AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of January 29, 2010 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, & Michele Montgomery 
This week's issues: 
1.  CSWA Sponsors Special Sssion at AAS 216th Meeting - First Announcement 
2.  AAS 216th Meeting CSWA Town Hall Meeting - First Announcement 
3.  Self-Doubt Plagues Female Astronomers 
4.  WIA Blogspot:  Employment in Astronomy 
5.  Academy Honors Geller for Major Contributions to Science 
6.  How to Become a Grant Reviewer 
7.  Postdoctoral Position at the University of Manitoba 
8.  How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
9.  Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
1.  CSWA Sponsors Special Sssion at AAS 216th Meeting - First Announcement 
From:  Joan T Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy is sponsoring a   
special session at the 216th AAS meeting May 23-27 in Miami, FL on   
"Addressing Unconscious Bias." 
We all have biases, and we are (for the most part) unaware of them. In   
general, men and women BOTH unconsciously devalue the contributions of   
women. This can have a detrimental effect on grant proposals, job   
applications, and performance reviews. Sociology is way ahead of   
astronomy in these studies. When evaluating identical application   
packages, male and female University psychology professors preferred   
2:1 to hire "Brian" over "Karen" as an assistant professor. When   
evaluating a more experienced record (at the point of promotion to   
tenure), reservations were expressed four times more often when the   
name was female. This unconscious bias has a repeated negative effect   
on Karen's career. Ref: Steinpreis, Anders, & Ritzke (1999) Sex Roles,   
41, 509. 
In this session, we want to introduce the concept of unconscious bias   
and also give recommendations on how to address it using an example   
for a faculty search committee. The process of eliminating unconscious   
bias begins with awareness, then moves to policy and practice, and   
ends with accountability. We plan to use the information from the   
University of Michigan Advance STRIDE web site as a guideline 
http://sitemaker.umich.edu/advance/stride . 
The exact time, date, and room location will be in our second announcement. 
2.  AAS 216th Meeting Town Hall Meeting - First Announcement 
From:  Joan T Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy is sponsoring a town   
hall meeting at the 216th AAS meeting May 23-27 in Miami, FL on   
"Designing a 21st Century Astronomy Career Track" 
Is your Department/Organization/Institution "Female-Friendly?" It   
can't be all about numbers, but if the percentage of women at all   
levels is typical, is that good enough, or is it only the first step?   
If there are no senior women at the highest level, can a place really   
be female-friendly? How important are role models and mentoring?  Is   
your Department/Organization/Institution "Family-Friendly?" Is there a   
family leave policy and nearby affordable childcare? How important are   
e.g., flexible hours and the option to stop the tenure (or equivalent   
for non-academic positions) clock? The CSWA Town Hall at the Miami AAS   
meeting will take up the challenge of designing a 21st century   
astronomy career track. The Town Hall will include at least 30 minutes   
for discussion and answering questions from the audience. 
The exact time, date, and room location will be in our second announcement. 
3.  Self-Doubt Plagues Female Astronomers 
From:  Ann Hornschemeier [Ann.Hornschemeiernasa.gov] 
Although this [subject] has already been reported, I think the fact   
that it has just appeared in Nature is notable: 
[Please see the article on the AIP longitudinal study that seeks   
insight into astronomer's career path.] 
4.  WIA Blogspot:  Employment in Astronomy 
From:  HannahWomen in Astronomy Blog, January 26, 2010 
I've been promising a write-up of the Employment Special Session from   
the AAS Meeting, but honestly? I'm having trouble writing it because   
I'm having trouble detaching myself from the subject, since I'm on the   
job market myself. So, instead, I'm going to talk here about the   
Rumo(u)r Mill [http://cdm.berkeley.edu/doku.php?id=astrophysicsjobs]. 
The rumour mill is a clearinghouse for gossip about who make   
shortlists, gets offers, and lands jobs in astrophysics, said jobs   
being almost exclusively in academia. On the one hand, it's the one   
weapon that we peons job hunters have against The Man. Knowledge is   
power and all that. On the other hand, it can also be a vortex of pain   
and suffering as you realize that the plum job you applied for has   
already drawn up its shortlist and you're not on it. 
There's currently a raging debate in the revisions section on whether   
or not to post about people who leave astronomy. You can even answer a   
poll on the subject. (Currently, the ayes have it.) My own opinion is   
that it would be useful information to have. One of the reasons for   
the Longitudinal Survey, after all, is that there is little data on   
what happens to the people who leave astronomy. Do women   
preferentially leave academic astronomy? Why? I think the data would   
be great to have. 
