AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of August 2, 2013
eds. Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, Nick Murphy, & Nicolle Zellner

This week's issues:

1. June issue of STATUS is now available online

2. Unconscious Bias: A Legacy of Patriarchy

3. New on our "Advice" page: workplace bullying

4. Obama Nominates Astrophysicist to Lead NSF

5. Pioneering Astronomer Vera Rubin on Science, Stereotypes, and Success

6. Google Honors Maria Mitchell, First Professional Woman Astronomer in the U.S.

7. Triangle Coalition for STEM Education Conference

8. Inspiring Women Scientists Forum

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. June issue of STATUS is now available online
From: Nancy Morrison [nancy.morrison_at_utoledo.edu]

The June issue of the CSWA's newsletter, STATUS, is now available here:


The table of contents is as follows:

Raising the Bar in Physics Graduate Education - by Meg Urry - p. 1
Note from the Editor – by Katy Garmany - p. 3
Women Who Changed Modern American Science - by Nancy Morrison - p. 8
One Personʼs Advice on the Two-Body Problem - by Annika Peter - p. 11
Book review: Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers - by Joannah Hinz - p. 13

2. Unconscious Bias: A Legacy of Patriarchy
From: Joan Schmelz via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

After my June post on unconscious bias, Kelly left an intriguing comment. She
wanted to know where this bias comes from and why it is present. I get this
question frequently, so I thought I would take this opportunity to reply in more
detail. Unconscious bias is one of the many unfortunate legacies of patriarchy*.
Not so sure you believe me? Well, just think about it. We have lived in a
civilization that has been dominated by patriarchy for over 5,000 years! The
rules, conscious and unconscious, are written into the very fabric of our
society. Not only do we live and breathe by these rules, but so did our
ancestors, going back for many generations.

To read more, please see


3. New on our "Advice" Page: Workplace Bullying
From: Nancy Morrison [nancy.morrison_at_utoledo.edu]

Joan Schmelz has adapted her recent blog post, "Introduction to Astronomical
Bullying," for our "Advice" page. Read it here:


Also be sure to check the "Advice" page for guidance on other topics of
importance to science professionals!

4. Obama Nominates Astrophysicist to Lead NSF
From: Michele Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

By Helen Shen

Astrophysicist France Anne Córdova has been tapped to head the US National
Science Foundation (NSF), which has been run by an acting director since March
2013. President Barack Obama announced the pick on 31 July. If confirmed,
Córdova would fill the gap left by Subra Suresh, who announced his resignation
in February, after serving less than half of his six-year term leading the US$7
billion agency.

Córdova, who earned her doctorate from the California Institute of Technology in
Pasadena, served as president of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana,
from 2007 to 2012. In 2010, she oversaw the creation of the Colombia-Purdue
Institute for Scientific Research, which aims to foster scientific collaboration
between the Colombia and the United States.

To read more, please see


5. Pioneering Astronomy Vera Rubin on Science, Stereotypes, and Success
From: Matthew Greenhouse [matthew.a.greenhoue_at_nasa.gov]

By Maria Popova

When pioneering astronomer Vera Rubin, born on July 23, 1928, graduated from
Vassar in 1948, she was the only astronomy major in her class. She was rejected
by Princeton's graduate school, which didn't allow women into the program, and
eventually received a master's from Cornell in 1950 and a Ph.D. from Georgetown
in 1954. She went on to discover dark matter — one of the most important
milestones in the history of understanding space — by proving beyond doubt that
galaxies spin faster than Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation dictates they
should. As if being a trailblazing woman in science in the 1950s weren't already
challenging, Rubin was at first severely criticized for her theories, but once
her evidence proved indisputable even for the greatest skeptics in the astronomy
community, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences as only the third
female astronomer and was eventually awarded the National Medal of Science,
America's most prestigious scientific accolade.

To read more, please see:


6. Google Doodle Honors Maria Mitchell, First Professional Woman Astronomer in the U.S.
From: Joan Centrella [joan.m.centrella_at_nasa.gov] & Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]

Yesterday's Google Doodle honored Maria Mitchell (Aug. 1, 1818—Jun. 28, 1889),
the first professional woman astronomer in the U.S. and the first woman elected
to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Born to a Quaker family on Nantucket, she grew up stargazing with her father's
telescope. On October 1, 1847, while working as a librarian at the Nantucket
Atheneum, she discovered a new comet, which became known as "Miss Mitchell's
Comet." King Frederick VI of Denmark sent her a medal in honor of her discovery.

In 1865, she became the first astronomy professor at Vassar College in
Poughkeepsie, New York, where she ran the school's observatory and woke students
up in the middle of the night to study Saturn and Jupiter. A staunch proponent
of the anti-slavery movement during the Civil War, she also used the observatory
to host salons that discussed current events in politics and feminism and to
host "dome parties" where everyone would sit around and write poetry on scraps
of paper. "We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics,
nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry," she once said, according to
the National Women's History Museum.

To read more, please see


7. Triangle Coalition for STEM Education Conference
From: National Girls Collaborative Project via Johanna Teske 

The STEM Education Conference brings together STEM education leaders for a
solutions-focused dialogue on pressing issues impacting education, the
workforce, and policy. Conference topics range from the current status of STEM
education initiatives like the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to
policy discussions on Capitol Hill surrounding STEM legislation, and related
topics such as teacher preparedness, workforce development, and economic
competitiveness. Early bird registration ends August 12, 2013.

This conference will be in Washington, DC from September 11-13, 2013.

Register: http://www.trianglecoalition.org/conference

8. Inspiring Women Scientists Forum
From: National Girls Collaborative Project via Johanna Teske

This forum aims to support women students, faculty, and professionals in
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and bring together faculty,
staff, and students from institutions across the New York metropolitan area and
region. The forum will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Jill Tarter, Director,
Center for SETI Research, and Dr. Mary E. Kicaz, Assistant Administrator for
Satellite and Information Services at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA).

Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Inspiring_Women_Scientists_2013

This forum will be on September 27, 2013 in New York, NY.

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11. Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.