Strategies for improving diversity in the physical sciences

by Chris Crockett July 3, 2013

Despite a variety of efforts at all levels, minority representation in the sciences remains stagnant.  This was one of the take-home-messages at the (relatively) recent American Institute of Physics (AIP) annual Assembly of Society Officers. The assembly is an opportunity for member organizations (e.g., AAS) to come together and discuss common issues of concern. The […]


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GRE Scores are an Obstacle to Diversity in Graduate Admissions

by Guest April 22, 2013

This guest post from Keivan Stassun originally appeared as a message on the aas_panchromatic email list. Keivan is a Professor of Astronomy at Vanderbilt University. In addition to researching star formation, Keivan is actively involved with several initiatives to engage minorities in astronomy and space sciences. The aas_panchromatic list is an online discussion forum sponsored […]


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Let’s Discuss the NSF Portfolio Review Report

by Kelle August 17, 2012

In short, there’s not enough money allocated to the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to do everything the US astronomical community wants to do so some things need to go. In order to figure out what to cut, the NSF commissioned a “Portfolio Review” committee to take a good hard look. Yesterday, the result of […]


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Support Family Leave Policies for Grad Students and Postdocs

by Kelle December 21, 2011

In the interest of fully supporting the intellectual efforts of astronomy graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, Emily Freeland, Aaron Geller, Nick Murphy, Laura Trouille and the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy have created a petition to encourage the establishment of family leave policies by Astronomy Departments and Fellowship Committees. Widespread adoption […]


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Minimize Unconscious Bias in Recommendation Letters

by Kelle December 7, 2011

‘Tis the season for recommendation letter writing and a friendly reminder of an important issue that letter writers, readers, and requestors should all be aware of. (Also see last year’s Recommendation Letter Writing Round Up.) While writing letters is a task that is generally taken with great care for all mentees, there are some things […]


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Spectrum summarizes 2010 Decadal Survey’s approach towards minorities

by saurav February 6, 2011

The January issue (pdf) of the Spectrum, the newsletter of the AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy, summarizes the 2010 Decadal Survey Report’s (New Worlds, New Horizons, on Astronomy & Astrophysics) comments on minorities and what should be done in the next ten years to improve astronomy’s abysmal record. Given its length and unfamiliarity, […]


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Keeping Women in Science on a Tenure Track

by Jessica Lu January 11, 2011

Keeping Women in Science on a Tenure Track | NY Times Some shocking numbers regarding the impact of having children as a graduate student or a postdoc on chances of getting a faculty position and tenure. I like the quantitative nature of the study and they recommend specific actions. … women who are married with […]

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One Way to the Battle the Gender Gap in the Science Classroom

by Kelle December 29, 2010

Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation | Science In this randomized double-blind study, 399 students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the 15-week course. Values affirmation reduced the male-female performance and learning difference substantially and elevated women’s modal grades […]


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Recommendation Letter Writing Round Up

by Kelle December 21, 2010

‘Tis the season for writing letters so I thought I would highlight some resources: How Do You Write Effective Letters of Recommendation for Grad School Applicants? and 5 Principles for Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation for Grad School Applicants Post with useful comments and the roundup. Tips on Writing Letters of Recommendation Video from Oberlin […]


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Writing Better Recommendation Letters

by Kelle November 9, 2010

Two great links on writing recommendation letters. First, a post with some very general advice. A great place to start if you’re new to writing letters and/or you haven’t seen very many as a committee member: Writing Badass Letters of Recommendation | 3 x 3 in Cullowhee. (via Profahacker.) Second, an article describing the differences […]


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