[To read the rest of this article, please see 
5.  Academy Honors Geller for Major Contributions to Science 
From:  WIPHYS January 25, 2010 
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will honor 17 individuals with   
awards in recognition of extraordinary scientific achievements in the   
areas of biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and psychology.    
Among the 2010 recipients is Margaret J. Geller, senior scientist at   
the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the recipient of the   
James Craig Watson Medal.  Geller is being honored for her role in   
critical discoveries concerning the large-scale structure of the   
universe, for her insightful analyses of galaxies in groups and   
clusters, and for her being a model in mentoring young scientists.    
The award consisting of a medal, a $25,000 prize, and a gift of   
$25,000 to an institution of the recipient's choosing –recognizes   
contributions in astronomy.   An awards ceremony for the recipients   
will take place on April 25 during the Academy's annual meeting.  
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific   
society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and   
engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and   
technology and to their use for the general welfare.  Since 1863, the   
National Academy of Sciences has served to investigate, examine,   
experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art whenever   
called upon to do so by any department of the government. 
6. How to Become a Grant Reviewer 
From:  Michele M. Montgomery [montgomeryphysics.ucf.edu] 
One of the best ways to learn how a grant proposal is reviewed and to   
increase your chances of getting funded is to become a grant reviewer.   
  There are two ways you can get your name in consideration for a   
grant review panel:  Write the program officer of a particular grant   
that you have an interest in or submit a CV for consideration.  For   
the former, include your resume in the letter, and express your   
interest in being considered to be a reviewer for the next grant cycle   
of their program.  For the latter, submit your CV for consideration   
and express your interest in several specific grant programs. 
NSF:  To become an NSF reviewer, send an e-mail to the NSF program   
officer(s) of the program(s) that fits your expertise. Introduce   
yourself and identify your areas of expertise, and let them know that   
you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer. It is most helpful if   
you also attach a 2-page CV with current contact information. NSF   
welcomes qualified reviewers from the academic, industrial, and   
government sectors. For more information, go to 
http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/meritreview/reviewer.jsp . 
ED:  The U.S. Department of Education (ED) seeks qualified individuals   
interested in reviewing applications for grant programs of the Office   
of Postsecondary Education (OPE). These reviewers (also called field   
readers or peer reviewers) will independently read and evaluate grant   
applications submitted to OPE.  For more information on how to become   
a peer reviewer, go to 
http://opeweb.ed.gov/frs/frsHome.cfm . 
DOE:  For more information on the merit review of grant applications   
as well as other Federal policies and procedures concerning the   
Department's grant process, visit: 
http://www.sc.doe.gov/production/grants/grants.html#Merit%20Review . 
7.  Postdoctoral Position at the University of Manitoba 
From:  Samar Safi-Harb [samarphysics.umanitoba.ca] 
Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position in the department   
of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg,   
Canada. The successful applicant will collaborate with Prof. Samar   
Safi-Harb and her group on supernova remnants (SNRs), 
pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe), and/or compact objects (see 
for more details). The position is available in 2010 (with a   
negotiable start date) and the initial appointment is for one year,   
renewable for up to 2 more years, subject to performance and funding.   
The funds for this position are made available through the Canada   
Research Chairs program.  The successful applicant will have a PhD as   
of the start date of the appointment.  Candidates with previous   
experience in observational studies or modeling of SNRs, PWNe, or   
neutron stars are encouraged to apply. Strong applicants with a   
theoretical background will be nominated for the CITA National   
Fellowship. The successful candidate will have access to a   
high-performance computing system funded by the Canada Foundation for   
Applications should include a CV (including a publication list and   
contact information for up to 3 referees), a description of research   
interests and plans. Applications should be sent by email to   
samarphysics.umanitoba.ca. Review of applications will begin March   
15, 2010 and will continue until the position is filled. 
The University of Manitoba is the province's largest,   
research-intensive post-secondary education institution, located near   
the geographical centre of North America and at the confluence of   
Assiniboine and Red Rivers. As the capital city of Manitoba, Winnipeg   
is a mature city of some 700,000 people with rich recreational and   
cultural opportunities. It combines the amenities of urban life with   
easy access to the countryside and to northern lakes and forests. 
The University exercises a Canadian-first policy; however, all those   
qualified are encouraged to apply. 
Application materials, including letters of reference, will be handled   
in accordance with the protection of privacy provisions of The Freedom   
of Information and Protection of Privacy (Manitoba). Please note that   
your curriculum vitae may be provided to participating members of the   
search process. 
8.  How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
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9.  Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at 
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered. 
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