Thursday, February 11, 2016

#AstroSH

Years ago, when I was a graduate student, I saw a professor in the astronomy department behave lecherously toward an undergraduate woman. I soon learned that the professor had a reputation for groping, kissing and talking about sex with female students. People had attempted to confront him directly and to report him to the department without success. The professor’s abuse followed a specific pattern: First he would claim that he had no idea his actions were inappropriate or unwanted. He would vow never to do it again. And then he would repeat the exact same behavior with a new, unsuspecting student.

I asked a woman on the faculty for advice. She warned me that I didn’t want to get a reputation for being “overly sensitive” or “difficult.”

“If you report him, you could ruin his career,” she said. 
“Do you really want that on your conscience?”

The message was clear: My discomfort didn’t matter. Reporting the professor would be fruitless and only hurt my reputation. If by some miracle he did face consequences for sexual harassment, I ought to feel guilty. His bad behavior was my problem.

Friday, February 5, 2016

AASWOMEN Newsletter for February 5, 2016

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of February 5, 2016
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. Student Highlight: Moiya McTier    
2. Career Profiles: Spectroscopist to Technology Solutions Scientist to Astronomy Professor
3. The Status of Mental Health in Planetary Science
4. If Male Scientists Were Written About Like Female Scientists    
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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Student Highlight: Moiya McTier

Cross-posted, with permission from Astronomy in Color


Moiya McTier (Harvard '16)
Recipient of the 2016 Chambliss Award
Biography 

Meet Moiya McTier, recipient of the 2016 Chambliss Student Achievement Award. This award is granted every year by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) to recognize exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students. Moiya is currently a senior at Harvard University. She won this award for her work on determining exoplanet habitability using orbital eccentricity. She conducted this research last summer, when she was a member of the Harvard Banneker Institute.  This work ties directly to her senior thesis, a science fiction novel set on the planet she studied, which she eventually hopes to get published.  After graduation, Moiya plans to get her PhD in astrophysics and, if she still has any energy left, a master’s degree in medieval European folklore.

This interview is the first of a series of posts on the Astronomy In Color blog dedicated to recognizing achievements by outstanding astronomers of color. Feel free to contact Jorge Moreno (jorgemoreno AT cpp.edu) if you know any other person of color in astronomy who has recently won an award or made any other accomplishment.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Career Profiles: Spectroscopist to Technology Solutions Scientist to Astronomy Professor

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 Jessica Sunshine, a spectroscopist turned industry scientist turned astronomy professor. After receiving her PhD in geological sciences, she chose to enter industry in the technology solutions sector and later returned to academia as a professor.  She describes some of the differences between in working environment between the technology and academic sectors.  If you have questions, suggestions, advice to share, etc. about this career path, please leave a comment below.

For access to all our Career Profile Project interviews, please visit http://aas.org/jobs/career-profiles. We plan to post a new career profile to this blog every Thursday.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Guest Post from Hannah Wakeford: Writing My PhD Thesis

This guest post from Dr. Hannah Wakeford is a re-posting of her original blog piece, found at the Stellar Planet blog site: http://www.stellarplanet.co.uk/2015/03/writing-my-phd-thesis.html
Handing in my PhD thesis to the University of Exeter.
About Hannah Wakeford: Dr. Hannah R. Wakeford currently works at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow. Hannah is working with Dr. Avi Mandell in the Planetary Systems lab (693) characterizing the atmospheres of exoplanets through observations with HST, and working towards a better understanding of how exoplanets can be understood further with JWST. In 2015 Hannah received her PhD in Physics from the University of Exeter, where she worked with Dr. David Sing on Exoplanet characterization. While at Exeter, Hannah was also the producer and host of The Science Hour on XpressionFM, IOP 3 minute wonder national winner, Co-creator of Top Female Scientist Card Game, producer and presenter of H&M Astro Video Log, BSAC scuba diving instructor, and eater of pastries (except during lent). You can follow Hannah on Twitter (@StellarPlanet).
Over the years I have found that saying you are doing a PhD can be taken one of two ways by people; 'that sounds fancy you must be a genius or something' or simply 'why?'. The former are never trying to put you on a pedestal, and the later are not trying to get you on the defensive, but the dichotomy is sometimes difficult to deal with.