Friday, September 30, 2016

AASWomen Newsletter for September 30, 2016

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of September 30, 2016
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Elysse Voyer, Heather Flewelling, Cristina Thomas, and Maria Patterson

This week's issues:


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From: Stuart Vogel via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

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. The interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on those paths.

Below is our interview with Dr. Ann Martin, an astronomer who left astronomy to become a STEM program evaluator working with NASA.  While a PhD student at Cornell, she recognized her interest in outreach and education and developed her experience in these areas with the support of her PhD advisor, Professor Martha Haynes and Ricardo Giovanelli.  After receiving her PhD, Dr. Martin became the first NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow funded through the NASA Office of Education at Langley Research Center. She now works for a mid-sized government contractor as an evaluator supporting NASA-funded Earth science education programs, working with STEM educators who bring NASA data into classrooms, and encouraging students to think like scientists.

Read more at:


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From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

NASA and rocker Grace Potter have collaborated on a video aimed at inspiring girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. "Look What We've Become" highlights the work of female scientists and astronauts at NASA.

Read more about the collaboration and see the video at


and at


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From: Cristina Thomas [cthomas_at_psi.edu]

"L'Oréal USA today announced the five recipients of the 2016 For Women in Science Fellowship, which awards $60,000 grants to exemplary female scientists to advance their postdoctoral research. Over the last 13 years, L'Oréal USA's For Women in Science fellowship program has awarded 65 postdoctoral women scientists over $3 million in grants at this critical stage of their career."

Read more at:


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From: John Mather [johncm12_at_gmail.com]

by Maria Popova

"“No woman should say, ‘I am but a woman!’ But a woman! What more can you ask to be?”astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in American science, admonished the first class of female astronomers at Vassar in 1876. By the middle of the next century, a team of unheralded women scientists and engineers were powering space exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Meanwhile, across the continent and in what was practically another country, a parallel but very different revolution was taking place: In the segregated South, a growing number of black female mathematicians, scientists, and engineers were steering early space exploration and helping American win the Cold War at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia."

Read more at:


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From: Elysse Voyer [elysse.voyer_at_gmail.com]

by Thomas Leveson

"Last week, the Royal Society held its ceremony to honor the best popular-science book of the year.  I was there, having had the good fortune to be one of the finalists for my recent book, The Hunt for Vulcan.  I didn’t expect to win—partly because of my baseline pessimism, partly because of the strength of the competition, and partly because I had set out to write a kind of miniature, a brief book on a quirky topic.  Whatever the reason, I was right: I didn’t.

The event itself was good fun.  Each of the authors read a passage from their work; the head judge for the prize, author Bill Bryson, led us in a brief question-and-answer session, in which we compared notes on what moved us to write about science. Then came the moment of truth.  Venkatramen Ramakrishnan, the president of the Royal Society, approached the podium, opened the envelope, and announced that Andrea Wulf had won for The Invention of Nature."

Read more at:


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From: Cristina Thomas [cthomas_at_psi.edu]

by Nick Statt

"Melinda Gates is taking time from her philanthropic work to build out a personal team dedicated to helping increase the number of women in technology-related jobs. Gates, who co-chairs the world’s largest philanthropic foundation with her husband and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, says the issue is close to her heart. She graduated from Duke University in 1987 with a degree in computer science (as well as an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in economics) and joined Microsoft shortly thereafter, where she worked for more than a decade."

Read more at:


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

-Astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

-Scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

-Archive Scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

-Archive Analyst, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

-Postdoctoral Research Associate, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

-Assistant Professor of Theoretical Physics, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

-Assistant/Associate Scientist, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA

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Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.