AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 11, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1.  Working with CSWA

2.  AAS Report for NRC Conference on Advancing Women of Color in Academia

3.  Encouraging Graduate Students to be Good Teachers and Better Communicators

4.  Sleep or Live?  More on Motherhood and Astrophysics

5.  How Academic Biologists and Physicists View Science Outreach

6.  Trends in Women's Jobs

7.  White House Report on Women and the Economy

8.  NASA Seeks Hosts for Space Station Interactive Education Events

9.  M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship

10. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

12. Access to Past Issues

1.  Working with CSWA
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Thanks to Daryl Haggard for the excellent and thorough job she did last week as
a guest editor for the AASWOMEN Newsletter. Also thanks to our series of guest
bloggers, Jessica Kirkpatrick, Brian Morsony, Nick Murphy, Meredith Hughes,
Deanna Ratnikova, Rebekah Dawson, and Julia Kamenetzky for their informative and
provocative posts. They have not only breathed new life into the Women in Astronomy
blog but also added fresh perspectives on interesting topics. We encourage
you to read these posts and leave comments, if you have not already done so.

Kate Follette, Catherine Neish, Lisa Winter, and Nicolle Zellner continue the
guest blogger lineup for the next few weeks. If anyone else is interested in
guest editing or guest blogging, please contact me at the address above.

For anyone who expressed interest in helping with STATUS, CSWA's semi-annual
magazine, I'll be contacting you this week about articles for the Jan 2013
issue. About the 2013 women in astronomy survey, we will be gearing up for that
after the AAS meeting in Anchorage when we find out the official 2012-13 CSWA

Finally, if you will be attending the Anchorage AAS meeting, please join us for the CSWA Town Hall
on 'Astronomical Bullying,' which will be held on Monday, Jun 11, 12:45 - 1:45
PM in Ballroom C.

2.  White House Panel - Women and Girls in STEM
From:  Nancy Morrison [NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]

The AAS's Committee on the Status of Women (CSWA) and Committee on the Status of
Minorities (CSMA) have been invited to form a subcommittee to prepare a report
on behalf of the AAS for a conference entitled, "Seeking Solutions: Maximizing
American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia," which is sponsored by
the National Academies and will take place in early
June(sites.nas.edu/wocconference/). The AAS subcommittee consists of:

Jedidah Isler, Yale Univ. (CSMA, nominated for next year)
Dara Norman, NOAO (CSMA)
Hakeem Oluseyi, Florida Institute of Technology (CSMA)
Nancy Morrison, Univ. of Toledo (CSWA)
Caroline Simpson, Florida International Univ. (CSWA)
Laura Trouille, Northwestern Univ. (CSWA)

The National Academies' request for information includes demographic information
on women of color in astronomy and these topics:

 * Challenges or barriers experienced by women of color in their education and
professional career pathways and the policies and/or programs that have been or
should be implemented by the AAS to enhance their career progression; and

 * Key policy recommendations to the external communities represented at the
conference (e.g., federal agencies and institutions of higher education) that
would support AAS efforts to increase the career satisfaction of women of color
and retain them in the scientific academic workforce.

Our subcommittee would welcome comments from the community on these or any other
topics related to the status of women of color in astronomy and its advancement.
Suggestions for AAS action would be especially pertinent. So that your comments
can inform our report, please send them to me by May 16, 2012. Thanks!

3.  Encouraging Graduate Students to be Good Teachers and Better Communicators
From:  Kate Follette via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

[This week's guest blogger is Kate Follette. Kate Follette is a graduate student
at Steward Observatory and an adjunct astronomer at Pima Community College in
Tucson, Arizona.  Her scientific research focuses on planet formation in
circumstellar disks, and she is also engaged in educational research on
mitigating quantitative illiteracy through introductory science courses for

I had an interesting discussion recently with a well-respected senior scientist
about the benefits of pedagogical and communication training for graduate
students. This was in connection with a proposal to start a graduate course on
that topic. I mentioned that I was surprised that such a course was not already
offered and, more than that, required as part of our degree program. This wasn’t
an intentionally radical statement. In fact, the benefits of such a program
seemed clear and abundant to me, so I was surprised at how our conversation
progressed.   He countered immediately with an argument that I’ve heard before –
“not all graduate students will be required to teach in their future careers”.
This one didn’t phase me too much, and I already had a practiced response.  I
told him that this was probably true, but that pedagogical skills are
essentially communication skills. The majority of us do have to teach in some
capacity during our careers, but more than that, virtually all of us have to
give public lectures, write grants, and interact with people who want to hear
about what we do, and this kind of training can make us better at those as well.

