AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of November 16, 2012
eds. Caroline Simpson, Michele Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, & Nick Murphy

This week's issues:

1. CSWA Mourns the Passing of One of Its Own

2. Diversity of Career Routes: A Request

3. Women in Astronomy Blogspot

4. Panel Addresses Gender Bias in Sciences

5. Why old Female Science Professors Should Blog

6. Conversation About Graduate Mentoring

7. Fine Men, Sexist Pigs

8. Lack of Women in Science Workshops on how to Succeed in Academia?

9. Carl Sagan: "If membership is restricted to men, the loss will be ours."

10. Scientista Foundation to Address Gender Discrimination in STEM

11. L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science

12. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

13. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

14. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

1. CSWA Mourns the Passing of One of Its Own
From: Joan Schmelz, Chair, CSWA [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

It is with great sadness that we learned of the recent death of Wallace
Sargent of Caltech. Among his many other honors and positions, Wal was a
two-term CSWA member (1998-01; 2007-10).

The AAS homepage article reminds us that Wal served as AAS
Vice-President from 2004 to 2007 and was honored with the AAS's
prestigious Henry Norris Russell Lectureship in 2001. Wal gave his prize
lecture, "The Distribution and Origin of Heavy Elements at High
Redshifts," at our 199th meeting in Washington, DC, in January 2002. He
had earlier won the Society's Helen B. Warner Prize for a significant
contribution to observational or theoretical astronomy by an
early-career astronomer (1969) and the joint AAS/AIP Dannie Heineman
Prize for outstanding work in the field of astrophysics by a mid-career
astronomer (1991). Wal was best known for his studies of galaxies,
galaxy clusters, and quasar absorption lines. In addition, Wal received
the Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1994 and
was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005.

The members of CSWA extend our sympathies to Wal s family, friends,
colleagues, and students. He will be greatly missed.

2. Diversity of Career Routes: A Request
From: CSWA & the AAS Employment Committee

We are working to provide a series of blog posts highlighting the full
range of career routes that astronomers pursue after their degree. If
you have recommendations for people we should contact who obtained at
least a masters degree in astronomy and are now in a non-academic
career, please send email to Laura Trouille at
(l-trouille_at_northwestern.edu) with their name and email address. We are
especially interested in highlighting women, but are open to all suggestions.

3. Women in Astronomy Blogspot
From: womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

This week on the Women in Astronomy blog, Laura Trouille provides advice
about negotiating and Nicolle Zellner talks about how to deal with
(student) harassment.

- Negotiation is a Dialogue: Compiled Advice by Laura Trouille
This post was inspired by the following paragraph from a Chronicle article:

   If you're like most academics, you either negotiate a job offer
   poorly, or you don't negotiate at all. The cost to you of failing to
   negotiate your first faculty position can be significant. Here's
   just one example: Miranda, a recent Ph.D. in the social sciences,
   negotiated a 6 percent increase in salary over what her new
   department initially offered her, from $49,000 a year to $52,000. If
   we assume she enjoys a 30-year career and receives annual raises of
   3 percent, the extra salary that she negotiated (just $3000 more)
   would translate into an additional $143,000 over what she would have
   earned without negotiating. [...]

- Dealing with (Student) Harassment by Nicolle Zellner

A recent post by Christina Richey on the Women in Planetary Science blog
highlighted some really good examples of what harassment is and how to
deal with it.  It reminded me that women are more likely to face
harassment at all levels and made me think that we don't always realize
we are being harassed. [...]

To read more on these blogs, please see

4. Panel addresses gender bias in sciences
From: Yale Daily News, Nov. 9, 2012

[The panel included Dr. Meg Urry, well-known for her advocacy for women
in astronomy -- eds.]

Yale study showing a significant bias against women in the sciences
continues to make waves across the world of academia.

The paper, written by Yale faculty and published in the October issue of
the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was
discussed at a panel hosted by Women in Science at Yale Thursday night
in Davies Auditorium. Drawing over 100 audience members from across the
Yale community, panelists discussed the findings of the study, which
showed that male candidates were preferred by science faculty members of
both genders.

Full story at


5. Why Old Female Science Professors Should Blog
From: SpotOn London 2012

A blog post by the Female Science Professor, continuing the discussion
from yesterday's SpotOnLondon Women in Science Session.

Perhaps you routinely spend time reading science blogs, including the
academic life sorts of blogs written by students, postdocs, professors
and others. If so, you are probably a relatively young person; by young,
I mean younger than middle-aged me. Perhaps you have your own blog. If
so, you are even more likely to be younger than I am.
Why do relatively few mid-career and senior STEM researchers blog about
their careers? Do we have less time than younger people? No, I don't
believe that (and I am sure you don't either). Most of us are extremely
busy, just in different ways as we progress through different career and
life stages.

Are we older scientists confused by blogs and blog-culture, thinking
that we would have to write words like "interwebz" and acronyms like
"FWIWIMHO" in order to have a blog?

Full post at

6. Conversation about graduate mentoring
From: Nancy Morrison [nmorris_at_utnet.utoledo.edu]

From the November-December 2012 issue of American Scientist: "Mentor
vs. Monolith: Finding and being a good graduate advisor," by Mohamed
Noor and Caiti Heil

'Prof. Mohamed Noor and Ph.D. student Caiti Heil agreed to work together
on an American Scientist essay about graduate mentoring. They
independently framed outlines and brought them together for a first
meeting. Mohamed's essay was more focused on being a mentor and less on
choosing one, whereas Caiti's was more focused on how to choose and work
with a mentor without much detail about what makes a mentor
successful. As a result, they have chosen this non-standard
"conversational" format for conveying their thoughts.'

To read more [HTML version free while issue is current]:

7. Fine Men, Sexist Pigs
From: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein [chandadeepti_at_gmail.com]

This was pointed out to me by a former student who is now studying
physics at McGill:

I don't think McGill is particularly special on this front, of course. I
think these kinds of behaviors are wide spread. It's important to
recognize that "old foggies" are not the only problem when it comes to
sexism in physics and physics-related areas .

8. Lack of Women in Science Workshops on how to Succeed in Academia?
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsonc_at_fiu.edu]

I ran across this recently:

which discusses the lack of women in science workshops on how to
succeed in academia, rather than leave it. I agree we need to
highlight non-academic careers, but perhaps we need to think about
showcasing women in successful academic careers as well?

9. Carl Sagan: "If membership is restricted to men, the loss will be ours."
From: The Planetary Society (blog)

While I was reading my news feeds Friday morning it occurred to me to
ask the question: what were his opinions on feminism? And my searches
led to this letter, on the terrific "Letters of Note" website. Sagan
wrote the letter, in 1981, to convince the leadership of the hitherto
all-male Explorers Club to begin admitting women to its ranks. I read
the whole thing at the Slam; follow the link to read it for
yourself. Here is an excerpt:

Full posting at:

10. Scientista Foundation to Address Gender Discrimination in STEM
From: The Harvard Crimson [www.thecrimson.com]

This winter, the Harvard group will raise awareness of continued gender
discrimination through a series of blog posts. In an effort to encourage
women to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics), the foundation is currently working to bring together
anonymous stories from female scientists.

Full story at

11. L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsonc_at_fiu.edu]

The L'Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science program announces the
2013 call for applications.

The L'Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science program is a national
awards program that annually recognizes and rewards five U.S.-based
women researchers at the beginning of their scientific
careers. Recipients each receive up to $60,000 that must put towards
their postdoctoral research.


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14. Access to Past Issues


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