AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of December 21, 2012
eds. Caroline Simpson, Michele Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, & Nick Murphy

This week's issues:

1. Bullying: How It Affects You

2. Invasion of Personal Space

3. Spotlight on Careers - Request for Feedback on Interview Questions

4. An End-of-Semester (Check) List for Graduate Students

5. Childcare at January AAS meeting

6. Upcoming in STATUS

7. Writing Unbiased Recommendation Letters

8. Pitch in to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff and Cuts to STEM!
9. The Hidden Giants (in response to "Where are all the Female Geniuses?")

10. Job Opportunities

11. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

12. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

13. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

1. Bullying: How It Affects You
From: Anonymous via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Joan Schmelz gave a wonderful talk at the Summer AAS in Anchorage, and I was so
glad that a topic that certainly has impacted many people was on such prominent
display. In fact, I almost wanted to email Joan and ask if she had heard about
my experiences in particular, because it so well matched something I personally
had gone through with a bully.

I am not sure if I am unique (I hope I am, but doubt it) in that I have had a
chain of at least three bullies strung together in my young astronomy life. From
a young hotshot professor who expected their new grad students to perform like
postdocs, to a senior person in the field who took it as a personal affront (and
went on a personal attack) when a student had a scientific disagreement with
him/her, to a person going to my advisor and claiming that I was incompetent to
do my own work without his/her having direct control over the science I was
outputting. These incidents were daisy chained together: it seemed as if once
I'd escaped one bully, another was waiting in the wings to take over. It got me
asking many things, but firstly, was there something about me that attracted
them to me as a target?

We as a community have a lot of work to do addressing bullying, and for now I
have heard a lot of promising things said about policing the perpetrators, but
my own experience made me think heavily about what we can do for the victims as
well. I suspect that my previous experiences with others have left scars that,
though not visible to most, are a bullseye on my back to future potential

To read more, please see


2. Invasion of Personal Space
From: Joan Schmelz via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Has this ever happened to you? You are attending a professional conference, like
the AAS meeting, and presenting a poster on your work. Someone comes to talk to
you, but they stand too close. They might even touch your arm or shoulder as
they talk. They have invaded your personal space!

To read more, please see


The Anti-Harassment Policy for Meetings and Activities of the AAS is available at


3. Spotlight on Careers - Request for Feedback on Interview Questions
From: Laura Trouille via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

In 2013-14, we plan to provide a series of ~50 blog posts highlighting the full
range of career routes that astronomers pursue after their degree. Thank you to
all our readers who provided great recommendations for people we should contact!

If you have additional recommendations, please email me at l-trouille [at]
northwestern.edu with the person's name and email address. We are especially
interested in highlighting women, but are open to all suggestions.

We are now in the process of compiling questions to ask our interviewees. We
would greatly appreciate your feedback on these questions and additional
questions you recommend we include. 

To read more, please see


4. An End-of-Semester (Check) List for Graduate Students
From: David Charbonneau via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

One element that I particularly enjoy about the business of exoplanets is the
relative prominence of young researchers: It is a commonplace for the first
author of an important new paper to be a graduate student or postdoctoral
fellow.  So, that got me thinking that it might be helpful to share some
straightforward professional development advice for graduate students.

Of course, given the subject of this blog I have my eye here particularly on
advising women on how they might leverage their exciting research results toward
broader professional success: At conferences I frequently encounter graduate
student women who have stunning research promise but who could do more to
increase the visibility of their work. Regardless, I hope this advice is of
general use for all.

Most of the hours of the workday for a typical graduate student might be spent
on the labor of research, namely the gathering and analysis of data, and the
writing of papers.  This post isn't about how to tackle this core task of
graduate school: Instead, I wanted to share a quick check list of 3 professional
development tips, particularly aimed a students in their first 3 years of
graduate school:

To read more, please see


5. Childcare at January AAS meeting
From: Kelly Clark [kelly.clark_at_aas.org]

The AAS will provide childcare onsite during the meeting through the Kiddie
Corps Service. Care will be available Sunday, 6 January 2013 through Thursday,
10 January 2013. The cost of care is per $8 hour.

The advance registration deadline has been extended to ***28 December 2012***.

For more information, please see


6. Upcoming in STATUS
From: Joannah Hinz [jhinz_at_as.arizona.edu]

Last summer Anne-Marie Slaughter's piece in The Atlantic magazine caused
a huge stir in communities concerned with women in the workplace. Provocatively
titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", the article offered a description of
the sacrifices Slaughter made in order to meet the demands of her high-powered
Washington-based career and argued that in many ways it was, essentially, not
feasible in the long term. In the next issue of STATUS, graduate student
Megan Reiter persuasively argues against this line of thinking, suggesting
foremost that the question itself is ill-posed and represents a detrimental view
of the work-life balance. Reiter takes a hard look at current family leave
policies, detailing changes that could make such policies more inclusive,
flexible and equitable. She also explains why changing the tone of conversations
around family leave - and who is involved in those conversations - can make a
huge difference not only to women, but to anyone wishing to maintain the
work-life balance they need to flourish.

[This is a preview for an article to be published in the January 2013 of STATUS
-- eds.]

7. Pitch in to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff and Cuts to STEM!
From: Daryl Haggard via AWIS in Action! December 2012

This is a good, short summary of what the fiscal cliff means for scientists,
complete with suggestions for what you can do *right now*:


8. Writing Unbiased Recommendation Letters
From: Nancy Morrison [nmorris_at_utnet.utoledo.edu]

In a recent discussion on how grad students and postdocs can fight unconscious
bias in the course of their job searches, it came up that helpful hints on
writing unbiased recommendation letters could be circulated by faculty members.  

Here is a web page with some helpful strategies: 


9. The Hidden Giants (in response to "Where are all the Female Geniuses?")
From: Sethanne Howard [sethanneh_at_msn.com]

In response to where are all the geniuses who are women, I refer people to the
book, The Hidden Giants.  The 3rd edition is just out.  In it you can
find a large number of women who were geniuses from our past scientific history.
All prior to Marie Curie.  We were there in abundance.  

10. Job Opportunities

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here:


   * MacGillavry prestige tenure-track for women, University of Amsterdam
     http://jobregister.aas.org/job_view?JobID=44279 (1/1/13
edition, available after Jan. 1, 2013) 

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