CSWA Logo AAS Logo



From The Editor

by Kathryn Mead

January 1998

 

In this issue we announce the Women in Astronomy Database. You may have seen the announcement
itself in AASWomen or the AAS Newsletter; in Status we have bonus coverage. Database-Master
Lisa Frattare gives us a personal glimpse into her work on the database in her article "Keeper of the
'Base." This is the "good" side of astronomy, the feeling of doing good work and making human
connections. For those of you who have submitted your name to the database, this will make you feel extra
good about doing it. For those of you who have not yet contributed, I hope you will want to after reading
Lisa's article. I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Lisa for her initiative, diligence and
creativity on this project!

What do you say to a young girl who asks you about a career in science? Do you reward her natural curiosity and enthusiasm by encouraging her to pursue such a career? Or do you tell her the realities of pursuing such a career – few permanent jobs, lingering discrimination – and thus risk discouraging her?

Recently, 15 year old Stephanie Lester wrote to comet co-discoverer Alan Hale to inquire about the prospects for a career in astronomy. Their correspondence comprises the article, "To Encourage
Young Girls? Or Not?" I respect Alan's efforts to use his fame to heighten awareness of employment and
other difficulties in the sciences. His correspondence with Stephanie is notable first because the very length of his correspondence with her is positive reinforcement for her interest and initiative. Second,
through Alan's personal perspective, the reader (at least this one) is stimulated to think about certain
areas science which need attention but which generally don't get it.

Finally, I announce my resignation as editor of Status. For various reasons, including the job situation in
astronomy, I have left the field. Many aspects of astronomy were not hard to part with. Editorship of
Status however was (in many ways) the most difficult thing to relinquish, and I put it off longer
than I should have. As I have said before, I think Status is an important publication and I hope that
you will continue to read this newsletter and to otherwise support it and the mission and goals of the
CSWA. Thank you for your support!

Back to January 1998 Contents

Back to STATUS Table of Contents