Calling All Diversity Programs

Sarah Jane Schmidt is the Columbus Postdoctoral Fellow at Ohio State University. Her research focuses on ultracool dwarfs, but her post today is related to her work with the Pre-Major in Astronomy Program as a graduate student at the University of Washington.

There are a number of diversity programs run at different institutions, spanning a range of target demographics, methods, and funding strategies. I seem to be continually hearing of new ones, or newly hearing of long-running and successful programs. This is distressing: that means that every time someone wants to increase diversity at their own institution, they could get stuck re-inventing the wheel to start a new program. If we could instead share our strategies and learn from each other, we could increase the impact of our diversity programs.

If you are involved in a diversity program at your institution – or would like to know more about other diversity programs – here are two forums:

AstroBetter Wiki:I’ve taken the time to put a very short description of a number of diversity programs on the AstroBetter Wiki, many of them crowdsourced from the Facebook Diversity in Astronomy and Physics page. Please add information about any program or list additional programs!

AAS special session: In collaboration with current and former staff of the Pre-Major in Astronomy Program (Pre-MAP – run at the University of Washington), I’ve put together a special session at the AAS, jointly focused on talking about Pre-MAP (it is our 10th anniversary this year) and on bringing in guests to talk about “the diversity of diversity programs”. We have filled our oral session, but welcome poster contributions focused on diversity programs of any size and shape at any institution. If you’d like to contribute a poster, proceed with the abstract submission as usual, but under step 3, select “special session (accepting posters)” and then “Diversity with Pre-MAP.”

Remember – AAS abstracts are due on Oct 1!

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