AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of August 4, 2006
eds. Patricia Knezek, Jim Ulvestad, & Joan Schmelz

This week's issues:

1. UK Resource Centre for Women in Science Engineering and Technology

2. Woman seeking advice re astronomy as a second career

3. Top 10 Ways to be a Better Advisor for Graduate Students

4. "The Women Are Busy, Too" article in The Chronicle for Higher Education

5. Mentors Needed

6. Postdoctoral or Research Fellow-Supernovae & Gamma Ray Bursts, ANU

7. Optical Engineer, NSO

8. How to submit, subscribe, or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

1. UK Resource Centre for Women in Science Engineering and Technology
From: Sarah Stevens-Rayburn (librarystsci.edu)

[Eds. note:  This site is temporarily unavailable due to essential 
maintenance.  Hopefully is will be back on-line soon.]

I don't think I've seen this resource listed yet and tho' it's not really 
astronomy-related, it looks like an interesting site:

*UK Resource Centre for Women in Science Engineering and Technology* 

This is the official website funded by the Department of Trade and Industry as 
part of their Strategy for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET)


2. Woman seeking advice re astronomy as a second career
From: Heidi B. Hammel (hbhammelgmail.com)

A woman who volunteers at a local small observatory is interested in pursuing 
a second career in astronomy or an astronomy-related job as (physics or math 
or chemistry); she currently works in a completely different field. A 
challenge is that she lives in rural Connecticut. I have already talked to her 
about first completing an undergraduate degree (perhaps at a small nearby 
university), and trying to take advantage of REU programs to build practical 
experience.  I also have given her the AAS booklet about careers in astronomy, 
and pointed her to various career websites.

She is seeking advice from women who have actually DONE this switch in their 
forties or beyond.  Topics of interest might include: how did they do it; any 
tips on strategies that helped; how long did it take (can she find something 
sooner rather than waiting taking 10 years to finish an undergraduate degree); 
any gotchas to watch for; creative ideas for astronomy-related work.  Any 
feedback for her on these issues?

She is also seeking advice about grants and programs that provide financial 
assistance for college for second-career women.  Most of the resources I've 
seen are for women who have "interrupted" their careers, not for those who 
are just beginning a career.  Any ideas on this?

Please send comments to Amy directly at amyzifferearthlink.net with a 
cc to me at hbhalum.mit.edu.  If there is interest, I can synthesize the 
responses into a single resource document (perhaps to print in the Status 
Newslettter, for example).  Thanks!

3. Top 10 Ways to be a Better Advisor for Graduate Students
From: Joan Schmelz (jschmelzmemphis.edu)

How do we learn to be a good advisor? Our grad students don't come with
an instruction manual, but perhaps they should! Sometimes we learn to be
a bad advisor because we had a bad advisor. Sometimes we expect our
students to know everything we do. Sometimes we make the same mistakes
over and over again.

A recent discussion at the CfA Women in Astronomy group led to a Top 10
list of how to be a better advisor. Special thanks to Kelly Korreck,
Andrea Dupree, Saku Vrtilek, Lisa Kaltenegger, Stephanie Bush, and Lynn
Matthews for feedback. 

Please feel free to post this list on bulletin boards and web sites. You
can make copies and put it in department mail boxes. If you're a grad
student, make sure your advisor has a copy. If you're an advisor, make
sure you follow *all* the rules, not just the ones you're good at! Also,
we would like this list to evolve and improve, so please send comments
and suggestions.

Top 10 Ways to be a Better Advisor for Graduate Students

Joan Schmelz
Professor of Physics
University of Memphis

1. Try to see each student as an individual; they will all have
different backgrounds, talents, and goals. Do not expect them to be
'just like you' or like people you work with. It is crucial to realize
just how important their work with you will be to their career.

2. You are responsible for guiding your students' research: helping them
to select a topic, write a research proposal, perform the research,
evaluate it critically, and write the dissertation. Set up a weekly
meeting with your thesis advisee to give *constructive* (not personal;
not necessarily positive) feedback on research work.

3. Identify student's strengths and build on them; identify weaknesses
and help students overcome them.

4. Students need to know what to expect; these expectations will change
as the student gets closer to graduation, but some important
considerations include coursework, degree requirements, funding,
comprehensive exam, thesis, etc.

5. For new students: help them set up their class schedule for each
semester so they fulfill their requirements for (a) graduation and (b)
the comprehensive exam in a timely fashion. Help students find the right
balance between coursework and RA/TA duties.

6. Take your students to conferences and introduce them to your
colleagues. Do not assume that they know how to network; they will need
your help to develop this vital skill.

7. Encourage your students to present posters at a conference starting
from their first year.  Make them rehearse until they are comfortable
with the material and the background. Ask them *why* they did this work.
Ask them questions that you know they might be asked. Bring colleagues
over to their poster and introduce them. Then stand back and let them do
the presentation; step in only if they need you.

8. Your students rely on you for financial support: RAs and TAs, but you
can also help them to find fellowships and summer positions.

