AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 28, 2011
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1. Advice for an Anonymous Individual

2. The Life Scientific: Jocelyn Bell-Burnell

3. Offensive Article in Nature

4. Professional Development at AAS 219 in Austin 

5. Women in Science: The Gender Divide Remains

6. White House Video with Advice for Young Women Interested in Science 

7. Program Inspiring Young Women to Discover Science

8.  How to Submit to the AASWOMEN Newsletter

9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN Newsletter

10. Access to Past Issues of the AASWOMEN Newsletter

1. Advice for an Anonymous Individual
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

[The editors of the AASWOMEN newsletter received this query from an individual
who wished to remain anonymous. Please send replied to the address above - Eds.]

On the heels of a question earlier this year about dealing with sexual
harassment and other unwanted behaviors, there was a lot of discussion about how
to address it in the professional environment, and about the ongoing challenges
of doing so. But there is another side to this: the woman or man who has to live
with what has happened to her or him. What if you have been a victim of unwanted
sexual behavior/abuse and need to deal with the emotional aspects of the fall
out? What if you don't want to leave the field? How do you handle it? Astronomy
is a small world; it can be hard to escape the aggressor. I'm not sure there is
an easy answer here, besides go to therapy (which is fraught with its own issues
-- a therapist may not understand the academic world and may not be affordable
for an undergraduate or postdoc). A naive suggestion comes to mind -- which is
that there ought to be a help line for professional and academic women and men
who have survived these situations. Does anyone know of one?

2. The Life Scientific: Jocelyn Bell-Burnell
From: Claire Foullon [claire.foullon@warwick.ac.uk]

You may like to listen to this 30-min BBC radio interview of Jocelyn
Bell-Burnell, which was broadcasted recently:




3. Offensive Article in Nature
From: AASWOMEN editors

Several people have pointed out this offensive article in Nature:


One wonders what the editors were thinking! If you would like to let Nature know
what you think about this article, the list of editors is here:


[There is a comment thread appended to the on-line article, too. - Webmaster]

4. Professional Development at AAS 219 in Austin 
From: L. Trouille_at_Women_in_Astronomy_Blog, Oct 25, 2011

Guest post by Kelle Cruz, AAS Employment Committee

The 219th AAS Meeting in Austin, TX from January 8-12, 2012 is coming up, and as
continued tradition, thanks to the growing community involvement and NSF
funding, professional development workshops, seminars, and special sessions will
once again be offered. This year, more than ever!

The interactive workshops offered on Sunday are:

-Becoming a more effective research mentor;
-Structuring your scientific paper;
-Science tools for data intensive astronomy.

On Monday, there are two Career Workshops. On Tuesday, there will be a workshop
on Personal Finance in Turbulent Times. 

In addition, special sessions will be held on the following arenas:

-Giving better oral presentations;
-Increasing diversity in your departments;
-Professional ethics in astronomy;
-Working in space policy;
-The astrophysics post-doc job market;
-Careers in media for scientists.

There will also be a career panel on Monday discussing various career paths.

5. Women in Science: The Gender Divide Remains
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Prihatha Narasimmaraj, a staff writer for the Daily Princetonian, published this 
article on Oct 21:

University President Shirley Tilghman still remembers her freshman physics lab.

"We were working with a vacuum tube, and, like a foolish person, I touched it
and got an electric shock," Tilghman recalled. "The professor happened to be
walking by and said, 'That's why there are no girls in physics.' "

She could have brushed off the comment, though it stung. But the fact remained
that, for Tilghman and her female peers, "those kinds of things happened - not
every day, but enough that if you didn't believe you had the capacity to be a
female scientist, they would start breaking you down."

Since becoming University president in 2001 - the first woman to do so, and only
the second in the Ivy League - Tilghman has devoted a significant amount of
attention to the issue she faced as a college student and budding scientist: the
dearth of women in science and engineering disciplines.

At the University and across the nation, the number of women in science and
engineering fields has continued to climb in recent years. While the Class of
1973 graduated only one woman from the School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences, Class of 2015 female enrollment in the B.S.E. program currently stands
at 38 percent, according to Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs at the
School of Engineering and Applied Science Peter Bogucki. In the molecular
biology and ecology and evolutionary biology departments, female students
sometimes outnumber males. 

To read more:


6. White House Video with Advice for Young Women Interested in Science 
From: WIPHYS for Oct 27, 2011

The White House has published a video with advice for young women interested in
science. The Presidential Early Career Scientists and Engineer Honorees share
their advice to young women interested in getting involved in Science,
Engineering, Math or Technology. View the video here:


7. Program Inspiring Young Women to Discover Science
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Karen Kucher wrote this article for Sign On San Diego on Oct 24:

Julia Roche has examined ultrasound images and counted sperm at an in-vitro
fertilization clinic. She's worked with robots and helped study how a protein
found in sea urchin embryos could lead to patients getting lower doses of

Julia, 17, was able to have such rich, hands-on experiences not at her high
school but through a special program in San Diego County that encourages young
women to go into science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Girls apply for the BEWiSE program when they are in middle school and
participate in Saturday workshops and summer camp programs through the end of
high school. 

Students work closely with medical doctors, renowned researchers and hi-tech
professionals, many of whom are women, to not only learn science but to gain
inspiration for their futures.

To read more:


8. How to Submit

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send email to

aaswomen_at_aas.org .

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address.

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe

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If you experience any problems, please email itdept_at_aas.org

10. Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.


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End of AASWList Digest, Vol 56, Issue 4