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Summary of the 2018 LPSC WiPS Event: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

July 2, 2018

A huge thanks to everyone who organized, presented at, and attended the 10th  Annual LPSC Women in Planetary Science Networking event!  The evening was a great discussion forum, and here we present some stories and summary strategies for combating impostor syndrome.


Example story – Imposter Syndrome in Graduate School:

There, I laid on my bed 8 consecutive days, not knowing how to place my feet on the ground and start my day. Eight days before, I was notified that I had passed my written comprehensive exam. This exam had haunted me for two years, through the course-work, through night and day, and day and night, in family vacations and in moments of solitude. I had passed this exam. However, instead of the joy and relief that news could have brought to me, it brought me immense sadness and unworthiness. My governing thought was they pitied me, they just passed me and I don’t have any right to be here because soon, they will figure out I am a fraud.

Ten days later, I called the counseling and testing center and was told about Impostor Syndrome, and was offered some self-compassion tips to deal with this.

This story is not atypical, and fortunately this student was able to receive some help, but many of us go through these types of feelings to variable degrees and with variable degrees of support.

The event started with Dr. Nicolle Zellner’s introduction about Dr. Susan Neibur and her contribution to the world as a scientist, mother, and wife. Dr. Carle Pieters shared a cartoon about Impostor Syndrome (See Fig: 1).


Figure 1 Cartoon sent by Dr. Carle Pieters

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Nominations for the GSA Ronald Greeley Award for Distinguished Service – due June 30th

June 18, 2018

Please considering nominating one of your colleagues for the Ronald Greeley Award for Distinguished Service by June 30th.

This award may be given to those members of the PGD (Planetary Geology Division of GSA), and those outside of the Division and GSA, who have rendered exceptional service to the PGD for a multi-year period. Send nominations for the award, which should include a description of what the nominee has given to the PGD community, to any of the PGD board members by June 30th. The award consists of a certificate signed by the Chair that will be presented at the Division’s Business Meeting/Awards Reception at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis (4-7 November).

 More information about the award and nomination process can be found here.

EGU Award Nominations Open – Due 15 June!

June 6, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to remind that Awards & Medals nominations for the year 2018 are currently open. The nominations of EGU medalists, as everything within EGU, is a bottom up process. Please consider  nominations for the following medals/awards specific to the PS Division:

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Call for Nominations: The Maggie C. Turnbull Astrobiology Early Career Service Award – due June 3

June 1, 2018

The conveners of the 2018 Astrobiology Graduate Conference and the Berkeley SETI Research Center are proud to announce the creation of a new early career community service award in honor of Dr. Maggie C. Turnbull, the founder of the Astrobiology Graduate Conference.

About Dr. Maggie C. Turnbull
Dr. Margaret “Maggie” C. Turnbull is an astrobiologist whose expertise is in identifying planetary systems that may be capable of supporting life as we know it. As a part of her dissertation, Maggie developed the Catalog of Habitable Stellar Systems (HabCat) with Dr. Jill Tarter for use in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

She is currently leading science teams nationwide to develop NASA missions to discover planets beyond our solar system. In 2004, Dr. Turnbull organized and convened the inaugural Astrobiology Graduate Student Conference on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tuscon, AZ; AbGradCon is now in its 14th year and serves as a fundamental event for the early career astrobiology community. She continues to serve both science and the public through advocacy on Capitol Hill and serving as an elected official in her local community. On April 24, 2018 Dr. Turnbull announced her candidacy for Governor of Wisconsin.

About the Award & the 2018 Selection Process

The purpose of this award is to honor those that exemplify the spirit of service within the early career astrobiology community. As this is a community award, the community will participate in the selection of the final candidate. Nominations will be accepted from members across the entire astrobiology community (self-nomination is not allowed) and then nominated candidates will be selected through a community online voting system. The nominees will be listed along with their nomination write-up on the AbGradCon website and community voting will commence during AbGradCon 2018. The awardee will be announced at the closing dinner of AbGradCon on Thursday June 7th, 2018. The awardee will be honored with a plaque and a monetary award of $1000.

Nominee Eligibility

Nominees for this new award must be either be a graduate student or a post-doc (within 3 years of their PhD) who are actively working in the field of astrobiology.

Call for Nominations
We are calling for nominations for candidates through June 3rd, 2018. We are asking that nominators send the name, title, and institutional affiliation of the nominee along with a brief nomination paragraph to Dr. Kennda Lynch ( by 11:59PMEastern time on June 3rd, 2018.

Volunteer Reviewers Needed for NASA Programs

May 1, 2018

The following was contributed by Dr. Max Bernstein, SMD Lead for Research at NASA Headquarters:

As the lead for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), I am often told by the NASA HQ folks who run the research programs that it’s a lot of work to find enough qualified proposal reviewers who are not conflicted. Similarly, it’s not uncommon for proposers who are unhappy with their evaluations to assert that the people who reviewed their proposal must have been unqualified. To solve both of these problems and, just as importantly, to increase the diversity of the pool of reviewers, I am writing this appeal to potential reviewers:

  • Please sign up using our web-based volunteer reviewer forms.
  • Each form asks for: 1) contact information 2) whether you are willing to be a panelist, mail-in reviewer, or executive secretary (good for graduate students and post docs who have never served as a reviewer before) and 3) identify specific technical areas of expertise.
  • There are many different technical areas depending on the program, from Solar Interior through Outer Heliosphere and the Interstellar Boundary in Heliophysics, from formation of the Solar System to technology development in planetary science, as well as Astrophysics data analysis and Earth Surface and Interior and Space Geodesy Programs.
  • Links to all of the forms may be found at:

Additionally, the SARA web page ( has all kinds of useful things like the program officers list, with a match up of the various research programs and their points of contact, a Grant Stats page where one can download an xls spreadsheet with numbers of proposals submitted and selected for various research programs, FAQs for ROSES (SMD’s annual research solicitation) and an RSS feed for the latest clarifications, corrections, and amendments to ROSES.


Bio: MaxPhotoDr. Max Bernstein studied good old-fashioned chemistry at McGill University and Cornell but got into space science right out of graduate school and never looked back. As the PI or Co-I on numerous NASA grants from the Astrobiology, Exobiology, PGG, and Origins of Solar Systems programs he supported himself and post-docs for a decade on R&A awards. Thus, he knows from personal experience, both as a soft money scientist and as a civil servant what it’s like to compete for funding, and how important it is for the proposal submission, review, and award pathway to be smooth. He is enthusiastic about NASA’s science research and proud to be helping to make it even better as SMD’s Research Lead.

In Memorium: Dr. Christine Floss – There are many definitions of success

April 23, 2018

The following was written by Dr. Maitrayee Bose, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Christine.  

141104_jaa_christine_floss_0219_760-300x200.jpgOn 18th April, Christine Floss, Research Professor in the Physics Department at Washington University in St. Louis and the McDonnel Center for Space Sciences died unexpectedly.

She played an influential role in my life. She taught me to think, read and write like a scientist. She taught me how to investigate an idea, step by step. She was intelligent, observant, organized and an excellent mentor. My first impressions of her, when I joined Washington University as a graduate student, was that of a successful career woman, who devoted her energy and time to her research and who was also enjoying her family life. She served as a role model for me.

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New Caroline Herschel Prize Lectureship for Early Career Astro-Scientists

April 2, 2018

The William Herschel and Royal Astronomical societies will celebrate
promising early-career female astro-scientists* with a new Caroline
Herschel prize: cash and two lectures.

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