AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of February 24, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery
This week's issues:
1. How to Succeed
2. Change in AASWomen Newsletter list management
3. What A Scientist Looks Like
4. Conscious and Unconscious Gender Bias
5. Forging Ahead with Astronomy, Baby and All
6. Astrophysical Journal Letters – Associate Editors
7. Job Opportunity
8. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN Newsletter
9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN Newsletter
10. Access to Past Issues of the AASWOMEN Newsletter
1. How to Succeed
From: Hannah_at_Women_in_Astronomy_Blog, Feb 20, 2012
Imposter syndrome can manifest itself in many different ways. My particular
brand is that whenever I achieve something or win something or what-have-you, I
immediately think, "if they're giving this to me, they must be giving them out
like candy." Or I see ways to denigrate my accomplishment, like this must be a
mistake, or they've lowered their standards, or this particular
job/fellowship/award must not be so prestigious after all.
Which is why although I've finally scored a permanent position despite a bad job
market, and done so while raising two young children, I feel like it's all been
a colossal fluke. And yet, I know if a younger version of myself saw me now, I
would be desperate for any and all advice on how I managed to be so successful.
With that in mind, I offer the following advice for those of you on the job
market these days on the secrets of my success.
0) Are you sure you want a faculty position?
This may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but you should really seriously consider
other career options. Given the realities of today's job market, chances are you
may end up leaving academia in the end. So think about what you might do if you
were to leave the academic track. Maybe even go so far as to apply for a few
jobs. Who knows, maybe you'll realize you'll be far happier doing something
other than astronomy. If not, at least you'll realize what other options are
open to you, and you'll approach the job search with more confidence and less
1) Persistence, persistence, persistence.
I can't stress this one enough. Keep applying for jobs. I know that the
ever-growing pile of rejection letters can be disheartening, but at some level
you need to develop a bit of a thick skin. The job market is so tough that any
place with an open faculty position has to turn away many extremely qualified
candidates. Just because you got turned down doesn't necessarily mean you're not
good enough. Sometimes I think that the only reason there are fewer women in the
field is because men don't mind banging their heads against the wall as much as
women do.
To read more:
2. Change in AASWomen Newsletter list management
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsonc_at_fiu.edu]
We have just migrated the distribution list for the AASWomen Newsletter to
GoogleGroups; your subscription was automatically switched over. If you
experience any trouble, or know of someone who is no longer receiving the
newsletter but would like to, please let us know. Instructions for
subscribing/managing your subscription are at the end of the newsletter.
Contributions to the newsletter may still be made via email to
aaswomen_at_aas.org, as always.
3. What A Scientist Looks Like
From: Claire Cramer [ccramer108_at_gmail.com]
This website, “This Is What A Scientist Looks Like,” challenges us to “Change
the perception of who and what a scientist is or isn't.”
It looks great, except that there isn't enough diversity. Maybe we can do
something about that ...
4. Conscious and Unconscious Gender Bias
From: Nancy Morrison [NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]
With support from an NSF ADVANCE leadership grant, the Center for WorkLife Law,
UC Hastings College of the Law, has developed a web site devoted to conscious
and unconscious gender bias. It identifies four basic categories of bias as
experienced by women:
Prove it Again! - being held to higher standards than men;

The Double Bind - being forced to choose between being liked and being

The Maternal Wall - the assumption that mothers are incompetent and/or not
committed to their profession;

Gender Wars - conflicts among women who interpret the requirements of
professional behavior differently.
The site includes training videos, interviews with experts on gender bias, and
an on-line game, "Gender Bias Bingo," where users can enter their own stories in
each category.
I learned about this site from an article by Joan C. Williams in AWIS Magazine,
Summer 2011.
5. Forging Ahead with Astronomy, Baby and All
From: Mangala Sharma [msharma_at_stsci.edu]
Toni Feder wrote this article in December for Physics Today: Earning a
bachelor's degree in physics and a PhD in astronomy is even more challenging
when you've been raising a daughter since your sophomore year.
Juggling studies and family life has made Randi Ludwig efficient and
Randi Ludwig had a baby at age 20, when she was a sophomore physics major at the
University of Oklahoma (OU). Because she took time off to care for her daughter,
she graduated a year later than expected, at age 23. Now 28, she is at the
University of Texas at Austin, where she is on target to the finish her PhD in
astronomy next summer. "I feel like I have a very different perspective on life
than my peers because of this experience under my belt," says Ludwig.
"A lot of people may not be ready to start families in college, but it is a
flexible time if you are following an academic career path," Ludwig says. "The
only other time that might rival it is graduate school." In hindsight, she
realizes that both of her alma maters have been "incredibly supportive. [My
daughter] was completely embraced."
As an undergraduate at OU, Ludwig was president of the Society of Physics
Students. She was also involved in outreach activities for local schools. That
interest intensified during her graduate studies, and she ended up splitting her
research between active galactic nuclei and astronomy education.
Because she and her ex-husband share custody of her 8-year-old daughter, Alena,
Ludwig is looking to stay in Austin after she finishes her degree.
To read more:
6. Astrophysical Journal Letters – Associate Editors
From: Frederic A. Rasio [rasio_at_northwestern.edu]
The American Astronomical Society is soliciting applications for two new
positions of Associate Editors for the Astrophysical Journal Letters. These
Associate Editors will play the same role for ApJ Letters that the ApJ
Scientific Editors play for the main journal. Starting in Fall 2012 the new
Associate Editors will work closely together with the new ApJ Letters Editor,
Dr. Frederic Rasio, to help with the peer review process: each one will directly
oversee the peer review of about 150-200 manuscripts per year in their general
field of expertise, and, together with the other ApJ Scientific Editors, advise
the ApJ Editor-in-Chief and Letters Editor on issues of general editorial
Initial appointments will be for terms of three years, subject to approval by
the AAS Publications Board and the AAS Council, with an option for a second term
at the discretion of the ApJ Letters Editor.
For these two appointments we are particularly seeking editors who can oversee
the review of manuscripts in the following two areas: (1) solar physics and
astrophysical plasmas; (2) observational cosmology and extragalactic
Candidates should have a strong record of published scientific research, be at a
mature stage in their career, and be prepared to commit the time (up to 20% FTE)
that is required to carry out the duties of a Scientific Editor, including
prompt handling of manuscripts year-round. Although these are largely volunteer
positions, funding is provided for office equipment, secretarial support, travel
to editorial meetings, and a modest stipend or research grant. Associate Letters
Editors are required to be members of the AAS during their terms of appointment,
but residence at a U.S. institution is not required.
Interested parties should send a cover letter explaining their particular
expertise and a copy of their CV, including a list of publications, to Fred
Rasio at the e-mail address above.
7. Job Opportunity
Position Title: Director of Operations
Organization: CIERA - Northwestern U.
Web link: http://ciera.northwestern.edu/Research/directorofoperations.php
8. How to Submit
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9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe
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10. Access to Past Issues
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.