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The Confidence Gap – Excellent Summary

April 17, 2014

In the last few years the number of research articles/books/popular articles about women in traditionally male dominated fields (science, leadership in large companies, etc.) has been on the rise – it has become a hot topic!

Every journal and magazine seems to want to publish on this topic.  Some pieces are more sensational or more anecdotal than others, but I am always looking for good summaries of related research.  The following article in the Atlantic mentions many of the topics that I have seen swirling around the women in science world lately, so I thought I would pass it on.

(It is a bit long, but well worth the read – I might even suggest reading it in sections, there is a lot of info to absorb!)


The authors are Claire Shipman, a reporter for ABC News, and Katty Kay, the anchor of BBC World News America. In two decades of covering American politics, they have interviewed some of the most influential women in the nation. They were surprised to discover the extent to which these women suffered from self-doubt, which inspired them to research and write their book:



Planetary Meeting Travel Grants (PhD students)

April 11, 2014

Uwinga will award 10-15 travel grants, up to $1500 each, to graduate students studying planetary science and/or exoplanets and completing their PhDs in 2014.

Applications are due no later than  April 30, 2014, and you can find the application form here

Student travel funding to 8th International Conference on Mars

April 8, 2014

NASA’s Mars Program Office has announced that travel funding awards are available for ~15–20 students. Students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, and who are engaged in Mars-related research, are eligible for this program. An application (including a submitted abstract) must be submitted by April 11 to be considered for this funding (note the abstract deadline for everybody else is April 24). NASA Headquarters will make the selections and students will be notified in May. For more information and the application, see Questions about this program should be directed to Serina Diniega.

Interesting AAAS Webinar on April 8th – Finding a Fulfilling Non-Research Career

March 25, 2014

Is there life beyond the lab? Yes! There are now more non-research jobs for STEM professionals than ever before-in private industry, government, nonprofit, journalism, grants management, analytics, and a host of emerging career paths. Learn the mix of skills and experience you need to launch a satisfying non-research career in this AAAS webinar, “Thinking Outside the Lab” on April 8 from 1-2 pm ET.Science Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt, Lori Conlan, Director of the NIH Office of Postdoctoral Studies, and Anish Goel (2002-03 Congressional Fellow in the US Senate and 2003-5 Executive Branch Fellow at State Department) Director of Market Analysis and Geopolitical Affairs at Boeing, will talk about their experiences, examine a range of career options open to STEM professionals, and discuss the analytic and communication skills needed for these kinds of roles.

Register here:

Harassment or just clean “fun”?

March 14, 2014

As a member of the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA), I probably think more often now about issues involving women in the sciences, from the “leaky pipeline” to hiring to mentoring to retention to visibility at conferences, etc.  (I’ll admit to counting the number of female speakers and session chairs at LPSC.)  I wonder if (or how often) any of my colleagues are personally affected by stereotype threat, unconscious bias, impostor syndrome, or just plain outright discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

What I don’t usually think about is harassment at conferences, whether it be the touchy-feely/standing-too-close type or something like epitaphs, racial slurs, or derogatory comments, though it probably happens.  These recent Women in Astronomy posts about socializing at conferences and meeting known offenders made me think that, perhaps, not all of our colleagues understand what “conference etiquette” means.  I don’t mean to offend anyone or to imply that any of our male colleagues are prone to this kind of behavior, but I think we all need to be aware. Says one member of the planetary science community, “For better or worse I don’t know of any ‘serial harassers’ in particular in our community but that absolutely does not mean they aren’t there.”

This year’s Susan Niebur Women’s Networking Event (Wednesday, 5-6 pm, Montgomery Ballroom) will focus on anti-harassment policies.  You can see the agenda here.  Senior members of our community who are in positions to deal with harassment claims will be in attendance, including Dr. Tim Swindle (LPL), Dr. Steven Mackwell (LPI), Dr. Mark Sykes (PSI), Dr. Eileen Stansbury (NASA JSC), and Dr. Bonnie Buratti (JPL).  If you have any questions that you’d like to see addressed, please submit them on this Google form or feel free to comment below.  Please know that men are welcome to attend.
If you are unable to attend the LPSC event and would like more information about NASA’s anti-harassment policies, please see the transcript of the talk by Christina Richey, who summarized them at the 2012 DPS WIPS lunch.

Career Resources to Share

February 24, 2014

Planetary science has always been a competitive field. Times with declining and uncertain budgets are particularly challenging.  Here are some career resources to share.  Please add your favorites as well!

Some of the below are focused around academic jobs, while others offer advice on getting a job outside of academe.  They all have general professional development resources that might be helpful.  Some of these links contain a lot of information, so try searching for something you are particularly interested in.

Read more…

Announcing the 2014 Susan Niebur Women in Planetary Science networking event at LPSC!

February 19, 2014

Dear WIPS Blog Readers,

We are pleased to share the details about the upcoming Women in Planetary Science event at LPSC (below).  Please forward this invitation to interested colleagues.  This is a serious topic, and we plan to have a constructive discussion and raise awareness about both the fact that harassment of various forms occurs, and that there are steps someone can take if they are experiencing harassment.  This is absolutely an issue that affects everyone in our community, so we hope many people will come and share the insights.

You do not need to register in advance this year, but we will post a summary on this blog after the event, so check back if you are not already signed up to receive notifications of new posts :).

Annual Susan Niebur Women in Planetary Science networking event at LPSC!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014, 5:00–6:00 pm

Montgomery Ballroom (3rd Floor), Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel (conference hotel)


5:00 – 5:30  Anti-Harassment Policies: The Workplace and Conferences, Christina Richey, Program Officer & Senior Scientist, NASA HQ and Smart Data Solutions, LLC

5:30 – 5:50 Discussion in small groups

5:50 – 6:00  Group summary

6:00            Break into groups as desired for discussion and/or dinner off-site

As always, all are welcome regardless of gender.

Questions can be posted in advance, anonymously if desired, at:

Due to time and funding constraints, this year’s event won’t be catered, but several people will be available afterwards for discussion and questions, possibly as smaller groups over dinner.

More information and resources for planetary scientists available on

Topic:  Anti-Harassment Policies: The Workplace and Conferences

Harassment, as defined by NASA policy, is any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct, based on an individual’s race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent, or gender identity, which can reasonably be considered to adversely affect the work environment or an employment decision affecting the employee based upon the employee’s acceptance or rejection of such conduct. The definition of harassment can differ from work place to work place, but the primary element within each definition is unwelcomed behavior that negatively impacts a person or work environment. As scientists, we network at various venues for our work, including conferences. The issue of harassment is still a serious concern for scientists, particularly at conferences. This presentation will define harassment and highlight the types of harassment that are frequently encountered by scientists. We will discuss methods for dealing with harassment issues, from minor altercations to serious issues.  The presentation will provide mitigating techniques for minor cases and suggest ways to help others when you see harassment occurring. It will also provide advice for documenting harassment, discussing harassment with someone you trust, and reporting harassment.  Community leaders available to assist as needed will be identified, as well as the conference organizers of LPSC, who are there to ensure LPSC is a safe and comfortable environment for everyone and will work with anyone who has encountered harassment while attending the conference.

For information, please contact event co-chairs Zibi Turtle (elizabeth.turtle  at, Nicolle Zellner (nzellner at and Kelsi Singer (kelsi.singer at


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