AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 27, 2012
eds. Daryl Haggard, Michele Montgomery, Nick Murphy, & Caroline Simpson

This week's issues:

1. New CSWA Members

2. New AASWomen Newsletter Editors

3. Proposal Writing After Family Leave : Request for Advice

4. Living with a Learning Disability

5. The Passing of Pioneering Astronaut Sally Ride

6. How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science

7. Resources for Outreach to Girls, from the Society of Women Engineers

8. Mentoring Fellowships with the NeXXt Scholars Program

9. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

1. New CSWA Members
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Please join me in welcoming our new CSWA members, Neil Gehrels (NASA GSFC),
Meredith Hughes (UC Berkeley/Wesleyan Univ.), Jessica Kirkpatrick (UC Berkeley),
Nick Murphy (CfA), and Nicolle Zellner (Albion College), who will be serving
from 2012 to 2015. Neil, Jessica, and Nicolle will be writing for the Women in
Astronomy blogspot, Nick has agreed to join the list of editors for the AASWOMEN
Newsletter, and Meredith will be assisting with the new 2013 Women in Astronomy

We would also like to thank our outgoing committee members, Ann Hornschemeier
(NASA GSFC), Don Kniffen (USRA), and Marc Postman (STScI). Their efforts on
behalf of CSWA are much appreciated. A special thanks to outgoing member, Hannah
Jang-Condell (Univ. of Wyoming). Hannah set up the Women in Astronomy blogspot
and has served as our blogger-in-chief since the beginning. She will continue to
blog for us, but the blogger-in-chief position will be filled by continuing CSWA
member, Laura Trouille (Northwestern Univ.).

I am also honored to report that the AAS council has appointed me to serve a
second term as CSWA chair. I will continue to do my best to bring energy,
creativity, and sensitivity to this position.

Additional continuing members are: Ed Bertschinger (MIT), Dave Charbonneau
(Harvard Univ.), Michele Montgomery (Univ. Central Florida), Nancy Morrison
(Univ. of Toledo, retired), and Caroline Simpson (Florida International Univ.).

We encourage you to contact any CSWA member if you have comments, questions,
and/or suggestions. We also encourage you to check out the CSWA web site at:


2. New AASWomen Newsletter Editors
From: AASWomen [aaswomen_at_aas.org]

Starting with the last issue, we have a change of editors for the AASWomen
Newsletter. Joan Schmelz has stepped down, with Daryl Haggard (Northwestern
University) and Nick Murphy (CfA) joining continuing editors Michele Montgomery
and Caroline Simpson.

As always, contributions for the Newsletter should be sent to

3. Proposal Writing After Family Leave : Request for Advice
From: Anonymous

I'm a scientist at a soft money research institute, 10ish years post-PhD.  I
recently found out that one of my proposals was ranked highly on scientific
merits, but that the review panel was concerned that I had few first-author
publications and that this indicated that I wasn't well-qualified as a proposal
PI; thus they ranked my proposal quite poorly overall.

I know that my publication record for first-author papers isn't that great
(though I've been a co-author on a bunch and have plenty of conference
presentations) - most of the reason is that I've had a couple kids over the past
decade and have had times when I've worked part-time. I also run a couple
educational programs to help supplement and stabilize my income.  This isn't
reflected in my CV, however.

My question is, how do I update my CV to try to help ameliorate this problem in
the future?  I know there's nothing I can do this time around, and I know that
the first remedy is to write a bunch of papers, but that will take time.  I've
never seen a CV that explicitly included a slow-down to have kids, and would
like guidance on how to do this in a way that will provide useful information to
future review panels without sounding defensive or making me sound even

[Please send advice to aaswomen_at_aas.org - Eds.]

4. Living with a Learning Disability
From: Jessica Kirkpatrick via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I was recently contacted by a young, impoverished, South African, boy who is a
self-declared astronomy fanatic.  He reached out to me because his dream is to
be like Albert Einstein, but he is failing his math and science classes due to a
learning disability.  He fears that hell never be able to realize his goal and
wanted my insights and advice.

I have a learning disability.  When diagnosed, my reading skills tested in the
20th percentile -- meaning that 80 out of 100 people are better readers than I.
I am also a Marshall Scholar, published author, and have a doctorate in physics
from Berkeley.  During my exchange with this boy, I realized that perhaps some
of my experiences regarding learning disabilities might be helpful to educators
in this community (who have LD students) and readers of this blog who themselves
have learning differences.

To read more, please see


5. The Passing of Pioneering Astronaut Sally Ride
From: Laura Trouille via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

In a space agency filled with trailblazers, Sally K. Ride was a pioneer of a
different sort. The soft-spoken California physicist broke the gender barrier 29
years ago when she rode to orbit aboard space shuttle Challenger to become
Americas first woman in space.

To read more about the unfortunate passing of astronaut Sally Ride, please see


or the original NASA press release at


6. How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Shankar Vedantam, science correspondent for NPR, wrote:

Walk into any tech company or university math department, and you'll likely see
a gender disparity: Fewer women than men seem to go into fields involving
science, engineering, technology and mathematics.

Over the years, educators, recruiters and government authorities have bemoaned
the gender gap and warned that it can have dire consequences for American
competitiveness and continued technological dominance.

It isn't just that fewer women choose to go into these fields. Even when they go
into these fields and are successful, women are more likely than men to quit.

To read more, please see


7. Resources for Outreach to Girls, from the Society of Women Engineers
From: Nancy Morrison [nancy.morrison_at_utoledo.edu]

Those doing outreach to girls should know about this resource; tutorials are
included. In what follows, substitute "science" or "astronomy" for

'Everyone representing the field of engineering to girls should be armed with the following.

1. A reference for public communications
2. A consistent message
3. A clarity about what sets engineering apart from other professions
4. An understanding of why engineering matters
5. Tips and techniques for doing this well.'

To read more:


8. Mentoring Fellowships with the NeXXt Scholars Program
From: WIPHYS, July 23, 2012

Attention Female STEM professionals, graduate-level students, and postdocs:

The New York Academy of Sciences, in partnership with the U.S. Department of
State and a consortium of women's colleges, has launched the NeXXt Scholars
Program for the 2012-2013 academic school year. This program aims to engage,
connect and advance young women from countries with predominantly Muslim
populations and young American women to pursue undergraduate degrees in Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. In order to accomplish this
goal, the Academy will provide partnership, mentorship, and networking support
for these scholars by way of a selected STEM mentor.

Female STEM professionals, graduate-level students, and postdocs who have a
desire to help the next generation of women break into STEM-related fields
should apply for the Mentoring Fellowship. Apply online by August 10, 2012.


9. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.