps Visually Impaired People Engage With Science

6. What It’s Like to Be a Woman in the Academy

7. Leadership and Participation in NASA's Explorer-Class Missions

8. How can we STEM the tide of women graduates leaving science?

9. Beautiful (and free) posters celebrating women in science

10. Women miss out on high-profile awards and positions

11. Jeffrey Epstein Infiltrated Science Because It Was Ready To Accommodate Him

12. Why MIT’s Epstein Problem Is ‘Clearly a Women’s Issue’

13. 'Get Used to it' — The Women Who Broke Through Apollo's Glass Ceiling

14. How Do You Tell Colombian Kids A Science Yarn? With Crochet!

15. Job Opportunities

16. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

17. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

18. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Crosspost: How The First Woman in Climate Science Beat One of Its Founders to a Major Finding

By Carly Cassela via ScienceAlert

This September, as the world takes a stand on climate change like never before, let's spare a thought for those who helped set the stage. The history of climate science stretches back nearly two hundred years, and in all that time, few women have been memorialised in the discipline.

Just ten years ago, Eunice Foote was a name and face all but forgotten, but in 2019, on her 200th birthday, a handful of scientists are determined to keep her memory alive.


235th AAS Meeting Carbon Offsets

Learn more about how you can contribute up to $100 towards the purchase of carbon offsets to offset your travel to the 235th AAS Meeting in Hawaii in January here

Simply select 'Contribute up to $100 to the purchase of carbon offsets' when you register for additional events.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

AAS Board Reflections: James Lowenthal

In order to familiarize the astronomy community with the AAS Board and encourage participation, the CSWA created a Reflection Survey for outgoing AAS Board members to complete after their terms ended in June. Over the coming weeks, we will feature the responses we've received on the Women in Astronomy blog. Enjoy!

James Lowenthal is Mary Elizabeth Moses Professor and Chair of Astronomy at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He received his BS in Physics and Astronomy from Yale in 1986 and his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Arizona in 1991. He did postdoctoral work at the Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and as a Hubble Fellow at the University of California Santa Cruz. He studies the formation and evolution of galaxies, especially actively star-forming galaxies at high redshift, seen as they were when the Universe was less than 10% its current age. He uses Hubble Space Telescope, the Keck telescopes in Hawaii, and the Gemini telescopes in Chile and Hawaii. Through the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is a member of the graduate faculty, he also uses the 50-meter Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico. He supervises Smith College undergraduate students in an ongoing exoplanet transit observing program using Smith’s own roof-top 16-inch telescope. He served as Vice President of the American Astronomical Society from 2016-2019 and serves on the AAS Sustainability Committee and the AAS Committee on Light Pollution, Radio Interference, and Space Debris. Lowenthal is active locally, nationally, and internationally in the movement to fight light pollution and protect the naturally dark night sky. He also works to promote education and action to stop climate change. He began his career as an amateur astronomer in New York City and rural Connecticut, grinding the mirror for his Newtonian 6-inch f/8 reflecting telescope at the Hayden Planetarium in the 1970’s. 40 years later, he still uses that telescope in his backyard in Northampton.

Name: James Lowenthal
Current Position: Mary Elizabeth Moses Professor and Chair, Department of Astronomy, Smith College
Degree, Year, Institution: PhD in Astronomy, 1991, University of Arizona
AAS Board office, term: Vice President, 2016-2019

Why did you choose to serve on the AAS Board?

Serving on the AAS Board is very interesting and rewarding. It’s not like lots of other academic committees, where members are serving because they have to; instead, everyone on the AAS Board truly wants to be there and to help the astronomical community. It’s a very committed, passionate, and competent bunch, and even though there are frequent disagreements over this policy or that, there is lots of mutual respect.

What was one (or more!) Board accomplishment(s) that you are proud of/excited about from your time in office?

  • I’m proud that we VPs, who organize the scientific content of the AAS meetings, continued to diversify those meetings, to the point where the plenary speakers at the Seattle meeting in January 2019 were more than 1/2 women, and of those, 3 were people of color. I also initiated a process to solicit nominations for plenary speakers from the AAS membership, to expand and diversify the pool further.
  • I did my best to keep two issues in front of the Board: climate change, and light pollution. Astronomers are in an important position to address both, and both affect all of us. I’m glad that the Board passed a statement calling for increased efforts to fight light pollution, and that the chair of the Sustainability Committee, which I founded as a Councilor in 2010, is now a member of the Strategic Assembly.
  • I worked hard to improve communication among the three VPs and to rationalize the process of planning the meetings, which is quite complicated. There was large turnover in the AAS meetings staff over the last few years, and good communication is always a challenge as well as a key component of success. Fortunately, the other VPs and the AAS staff were always fantastic: very professional, hard-working, good attitudes.

What was one (or more!) important thing(s) you saw come from the diversity committees during your term?

The revised Code of Ethics. This is an important document and set of policies, and the discussion at the Board level was always very serious and detailed and passionate.

Is there an initiative (or initiatives!) you hope that the AAS pursues or continues to pursue in the future?

Quickly assess the impact on astronomy of large constellations of low-earth satellites. If the impact is as large as now appears likely, the AAS should play a key role in raising public awareness and pushing for national and international dialog and regulation. But soon!

What advice do you have for continuing and incoming AAS Board members?

Sign up for the committees you care about most. Don’t rush to judgment, especially on emotionally-charged topics. Do speak up when you feel strongly about something.

What suggestions do you have for people who are considering serving on the AAS Board in the future?

Do it! It’s time very well spent both personally and professionally. You will be joining an illustrious list of past Council and Board members including most of the famous astronomers you know.