9. Your job continues as graduation approaches: help them to find and
apply for postdoctoral positions, faculty positions, and/or jobs in
industry. They will need letters of reference. Have the student write ~3
bullets with short paragraphs explaining their work and its importance.
Use this information in your letter. Do *not* include personal
descriptions like 'she's cute.' Do not send a generic letter that you
use for all students who ask for references.

10. It is *never* appropriate to develop an intimate relationship with
one of your students. If this should happen, you must not continue to
advise that student (whether the relationship continues or not).

4. "The Women Are Busy, Too" article in The Chronicle for Higher Education
From: Sarah Stevens-Rayburn (librarystsci.edu)

[Eds. note: The Chronicle of Higher Education makes its articles available
for free for five days (until August 6, 2006 in this case), and it is then
are available on-line only to subscribers.]

You'll probably get this story from everyone who subscribes, but just in 
case, I think it's an important/appalling story.



This article, "The Women Are Busy, Too" is available online at this address:


This article will be available to non-subscribers of The Chronicle for up to 
five days after it is e-mailed.

The article is always available to Chronicle subscribers at this address:


5. Mentors Needed
From: WIPHYS of August 3, 2006

MentorNet is in urgent need of more tenured faculty mentors for our Academic 
Career E-Mentoring Program.  We have over 100 prospective proteges waiting 
for mentors.  

A pdf document describing the need for tenured faculty mentors can be 
downloaded at www.mentornet.net/Documents/Files/ACE_brochure.pdf.  For other 
outreach ideas and materials, see 

MentorNet, the E-Mentoring Network for Diversity in Engineering and Science
tel: 408.296.4405
fax: 408.296.4404

1275 S. Winchester Blvd., Suite E
San Jose, CA 95128-3910

6. Postdoctoral or Research Fellow-Supernovae & Gamma Ray Bursts, ANU
From: Rebecca Noble (Rebecca.Nobleanu.edu.au)


Postdoctoral or Research Fellow-Supernovae & Gamma Ray Bursts

Academic Level A or B

Fixed Term - 2 years 

Salary Range: $AUD56,035- $AUD74,313pa plus generous 17% super and relocation 

Reference:  RSAA2999

The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National 
University invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow or Research Fellow 
to work on supernovae and gamma ray bursts.

The successful candidate will work with Prof Brian Schmidt and Dr Bruce 
Peterson on a program to understand the physics of supernovae and gamma ray 
bursts, and using them as cosmological probes. Work will take place on 
independent projects, as well as within the Essence Project (which is using 
SN Ia to measure the equation of state of Dark Energy), the REACT GRB network, 
and using SkyMapper to undertake a large supernova search. 

The candidate should possess a PhD in astronomy or a related field and have 
expertise in one or more of the following areas: Optical/IR photometry and 
spectroscopy, supernova and gamma ray burst observations, supernova physics, 
observational cosmology. It is preferable for the position to be taken up as 
soon as possible, but no later than 31 December 2006.

Appointment:  2 years fixed term at Postdoctoral or Research Fellow level, 
depending on level of qualifications and experience. 

Selection Criteria: must be obtained prior to application and may be obtained 
from: http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/jobs/academic/ 
or from: academic.services.rsaaanu.edu.au

Enquiries: Prof Brian Schmidt, E: brianmso.anu.edu.au

Closing Date: 31 August 2006

Information for applicants: 

Job Application Cover sheet: 

7. Optical Engineer, NSO
From: Patricia Knezek (knezeknoao.edu)

Job Title: Optical Engineer
Job No. 800
The National Solar Observatory has an immediate opening for an Optical 
Engineer to participate in the design and construction of the Advanced 
Technology Solar Telescope.  The successful applicant will have a degree in 
optics, preferably a masters or Ph.D., or equivalent experience, and excellent 
formal analytical and mathematical capabilities.  Preference will be given to 
applicants with prior experience designing and modeling the performance of 
astronomical telescopes and wavefront control systems. This could include 
optical design (especially of off-axis systems), stray light analysis, 
component tolerancing, wave propagation, adaptive optics, and other 
performance-modeling tasks. Experience with ZEMAX or similar optical-design 
software is required. Familiarity with analysis codes such as MATLAB or IDL is 
a plus.
Further information about the project is available at http://atst.nso.edu/.
Applicants should send an electronic resume (preferred) by August 8, 2006 with 
the names of at least three references.
NOAO offers an excellent compensation package including vacation, 
comprehensive insurance and retirement benefits, and competitive salary.
Please apply electronically to:  hrnoaonoao.edu (preferred) or mail to the 
address given below.
Make reference to the Job Title & Job Number when applying.

Send resume to:
Human Resources Office
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
P.O. Box 26732
Tucson, Arizona 85726-6732
Email: hrnoaonoao.edu
FAX: 520-318-8494

NOAO and NSO are affirmative action and equal employment opportunity employers.
Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono 
O'Odham reservation.

NOAO and NSO foster a diverse research environment. Women and candidates from 
under represented minorities are particularly encouraged to apply.

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