Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 09:35:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CSWA Newsletter of 3/1/2000

            AAS Committee on the Status of Women
    weekly issues of  3/ 1/2000, ed. by Priscilla Benson
***  send email and addresses to  ***

This week's issues:
1.  Contributions to Status
2.  The Annie Jump Cannon Award
3.  Undergraduate Advising

1. Contributions to Status
From: (Lisa Frattare)

STATUS Newsletter- June 2000

We are soliciting new contributions for the feature "Notes  
from a Life" for the June issue of STATUS. These are short  
episodes that capture in small ways the daily influence of  
gender in science. These vignettes were highlighted in a  
recent NYTimes article on women in astronomy (see
astronomy-women.html), so they are obviously having an 
Since "Notes" premiered in the June 1999 STATUS, we have  
received a number of contributions from readers (thank 
you!). If you too have experiences to share and want to make 
a positive impact, please e-mail them to or  Publication is anonymous but 
submissions should be signed so that the editors can vouch 
for their validity. Examples of previous Notes can be found 
in back issues of STATUS, online at Other contributions to STATUS 
(e.g., biographies of women scientists, statistics, or other 
articles) are also welcome at any time.

Finally, we have a few extra copies of the January 2000 
STATUS. If you would like a hard copy or a few copies for 
your home institution please contact 
(Note: the issue is on-line at the above "aas" url). If you 
are an AAS member and have not yet subscribed to STATUS, 
please do so by sending your mail addressto

2. The Annie Jump Cannon Award

In answer to the paragraphs in the just received CSW 
electronic newsletter, the Annie J. Cannon Award has not 
been an AAS award since 1974. The Award now is property of 
the American Association of University women (AAUW) [please 
see the AAS website at].  The AAS provides 
advice to the AAUW, primarily in providing on an annual 
basis, a committee which reviews the 
applications/nominations which the AAUW receives in response 
to its annual call for applications/nominations.  Beyond 
that, the AAS has no role, although from time to time 
Council, through my office, is asked for advice.

        Insofar as prize talks at AAS meetings are 
concerned, the AAS has no obligations to provide slots for 
talks to anyone other than its own prize, award, and Invited 
Talks, and its Divisions', prize and award winners. Indeed, 
the number of available slots are few enough in number that 
it sometimes has been, and is increasingly becoming more  
difficult, to accommodate those prize and award winners 
which are supposed to give talks. Not all recipients are 
expected to give talks; it depends in part upon the rules 
and guidelines for each prize and award.

        I hope that the above words are of use.  Please 
write or call if I may be of additional help.

The Executive Office staff went through the last ten years 
of invited speakers, versus the last eleven Cannon Prize 
winners (1989-1999), and found:

Four were invited speakers at AAS meetings:

Hewitt (1989) spoke in 1991
Luu (1991) spoke in 1992
Ghez (1994) spoke in 1995, and again with the Pierce Prize 
in 1998
Kaspi (1998) spoke in 1999

        So, the situation is better than I thought.... it's 
worthwhile, though, making us all reflect on what goes on, 
or maybe doesn't.

Arlo U. Landolt                  Phone:(225) 388-1160
Physics & Astronomy           Fax:  (225) 334-1098
Louisiana State University    E-mail:
Baton Rouge, La 70803-4001

3. Undergraduate Advising
From: Margaret Hanson

In graduate school, I felt many of the graduate students 
were there simply because they didn't know what else to do.  
As Kirsten Larson pointed out (02/23/00), "I had never been 
given the option of anything BUT graduate school." This was 
true for me, too, though I had worked an industry job for 
several years in my 20s.  Lucky for me, academia was what I 
wanted to do.  However, I think several of the other 
students would have been better off not going to graduate 
school.   The "bitter attitude" Kirsten describes can run 
rampant in some grad programs, as people realize what's 
expected of them, and the sacrifices they must make---
particularly when they realize how competitive the jobs are 
in the end.   Typical academics don't know about other 
options, having not taken those paths them- selves.  But 
there is another more nagging problem.  There can be a lot 
of stigma placed on students not continuing in physics.   
While there is a feeling of pride among the department when 
physics majors go on to graduate school, they tend to have a 
rather defeatist attitude, "better luck with the next 
student", when one does not continue into graduate studies.  
It is frequently presumed that the student couldn't get in 
to graduate school and might now be seen as less successful.   
Students sense this in their discussions with professors and 
advisors.   Students claiming to pursue graduate school 
might more readily be given research opportunities in the 
department, for instance.

Many of you may be saying, "We went to graduate school. We 
know this."  Well now is the time to maybe do something 
about it.

I advise our majors and Society of Physics Students.  I try 
hard not to let any prejudiced comments or ideas seep into 
my discussion of post-graduate plans.  I talk equally about 
the great opportunities that exist in industry in a booming 
economy.  Quite a number of students have contacted me by 
email about an 'industry connections list' I helped obtain 
from the engineering dept, and recently posted.  Engineering 
places hundreds of students each year, and think nothing of 
a few physics students applying to similar companies. Anne 
Turner's FAQ on industry is fantastic to suggest to 
( students 
having trouble visualizing the transition.  I encourage all 
of you who have not already done so, to line up contacts and 
information on industry and other fields for your under- 
graduates, and make these as abundantly available to your 
students as all the graduate school posters lining the walls 
of your local SPS chapter's meeting room.  Finally, make 
sure students choosing alternative paths know they are 
successes in your program and honor and respect them equally 
with those planning to go on to graduate school.  This 
stigma is particularly hard to get past at Research I 
universities such as Cincinnati. I know I do not have full 
agreement from my colleagues, but I also know its the right 
thing to do (and its one of the reasons I asked to be 
adviser to the undergraduate majors).

Margaret M. Hanson, Assistant Professor of Physics
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0011

End of CSWA Newsletter of 3/1/2000