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AAS/DPS Astronomy Ambassadors Outreach Workshop

August 16, 2014
Graduate students, postdocs, and early-career faculty and research scientists are invited to apply for an upcoming workshop providing training and resources for effective outreach to K-12 teachers and students, families, and the public. The workshop, based on the popular and successful AAS Astronomy Ambassadors program, will be offered all day Sunday, 9 November, at the 46th annual AAS Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting in Tucson, Arizona.
Participants will be introduced to discussion and questioning strategies, ways to avoid technical jargon, specific hands-on activities usable in a variety of settings, and ways of finding outreach partners in their own communities. They will also learn about and receive a set of written and electronic resources, including The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD and the MOOSE, or Menu of Outreach Opportunities for Science Education. Some of the discussion will focus on how to establish ongoing partnerships with local schools, museums, parks, fairs, and community centers. The workshop will include presenters from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the DPS.
The number of participants is limited. To apply, please complete the workshop application by Wednesday, 27 August. You will be notified of your acceptance by 9 September. We especially encourage applications from members of groups that are underrepresented in science as well as from those who are new to outreach.

Job Opportunity

August 13, 2014

This just in! If you are interested, please contact Michele Thornley ASAP. Good luck!

The Department of Physics & Astronomy at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, invites applications for an immediate opening for a one-year Visiting Assistant Professor position for the 2014/2015 academic year. Candidates are expected to have at minimum an ABD in physics, astronomy, or a related field. Successful applicants will demonstrate an interest in and potential for teaching and interacting effectively with students having a range of backgrounds, interests, and perspectives, and will be expected to teach at all levels of the undergraduate physics curriculum. Successful candidates will also demonstrate an ability to collaborate effectively with students and colleagues from a range of backgrounds, interests, and perspectives. The Physics & Astronomy Department comprises 12 permanent faculty and maintains a small teaching observatory.

To apply, please submit a curriculum vitae or resume, a statement that addresses your potential and experience as a teacher, a statement of scholarly interests, and the names and contact information for three references to the department chair, preferably by email:

Michele Thornley
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bucknell University
Lewisburg, PA 17837

Award Winners: Women in Planetary Science

July 3, 2014

Amelia Earhart Fellowship (Zonta)
Congratulations to Tanya Harrison! She is just one of 35 women, and the only planetary scientist this year, to be selected as a 2014 Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellow.  Tonya is a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario and studies mass movement processes – landslides – on Earth and Mars. In particular, she is interested in martian geomorphology and terrestrial analogues, spectroscopy, and glaciology; her PhD advisors are Dr. Gordon Osinski and Dr. Livio Tornabene. Previously, Tonya was a member of the science operations team for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) at Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS).  While working at MSSS, Tanya was interviewed by Susan Niebur in 2010. Tanya is also a professional photographer.

Read more…

WIPS Role Models Needed for Carnegie STEM Girls Initiative

June 26, 2014

The Carnegie STEM Girls initiative *desperately* needs women planetary scientist role models for their “outer space” theme!

Please circulate their request:
Carnegie STEM Girls initiative is looking for female STEM professionals to showcase in their “Livin’ It!” section at their site, designed to inspire tween and teen girls to see themselves in STEM careers. This site features profiles of women who are involved STEM fields, and answers some basic questions girls may have such as, “What’s a typical day like?” or “How do I start preparing now?”

To be featured as a role model, simply fill out this form <>, and send a photo of yourself. Here is an example of a role model profile:

Dr. Nicolle Zellner: Our scientific training makes us valuable

June 15, 2014

Interview with Dr. Nicolle Zellner

Nicolle.Zellner.2012.headshotDr. Zellner’s research involves understanding the impact history of the Earth-Moon system. She studies the geochemical and chronological information obtained from lunar impact glasses in order to understand how many impact events the lunar surface has suffered. This information can then be applied to understanding the impact rate in the Solar System in general, as well as how impact events may have affected life’s origin and evolution on Earth in particular. She is also interested in understanding how biomolecules are transferred among planetary bodies, such as via comet or asteroid impacts, and how their chemistry may change in an impact event.

Read more…

Congratulations to new (and not so new) Graduates!

June 1, 2014

Dear WIPS Blog Readers,

The last time we had a graduation celebration post was back in May of 2011, so we are long overdue for a new one.  Here are graduates (both PhD and Masters as a final degree) from the last few years.

Thanks to all of those who contributed to this list – special thanks to Lilian Ostrach for going above and beyond to find names and thesis titles :).

 Congratulations graduates! 

Read more…

Advice to Students: Preparing for Your Career

May 26, 2014

[guest post by Ingrid Daubar]

A few days ago, incoming graduate student Alessondra Springmann asked a great question of the Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration Facebook group:

What things did you do in grad school (aside from research and classes and conferences) that best prepared you for postdocs and your career?”

Many people chimed in with excellent advice that is widely applicable, so we decided to compile it for posterity. Add your own tips in the comments!

One of the common themes was that as students, you should be thinking about your long- term goals, and build skills that will be useful for your ideal position. For example, if you are interested in teaching, get experience writing and giving lectures, not just grading homework. If you plan on being a scientist, start thinking of yourself as a scientist now – don’t just do research, but also write proposals and review papers. If you see yourself heading in an academic or administrative direction, get positions that will give you insight into how university bureaucracies function such as grad student representative or student government. Think about ways you can develop skills that could also work in an industry or private sector position. Practice speaking in public, which will be useful in almost any position. Read more…


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