To read more:


4.  Sleep or Live?  More on Motherhood and Astrophysics
From:  Ann Hornschemeier via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

We are now at 25 months since the birth of my daughter and I’m not dead yet.
Why did I put it that way?  FYI, if you don’t read to the end of this you’ll
think I am truly miserable. Everyone is occasionally miserable, but that really
isn’t the point at all.  Recently I had two back-to-back work trips. The first
was a science conference in Spain and the second was a collaboration meeting of
a small research team at Northwestern University in Chicago. Due to the
consecutive trips, I did a fast turnaround to Europe. I spent 3 nights in Spain
and lost one night to the flight over to Barcelona. I had just one good night’s
sleep over those 4 nights and then returned to my 2-year-old in Maryland, packed
again (her stuff and mine) and headed to Evanston, IL. I had decided not to
leave my daughter for two weeks in a row (which would have been unfair to my
husband too).

To read more:


5.  How Academic Biologists and Physicists View Science Outreach
From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]

This is an interesting study into the attitudes of research scientists toward public
outreach. One of their conclusions pertains directly to female scientists:

"A central finding of this research is that, among biologists and physicists at top
research universities included in this study, women are much more involved in outreach
than men. One interpretation of this finding is that, as the number of women in academic
science increases, science outreach may increase. A corresponding interpretation is that
scientists may have the perception that outreach is a more feminine, care-oriented task,
which may further decrease the legitimacy of this pursuit. And unless science outreach
efforts increase in legitimacy at top research universities the academic careers of the
women who engage in outreach work may actually be hindered."

To read more:


6.  Trends in Women's Jobs
From:  Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

In March 1972, 63.9% of men and 36.1% of women comprised America's labor force.
In March 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 50.7% men and 49.3%
women.  That is, women make up about 1/2 of today's labor market.  Professions
that saw more than a 10% increase in percentage of women workers over the last
forty years include Government (42.7% women 1972, 56.8% 2012), Professional and
Business Services (32.4% women 1972, 44.3% 2012), Leisure and Hospitality (38.8%
women 1972, 52.2% 2012), Other Services (32.3% women 1972, 52.7% 2012), and
Transportation and Warehousing (11.3% women 1972, 23.1% 2012).

Although Education and Health Services experienced a significant labor force
growth over the last forty years, this sector kept the same trend in gender
hires (75.9% women in 1972, 76.7% in 2012).  In 1972, for every three women, one
man worked in this sector, a statistic echoed in today's gender balance of
elementary and secondary school teachers (78% women, 22% men).   Similarly, the
gender balance has not changed for Manufacturing (27.4% women in 1972, 27.3%
2012) although this sector experienced significant labor force decay over the
last forty years.

The bottom line:  Back then, more women were educators and more men were
laborers.  Today, the same trends exist.

To read up on the statistics, please see:


7.  White House Report on Women and the Economy
From:  Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

The White House released a report recently on 'Keeping America's Women Moving
Forward, The Key to an Economy Built to Last.'  The report highlights how the
current administration has worked to ensure a woman's economic security when
e.g., obtaining an eduction, starting a career, or in retirement.

For Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and other highlights,
please see


8. NASA Seeks Hosts for Space Station Interactive Education Events
From:   Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

Calling all school districts, museums, science centers, national and regional
education organizations and local, state and federal government agencies as well
as EPO at higher education that pair with one of these groups. NASA is seeking
organizations to host live in-flight interactive conversations between students
and NASA crew members aboard the International Space Station.  Question and
Answer sessions will last 20 minutes during which students will learn what it is
like to live and work in space.

Submission deadline is June 1, 2012.  Please see:


9. M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship
From:  Nancy Morrison [NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]

[The following is from the American Physical Society.]

Application Deadline: June 1, 2012

'To enable women to return to physics research careers after having had to
interrupt those careers. The fellowship consists of a one-year award of up to
$45,000 (applicants can apply in a subsequent year for one additional year of
support). Allowed expenses include dependent care (limited to 50% of the award),
salary, travel, equipment, and tuition and fees. ... '

To learn more: http://www.aps.org/programs/women/scholarships/blewett/index.cfm

10.  How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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12.  Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.