Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Meet Your CSWA: Sukanya Chakrabarti

Sukanya got her Ph.d. from UC Berkeley, held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard and UC Berkeley, and is currently faculty at RIT.  She works broadly on a number of areas from galactic dynamics to time-domain astronomy.

How did you end up working in the field?

I started out in Math in undergrad and moved into Physics when I was encouraged to do so by my undergrad advisor at NC State (with whom I did my first research project in general relativity), and I later moved into astronomy when I started my Ph.D. at Berkeley. 

Who inspired you?

Marie Curie 

What is your job title?

Associate Professor at RIT 

What community issues are important to you and why?

I am interested in supporting underrepresented groups in STEM at various stages in their careers.  

What do you do for fun?

Spend time with my ~4 yr old daughter (and occasionally do karate when time allows) 

What are your goals as a part of the CSWA?

One of my main goals is to analyze the demographics of hiring, recruitment, and retention, paying attention to the impact on individuals at the intersections of multiple identities.  

If you weren’t in the field of astronomy, what would you be doing?

Probably neuroscience 

What changes would you like to see for women in astronomy?

I would like to see more progress in academia for people of color, as they are particularly under-represented and often suffer from bullying that goes unreported or unacknowledged even when it is reported.  I would also like to see universities fully respect maternity leave, and not penalize women who choose to take maternity leave (i.e., assigning teaching overloads when women take maternity leave to “catch up” women returning from maternity leave). 

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