Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New study highlights ‘hidden figure’ of sun-watchers

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has issued a press release about a study of the life of Hisako Koyama.   Although few have heard of her, she was a dedicated female solar observer.  She was born in Tokyo in 1916, and created one of the most important sunspot records of the past 400 years, according to new research.  For the complete press release and a link to the study itself, go to:

http://news.agu.org/press-release/new-study-highlights-hidden-figure-of-sun-watchers/ 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

AAS President's response to Charlottesville and letter to Congress about DACA

The AAS President, Christine Jones, has issued a statement in response to the events in Charlottesville.  That statement can be found here:

https://aas.org/posts/news/2017/08/message-aas-president-charlottesville 

She has also sent a letter to Congressional Leadership about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  You can read the letter here:

https://aas.org/posts/letter/2017/09/letter-congressional-leadership-aas-president-daca

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cross post: Mental Illness/Wellness and Your Career

Today we re-post "Mental Illness/Wellness and Your Career – LPSC WiPS Event Summary 2017" from the Women in Planetary Sciences blog.  It appeared on June 6, 2017, and summarizes a presentation by Holly Doggett, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at the the 9th Annual LPSC Women in Planetary Science Susan Niebur Networking Event, and notes from the subsequent questions and discussions.  


Contributed by Nicolle Zellner, Mallory Kinczyk, and Lillian Ostrach
In March, the 9th Annual LPSC Women in Planetary Science Susan Niebur Networking Event was held. Holly Doggett, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Texas spoke to us about mental illness/wellness and its effect on careers. One in five American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year, and across the population, one in every 25 adults is living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or long-term recurring major depression. During her presentation, Holly told anecdotes and suggested coping strategies for instances when we might be affected by changes to our mental wellness.

Friday, September 22, 2017

AASWomen Newsletter for September 22, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of September 22, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. A Letter to Congressional Leadership from AAS President on DACA
2. Two Surveys: Women in STEM
3. Regional Undergraduate APS Meeting at Kansas University 
4. AGU's Board Approves an Updated Ethics Policy           
5. Job Opportunities   
6. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
8. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

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1. A Letter to Congressional Leadership from AAS President on DACA
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

AAS President Christine Jones, in consultation with the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy and the Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy, sent a letter about DACA to Congressional leadership.

Read the AAS press release and letter at


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2. Two Surveys: Women in STEM  
From: Laura McCullough [lauramccphd_at_gmail.com]

I am currently doing research involving two surveys about women in STEM. I’d like as many people as possible to see this because the populations I’m looking for are unique. One survey will assess the experience of women in STEM who also have been leaders: barriers, support, path, etc. The other survey will update the work (http://www.physics.wm.edu/dualcareer.html) by McNeil and Sher (1999) on couples who are both scientists.

To participate in research on women in STEM with leadership experience, please go to the anonymous link at: 


To participate in research on dual-science-career couples, please go to the anonymous link at: 


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3. Regional Undergraduate APS Meeting at Kansas University
From: Greg Rudnick [grudnick_at_ku.edu]

On the weekend of January 12-14, 2018, the University of Kansas Department of Physics and Astronomy will host a regional American Physical Society (APS) CUWiP meeting for undergraduate physics and astronomy majors in the central region of the United States. Our region includes Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The APS CUWiP is a series of regional conferences held simultaneously around the United States for undergraduate women interested in physics and astronomy. The goal of this conference series is to encourage undergraduate women to pursue a career in physics or astronomy by giving them the experience of a professional conference. This includes networking with women in physics of all ages and professional levels, plenary talks by prominent women in physics, and panel discussions providing information about graduate school and career opportunities in physics.  

More information can be found at 


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4. AGU's Board Approves an Updated Ethics Policy
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

The American Geophysical Union’s Ethics Task Force spent over a year developing a new ethics policy. “This policy takes a much stronger stance against harassment by including it in the definition of research misconduct and expanding its application to AGU members, staff, volunteers, and non-members participating in AGU-sponsored programs and activities including AGU Honors and Awards, and governance.”

Read the press release at


Read the policy at


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5. Job Opportunities

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

- Tenure Track Assistant Professor, University of Kansas

- Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics,  California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

- Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Observational Astrophysics, University of Bath

- Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Bath

- Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Emergent Phenomena/Theoretical Soft-Matter or Statistical Physics, University of Bath

- Education and Diversity Programs Manager, American Physical Society

- Research Associate in Theory/Numerical Simulation of Optical Frequency Combs, University of Bath

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6. 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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7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email: 

Send email to aaswlist+subscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have subscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like. 

Be sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email. (Just reply back to the email list) 

To unsubscribe by email: 

Send email to aaswlist+unsubscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have UNsubscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like. 

