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