AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of May 23, 2008 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Hannah Jang-Condell & Caroline Simpson 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1. Intel Science and Engineering Fair Winners - All Women, All Minorities 
 
2. Astronomy Position, University of Massachusetts at Amherst 
 
3. Two Job Openings at NRAO 
 
4. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
5. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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1. Intel Science and Engineering Fair Winners - All Women, All Minorities 
From: Kevin Marvel [kevin.marvelaas.org] 
 
Three high school students earned top honors at the Intel International Science 
and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, when they 
each received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and a $50,000 college 
scholarship. 
 
Sana Raoof, a senior at Jericho High School in Jericho, New York, conducted
research on a branch of topology called knot theory. The central question 
in knot theory involves how to prove that two knots are the same or 
different. The reason this is difficult is that a knot can be drawn in an infinite
number of ways, yet it is still the same knot. Mathematicians use knot 
invariants to assign consistent values to knots; however, every invariant so 
far has generated false positive results, meaning that knot equivalents 
cannot be guaranteed. Until now, that is, since Raoof recently proved that a 
preexisting invariant, the Alexander-Conway polynomial, can guarantee knot 
equivalents on all knots corresponding to lattice chord diagrams. Because 
knot theory has applications in biochemistry, Raoof's research may shed new 
light on a problem plaguing scientists for decades: the protein folding 
problem, or how proteins from amino acids fold up three-dimensionally in nature.  
Since there is a direct relationship between the structure and function of 
organic molecules, Raoof's work could provide insight into the workings of 
the basic machinery of life. 
 
Natalie Saranga Omattage: In 2007, deadly contaminants penetrated the pet 
food supply in the United States, causing the deaths of hundreds of animals.
Food additives contaminated with a toxic combination of melamine and 
cyanuric acid were found to be the cause. Though food imports are currently 
screened via chromatographic and mass spectrometric methods, the instruments, 
as well as the reagents, are expensive. Additionally, implementation of 
these methods requires highly trained personnel. In her search for a better 
solution, Natalie Saranga Omattage, a student at The Mississippi School for 
Mathematics and Science in Columbus, Mississippi, explored alternative 
methods of detecting melamine and cyanuric acid in food. Using peptides with a 
high affinity to these chemicals, Omattage developed an effective quartz 
crystal microbalance-based biosensor capable of detecting melamine and cyanuric 
acid at low concentrations and in just a matter of minutes. Further, the 
biosensor is portable, less expensive than current screening methods, and 
does not require highly trained personnel to operate. Omattage's biosensor is 
not only applicable to screening for food contaminants, but it may also be 
used to detect other harmful chemicals. 
 
Yi-Han Su: With growing global interest in hydrogen, science and industry 
are looking for ways to produce it more efficiently. One of the ways to 
produce hydrogen involves using a catalytic process with a methanol-reforming 
reaction. In order to generate hydrogen more efficiently, a high-activity 
catalyst is desirable. For her chemistry project, Yi-Han Su, a student at 
Taipei First Girls High School in Chinese Taipei, developed a process to 
improve the activity of a catalyst, resulting in an improved process for 
generating hydrogen. This method can be generalized for the synthesis of other 
multi-composition materials to achieve high homogeneity. 
 
For more information: 
 
http://www.intel.com/education/ 
 
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2. Astronomy Position, University of Massachusetts at Amherst 
From: Daniela Calzetti [calzettiastro.umass.edu] 
 
The Department of Astronomy of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst 
would like to bring to attention a tenure-track faculty position opening 
recently advertised in the AAS Job Register (# 24654). The Department is 
making a concerted effort to diversify its faculty, and is trying to reach a 
broad and diverse pool of potential applicants. 
 
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3. Two Job Openings at NRAO 
From: Fonda Bryant [fbryantnrao.edu] 
 
Assistant Director (Site Director), Green Bank Operations 
 
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is seeking an Assistant Director 
(Site Director) for Green Bank Operations. The Assistant Director (AD) is 
responsible for all activities at the Green Bank, WV site, and most 
importantly, for the scientific leadership, development, and operation of 
the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The AD must have the vision and skills required 
to foster the optimum scientific use of the GBT as a resource for the 
astronomical community. The AD also participates in the development and 
implementation of the Observatory's vision and strategic goals for its 
overall mission. 
 
The GBT supports a broad scientific program including pulsars, cosmology, 
early galaxies, star formation, and astrobiology. The Green Bank Observatory
combines an academic atmosphere with a rural setting. The staff of about 
120 employees includes ten astronomers and more than 20 engineers and other 
professionals. Technical development to increase the scientific capability 
of the GBT is presently centering on heterodyne and bolometric focal plane 
array programs, pulsar backends, high frequency capability, and dynamic 
scheduling. Most GBT development programs are done in collaboration with 
university groups and external institutions; the Assistant Director should 
foster such collaborations and partnerships as a priority. 
 
The position requires a Ph.D. or equivalent in astronomy, physics, or a 
related field, as well as extensive experience in a research organization. 
A scientific and instrumental development vision for the GBT is required. 
Applicants should have a strong record of leadership and achievement in 
radio astronomy. Prior management experience, including budget development 
and control, is desirable. In addition, this position requires excellent 
interpersonal and communication skills. This is a three-year renewable 
appointment.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Please include 
a curriculum vitae or resume, the names of three references, and a letter 
describing interests and goals for the position. Applications should be 
addressed to NRAO, Human Resources Office, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, 
VA 22903 or sent electronically to resumes
nrao.edu. 
Please reference "CV4124 - AD, GB OPS" in the subject line. Applications 
received by July 1, 2008 will receive full consideration. 
 
Scientific Associate (Observing Support Associate) 
 
As part of a small team, including members of the Green Bank scientific 
staff, the primary duty of the position is to provide support to GBT observers
for various aspects of the observing process. This will include providing 
general advice and assistance to observers in their preparations for 
observing and providing support to observers during the observing process. 
Duties could include improving documentation in the above areas and supporting 
the scientific staff members in their execution of various development and 
operational projects. Depending upon the skills and abilities of the 
successful applicant, they may assume responsibilities for some telescope 
operation and commissioning activities, for example, performing calibration 
observations or monitoring the astronomical performance of one or more receivers. 
 
The position requires a bachelor's degree or an advanced degree or 
equivalent in Astronomy, Physics, or a related field. The level of the 
position will be at either the Scientific Associate III or II level, 
reflecting the skill level of the successful applicant. The ability to interact 
smoothly and effectively with users' demands is essential. Previous experience 
in a support position, especially an astronomical facility, would be helpful. 
Previous experience with radio telescopes observing and data analysis techniques 
would be an advantage. Strong writing skills and the willingness to be 
involved in outreach activities would be an advantage. 
 
This is a two year term position, with the possibility of extension for a 
further year. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Please include a
curriculum vitae or resume, the names of three references, and a letter 
describing interest for the position. Applications should be addressed to 
NRAO, Shirley Curry, P. O. Box 2, Green Bank, WV 24944 or sent electronically 
to gbresumesnrao.edu. 
Please indicate the position applied for "GB4343 - Scientific Associate" in 
the subject line. Applications received by July 1, 2008 will receive full 
consideration. 
 
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5. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html 
 
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered. 
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