To join or leave AASWomen via web, or change your membership settings: 


You will have to create a Google Account if you do not already have one, using https://accounts.google.com/newaccount?hl=en  

Google Groups Subscribe Help: 


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8. Access to Past Issues

  
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Power of Stories


I have never been a story teller. I’ve never developed the flair, pacing, and audience connections needed to tell a good story. So when I attended the “Women in Business – Transitioning to Leadership” workshop at the University of North Carolina’s (UNC)Kenan-Flagler Business School in May, I wasn’t expecting to tell a story. Dr. Heidi Schultz, Clinical Professor of Management and Corporate Communication at UNC and the facilitator of our Wednesday afternoon session, told us that the story a speaker tells is often the only thing an audience remembers! Once I heard that, I realized that I wanted to know more about the power of stories.

In her article for Forbes Magazine, How To Tell A Good Story, contributor Kristi Hedges shares the reasons why most people don’t consider themselves good storytellers.
  • I never think of it
  • I tend to ramble and lose the point
  • I have a hard time gauging interest
  • I am never sure how much detail to use
  • I don’t have good stories to share


Friday, September 1, 2017

AASWomen Newsletter for September 1, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of September 1, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. AWIS webinars open to AAS members          
2. New partnership with Canada to support early-career women scientists in the developing world
3. Lonely at the top for women scientists
4. The Universe Needs You: To Help in the Hunt for Planet 9
5. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
6. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
7. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Career Profiles: Astrophysicist/Planetary Scientist to Program Officer: Dr. Melissa Morris

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the AAS Employment Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting the diversity of career trajectories available to astronomers, planetary scientists, etc. The interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on those paths.

Below is our interview with Melissa Morris, an astronomer and planetary scientist who is currently a NASA program officer contracted through Artic Slope Technical Services.

For access to all our Career Profile Project interviews, please visit http://aas.org/jobs/career-profiles. New Career Profiles are posted approximately every month.

Friday, August 4, 2017

AASWomen for August 4, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of August 4, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. Women in Leadership: Power
2. How Sexual Harassment And Bias Undermine Women’s Access To Scientific Careers
3. The Plan to End Science’s Sexist #Manel Problem
4. Study Tracks Gender Ratios at Conferences
5. Advice to the Young from Pioneering Astrophysicist Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Who Discovered the Composition of the Universe
6. Women Breaking Barriers: Career Advice from Leading Women in Business, Technology, and Beyond
7. Job Opportunities
8. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
10. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Women in Leadership: Power


I’ve had many bosses. Two were great, several were mediocre, and a few were simply awful. I can count one sexual harasser, one bully, and at least one liar. One taught me the difference between leadership and management. None taught me about power. So when I attended the “Women in Business – Transitioning to Leadership” workshop at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in May, I wasn’t expecting my ideas about power to change. When Dr. Mabel Miguel, Professor of Organizational Behavior at UNC and the facilitator of our Tuesday afternoon session asked us if we thought power was good or bad, the thing that came to mind was the old quote from Lord Acton, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I thought power was bad. Over the course of the next four hours, Dr. Miguel completely changed my mind. Not only is power not bad (what you do with it can be bad), but for me, “Power is good” became the single most important take-away of the workshop. Here are the objectives of the session:

• Help you understand power, politics, and influence in leadership and their role in organizations.
• Help you identify your power attitudes and sources.
• Discuss best approaches to influencing others and increase your ability to do so.
• Enable you to transfer the skills to your current job.

In our optional evening “after-sessions,” which took place in the bar or around the fire pit, members of my class agreed that the last bullet was an essential component of a successful session. We were here to learn, but this workshop was not just an academic exercise. We were here to become better managers and leaders. So what did the session offer me that was so personally “powerful?”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Career Profile: Astronomer and Group Lead: Dr. Van Dixon

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the AAS Employment Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting the diversity of career trajectories available to astronomers, planetary scientists, etc. The interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on those paths.


Below is our interview with Van Dixon, an astronomer who recently moved from instrument scientist to manager at STScI.

For access to all our Career Profile Project interviews, please visit http://aas.org/jobs/career-profiles. New Career Profiles are posted approximately every month.

Friday, July 21, 2017

AASWomen Newsletter for July 21, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 21, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Cristina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. Worse than it seems
2. Why your brain hates other people and how to make it think differently
3. Gender and Physics Day
4. Girls set AP Computer Science record…skyrocketing growth outpaces boys
5. Jocelyn Bell Burnell wins President's Medal of the Institute of Physics
6. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
8. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

AAS press release: New Survey Highlights Gender, Racial Harassment in Astronomy







Social scientists Kate Clancy (left) and Katherine Lee (left center) collaborated with space physicist/astrophysicist Erica Rodgers (right center) and planetary scientist Christina Richey (right) to conduct a study of workplace climate among planetary science and astronomy professionals. Credits: L. Brian Stauffer, Katherine Lee, Mark Heusinkveld & David Estrada LarraƱeta/Explora, respectively. 


