Uniqueness is powerful. Be yourself.
I am committed to inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity, and experience, and believe it fosters a culture of creativity and drives innovative research. I seek to cultivate open, authentic workspaces and avenues of communication. I believe we do our best work in environments that foster acceptance of our differences and supports individuality. I am a resource, ally, and friend to those who seek one.
There are many aspects of inclusivity, equity, and diversity that are both relevant and important to advancing astronomy research, education, and community. In particular, I have focused my efforts on engaging and advancing women in science and serving as a role model and advocate for LGBT+ scientists. In this regard, I am generally guided by two basic principles:
To quote the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, "We all do better when we all do better". When we lift each other up, we benefit from a larger diversity and more creative ideas.
Inclusion empowers, engages, and enables innovation. When we nurture a culture where colleagues, collaborators, mentees, and students feel included and valued, they are more engaged and productive.
Women in Astronomy
I know I am equally passionate about leading innovative research as I am about teaching and mentoring young STEM students, especially those that don't identify as cisgendered males. As the only (cisgendered) female professor in the physics department during my visiting faculty position at Gustavus, I had the unique opportunity to mentor, motivate, and inspire young female-identifying students. I found that my students greatly benefited from having a trusted female role model and a safe listening space available to them. A major objective of my work is to continue to celebrate women in astronomy and encourage more female career astronomers. But, as a community, our aim must go beyond a female-focus. Women in astronomy face barriers that intersect with other forms of discrimination, such as racial, disability, and financial discrimination, such that a gender-only lens is insufficient. I therefore keep working to develop an intersectional, inclusive framework that lifts up all members of my community.
American Institute of Physics 2019 Report
Musings on Empowering Women in STEM
Women in Astronomy
Rubrics and Resources for a Diverse Faculty and Graduate
Women in Astronomy Resources
APS Effective Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Women in Physics
CUWiP - Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics
CSMA - AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy
CSWP - AIP Committee on the Status of Women in Physics
I am an openly bisexual member of the astronomy community and am listed on the Astronomy and Astrophysics Outlist. In this role, I aim to serve as a strong role model and ally for other LGBT+ scientists, who are still a minority community amongst astronomers and often find themselves marginalized in a variety of ways. I work to make my classroom, office, and academic department, in general, a welcoming and safe space that offers an escape from the general campus climate that often is perceived as significantly more discriminatory to LGBT+ persons, especially those who identify as transgendered. Beyond vulnerably presenting my full, authentic self, I accomplish this by choosing inclusive language, monitoring the nature of interactions, advertising anti-discrimination, promoting diversity, and enforcing a strict code of conduct. These are especially important for LGBT+ students because they are less likely to be visible than other minorities.
Serving sexual and gender minorities in physics
LGBT Climate in Physics: Building an Inclusive Community
LGBT+ Inclusivity in Physics and Astronomy: A Best Practices Guide
Outlist: A list of LGBTQIA+ members of the astronomical community
LGBTQ+ STEM: Improving LGBTQ+ visibility in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Collaboration Management Philosophy
As the PI of the COS Legacy Archive Spectroscopic SurveY (CLASSY), I am putting the values and principle discussed above to work. A primary goal of CLASSY is to be an inclusive, balanced science collaboration. From the beginning, we have formed our team to be gender balanced, with a female PI, 3 females of 6 co-PIs, and 15 females of 34 co-Is. Further, to ensure a diverse science team, the CLASSY co-Is include membership from 12 different countries and 5 different continents, as well as a range of seniority with membership from non-academics, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty alike. All CLASSY members have agreed to and will be held to a strict anti-discrimination and anti-harassment code of conduct. Additionally, I have established membership and collaboration policies that ensures inclusion of all interested members and their students in science working groups and publications, and encourages members of all levels to propose and lead science projects. As PI, I am dedicated to maintaining these goals and emphasizing the positive, inclusive, collaborative participation this is vital to the success of the CLASSY program.
IAU resources related to equity and diversity in astronomy
An interactive illustration of how subtle biases can create a segregated society
A tool to analyze the language in letters of recommendation for gender biases
Update 06.2021: The astronomy community has long struggled with its lack of diversity, especially with its startling low number of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), and has failed to make significant progress. Recently, due to the horrendous and continued police brutality of BIPOC, a sort of "white-awakening" movement has taken root. We (white people) are finally noticing the centuries-long outcries of disenfranchised BIPOCs and the systemic racism that is woven into our society. In our roles as scientists, it is not enough to focus on outreach and education to improve diversity and equity in our field, because the root of the problem is embedded so much deeper in the fabric of our culture and history. We must, therefore, acknowledge, better understand, and take active roles in our communities to address these deeper issues. Our mainstream culture has left us grossly uneducated, resulting in uniformed opinions and ideas that are likely even ignorant. We must devote intentional and ongoing study to engage meaningfully and learn tools that will allow us to dismantle the racial hierarchy that has pervaded all aspects of society, including academia. I am therefore developing a separate page of resources for myself and others to continue our education of and call to action addressing racial issues in astronomy.
Another major objective of my work is to continue to celebrate and encourage female and LGBT+ scientists, while also extending inclusivity efforts beyond binary identifiers. I seek to build an intersectional, inclusive framework in my place of work that supports broad diversity, including gender and orientation. There are several things that we can due to achieve this, including:
Engaging in campus- and department-sponsored programs.
Serving as a female scientist role model to students and mentees and establishing a multi-level support system. One of my goals is to build a diverse research group of undergrad, graduate students, and postdocs who will engage in and benefit from a pyramid-style of mentorship.
Serving as a female scientist role model to minority communities through outreach activities.
Serving as an organizer for my department’s seminar and colloquium series to prioritize inviting speakers of broad diversity.
Establishing a Diversity Journal Club to discuss relevant issues.
Organizing science/writing retreats for women graduate students where they will not only work on research projects in a safe, supportive, focused environment, but also be mentored by and network with successful female astronomers from other institutions.
Becoming an anti-discrimination and inclusivity advocate for my department and institution.
Establishing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies in my classrooms, research groups, and department.
If you have other ideas, I would love to hear them!