AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of January 11 & 18, 2008 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Hannah Jang-Condell & Caroline Simpson 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1. Request for advice 
 
2. The Smith Cloud 
 
3. Research Internship for Undergraduate Women 
 
4. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
5. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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1. Request for advice 
[Ed. note: the poster requested to remain anonymous.  Please send your  
response to aaswomenaas.org, and we will compile the replies.] 
 
 
The punchline: I need a polite but firm way of explaining to 
"red-state relatives" that I will not be giving up astronomy when 
I become a monther. 
 
 
So, I'm pregnant for the first time. My husband's family is on 
the whole really great and loving people.  They rarely leave 
their "red state world", however.  My husband's immediate family 
Gets It, they understand that neither I (nor my husband) will be 
quitting astronomy when we become parents.  The extended clan, 
however, I am less confident about. 
 
The clan wants to throw me a baby shower, for which I have to 
travel across the country and be there by myself.  Don't get me 
wrong, they want to do this as a nice, loving gesture.  And they 
really are all great people, as long as we don't talk about 
politics. But I'll have to face the group without the buffering 
influence of my husband. 
 
I greatly fear that the "redder" of the red state relatives will 
ask me point blank, or worse, just assume, that I will now be 
giving up this silly astronomy stuff, we'll be moving "back 
home" (my husband's from there, I'm not), I'll be finally taking 
my husband's last name, and getting down to the serious real 
life calling of making babies. 
 
To be honest, I am already stressed enough about how I really 
will, in practice, be both an astronomer and a mom. 
Fortunately, I am surrounded by great role models, in a great 
job. I know I'll find a way to make it work. 
 
But back to the party. I fear, if asked a leading question, I 
will burst into tears and run from the room.  Or, worse, I will 
do something that creates a family rift, such as standing up in 
front of these ~25 stay-at-home moms, screaming "I am more than 
my uterus", bursting into tears, and running from the room. 
 
So I need something pithy.  Polite but firm.  A sound bite, if 
you will.  Something respectful of their life choices, and of 
mine.  Something to convey that I will not be stopping "this 
stilly astronomy stuff" anytime soon.  And that I will be both a 
good astronomer and a good mother. 
 
Any suggestions? 
 
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2. The Smith Cloud 
From: Hannah Jang-Condell [hannahalum.mit.edu] 
 
This story comes to me by way of John Mather.  Forty years ago, a 
woman named Gail Smith discovered an interesting hydrogen cloud, but 
she left astronomy and her discovery was forgotten and not followed up 
until very recently, by Jay Lockman: 
 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18027001 
 
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3. Research Internship for Undergraduate Women 
From: WIPHYS January 17, 2008 
 
Information on the 2008 APS/IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women 
is now available!  These summer internships are salaried positions typically 
10 weeks long, and include in addition a $2,500 grant, plus the opportunity 
to work with a mentor at one of three IBM research locations.  Applications 
must be submitted by February 1, 2008.  Complete details on the program and 
how to apply are available at 
http://www.aps.org/programs/women/scholarships/index.cfm 
 
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4. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
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  send email to aaswomenaas.org 
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5. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at 
 
http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html 
 
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered. 
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