Women of color working in astronomy and planetary science report more gender and racial harassment than any other group in the field, according to a new study revealing widespread harassment in these scientific disciplines.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Career Profile: Planetary Scientist: Dr. Kelsi Singer

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the AAS Employment Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting the diversity of career trajectories available to astronomers, planetary scientists, etc. The interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on those paths.

Photo credit: Rayna Tedford
Below is our interview with Dr. Kelsi Singer, a planetary scientist who is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Southwest Research Institute.

For access to all our Career Profile Project interviews, please visit http://aas.org/jobs/career-profiles. New Career Profiles are posted approximately every month.

Friday, June 30, 2017

AASWomen Newsletter for June 30, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of June 30, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. Women in Leadership: Networks         
2. Scholar Spotlight: Adrianna Perez
3. Astrobiology: Hunting aliens  
4. How science got women wrong
5. Job Opportunities
6. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
8. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Women in Leadership: Networks


 As you make the transition from scientist to manager, you may realize that the technical and mathematical skills that got you where you are won’t help as much as you advance. Although (when mixed with a bit of intuition and common sense) they may be sufficient at lower levels, like department chair, group lead, or principal investigator, these abilities alone will not be enough as you move to higher levels. Even though your undergrad and graduate curricula were packed full of requirements, you may reach a point when you lament that you never took a management course. Your success will depend less and less on the skills that made you a successful scientist and more and more on your human competencies. In a community that is dominated by introverts, this is a particularly troubling realization, and an individual with even mild extroverted tendencies has a natural advantage. There is a joke I heard while I was working in the Astronomy Division at NSF. Question: How do you tell if someone is an extrovert? Answer: When they pass you in the hall, they look at your shoes. It is sort of funny only because it is so true. I worked on the Math and Physical Sciences floor – the directorate that includes Math, Physics, Chemistry, Materials, and Astronomy. I can’t tell you the number of times I passed someone in the hall, and they looked down. I found I had to really focus on keeping eye contact and saying something simple like, “Good morning.” So imagine how an individual in this community of introverts feels when they learn that their career advancement now depends on the one thing they were never good at (and never had to be) - their ability to develop effective working relationships with key individuals.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

First Summary Blog post: Work-Life Balance

There are over 1000 blog posts on the women in astronomy blog! The summary blog posts are a series of posts that summarize some of the major topics covered in the women in astronomy blog. They are intended to be part summary of topics covered as well as to add some updated information on those topics. Please suggest other topics in the comments!

Sometimes the best work-life balance is to do both at the same time! One of my hobbies is to play with various aspects of 3D printing. I am demonstrating what my 3D printer can do at the annual Institute for Astronomy Open House
The first topic for the summary blog posts is on work-life balance. Why? Because it's Sunday, and I'm splitting my day between writing this blog post, preparing for an upcoming conference, and keeping the Pan-STARRS processing moving along.  Clearly, I need to work on my work-life balance.  Since I don't have kids, I'm primarily interested in how to make it so that I do more than just work.  For me, posts that discuss how to set boundaries, how to say no to things, and how to set a reasonable number of hours to work are what I consider 'work-life balance'. When writing this post, I discovered that the majority of the blog posts on work-life balance are geared towards balancing a family and a career. However, I caution it's not just the women (and men!) with children that want to manage work-life balance, this is something that probably all of us can work on. Making a workplace culture more flexible and family friendly helps everyone out.  


I did a search for 'work-life balance' on this blog, and came up with 174 matching entries.  I sifted through all of these, sorted and culled them, found updated links, and organized them into several categories. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Meet The CSWA: Cristina Thomas



In our newest series on the Women in Astronomy blog, we'd like to introduce our readers to the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy.  Cristina Thomas is a research scientist with the Planetary Science Institute. She received her undergraduate degree from Caltech and her Ph.D. from MIT. After graduating she had postdocs at Northern Arizona University and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia.

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

When I was young, Voyager completed its reconnaissance of the Solar System. I had this amazing book that was full of great pictures of all the planets and short descriptions of what we knew about them. I absolutely loved that book. I went looking for it a few years ago because it had been so incredibly influential to my life. I never found it, but I can remember so much about it.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

eAlliances : An Invitation to Join a Mutual Mentoring Network

This post was submitted as a guest post in preparation for the Women in Astronomy IV Meeting.

Have you ever felt isolated at a department meeting and thought “Maybe it’s just me, but…”? Perhaps you are the only woman faculty member in your department, or the only faculty woman of color at your institution or maybe the only astronomer within a neutron star radius (10 km).  Perhaps you have heard that networking and mentoring can help combat the isolation you feel, but how can you grow your own mentoring network? An NSF ADVANCE grant entitled “Mutual Mentoring to Combat Isolation in Physics” might help you do just that.

The first NSF-funded mutual mentoring group (2007-10). The five members were all full professors at liberal arts colleges. From left, Amy Graves of Swarthmore College, Barbara Whitten of Colorado College, Anne Cox of Eckerd College, Cindy Blaha of Carleton College, and Linda Fritz of Franklin & Marshall College.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Becoming Inclusive

Jessica Mink writes astronomical
software at the Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory



It's getting harder to decide whether to commit to conferences, what with the Texas Senate having passed SB6, the discriminatory bill about which I wrote in January. The possibility that the Speaker of the Texas House might be unable to stop its momentum delayed my registration for Women in Astronomy IV in Austin for a while, but I'll be there on a panel discussing our Inclusive Astronomy Recommendations. As a member of a class which seems to be under siege in much of the United(?) States, I have found that the best way to gain allies is to be an ally to as many groups as I can. Making astronomy more diverse and inclusive has become a major goal of my professional life.

In the other long-term activist part of my life, I have learned that if you want to make progress, there are three levels of work: 1) as an individual, 2) as part of a group with agreed-upon goals, and 3) inside the system. I don't mind meetings, so I tend to try to do all three. In addition to simply being my intersectional self, I've been working both within the American Astronomical Society as a member of both the Committee on the Status of Women (CSWA) and the Committee for Sexual orientation and Gender identity Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA), and outside, on the organizing committee for Inclusive Astronomy (IA).

A few months ago, I gave a presentation connecting our activities as a profession to better include LGBTQ+ astronomers to the National Organization of Lesbian and Gay Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) at their "Out to Innovate" conference, which this year was held conveniently near my home base of Boston. At that meeting, I learned that astronomy is ahead of other STEM disciplines in that we're trying to include not just one group excluded by gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, but to look at barriers which can affect any of them.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Leavitt Law Revisited

In November 2008, Harvard hosted a symposium to honor the 100th anniversary of Henrietta Leavitt's first presentation on her observations of the period-luminosity relationship seen in Cepheid stars. 

Just a few months later, the AAS Executive Council agreed that this important relation should now be designated as the “Leavitt Law" and  used widely.

I had never heard of this new phrasing until I read Dava Sobel's 2016 book The Glass Universe. I immediately changed my course and lecture notes to reflect this new language. Give credit where credit is due, is a good philosophy to have!

So, to my colleagues I suggest that summer is a great time to update your course and lab notes, worksheets, exams/quizzes, homework assignments, etc., replacing any phrasing related to "period-luminosity relationship" with "the Leavitt Law".  Even better, grab some images and information from the talks posted on the symposium website!

Friday, May 26, 2017

AASWomen Newsletter for May 26, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 26, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. Peer Review as a Lens Into Bias        
2. Is This How Discrimination Ends?
3. Scholarships for Women and Grants for Mothers Added to AAS Resource Page
4. How Women Mentors Make a Difference in Engineering
5. Pearl I. Young
6. Job Opportunities
7. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
9. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Peer Review as a Lens Into Bias

I have been working to incorporate themes of equity and inclusion into my physics classroom teaching. I’ve blogged about it a bit and some of you have kindly shared your ideas (see here, here, and here). 

In a recent upper-level Astrophysics course, I assigned students a term paper, and required that they participate in a double-blind peer review for their first drafts. (We used a tool called “Peerceptiv” because my University has integrated it into our learning management system, but there are many ways to include peer review in your curriculum.) I wasn’t originally intending this assignment to lead to a conversation about bias, but my students came to me with concerns about the “fairness” of the process: What if another student had a poor opinion of the topic they selected? What if their reviewers didn’t do a good job? Why were we doing it blind, so they didn’t know whose review to take more or less seriously, based on their experience of that student? How could they properly review the paper if they didn’t know who wrote it?

Friday, May 19, 2017

AASWomen Newsletter for May 19, 2017

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 19, 2017
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Christina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:

1. Women in Leadership: It’s Not Just About Confidence    
2. Astronomers Elected to National Academy of Sciences
3. Childcare Opportunity at MetSoc
4. Caltech Students Protest Return of Professor From Suspension
5. Five Ways to Move Beyond the March: A Guide for Scientists Seeking Strong, Inclusive Science
6. We Recorded VCs’ Conversations and Analyzed How Differently They Talk About Female Entrepreneurs
7. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
9. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter