List of Past BANG Seminars : 01-Jan-2015 to 01-Jun-2015

Date:   Thu 29-Jan-2015
Speaker:   Christina Richey (NASA HQ)
Title:  General NASA Proposal Writing Tips and Career Conversation with NASA HQ Discipline Scientist

This career seminar will quickly cover tips for writing proposals to the NASA’s Science Mission Directorate through ROSES (Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences), as well as a career conversation about the roles, responsibilities, and daily activities of Discipline Scientists at NASA HQ. It will also include career advice for those looking towards both traditional and non-traditional careers in planetary science, astronomy, and/or astrophysics.

Date:   Thu 05-Feb-2015
Speaker:   Kim-yen Nguyen (Ooma)
Title:   "From Telescopes to Telephony: Transitioning to a Silicon Valley Startup"

Date:   Thu 12-Feb-2015
Speaker:   Carolyn Parker (JHU)
Title:  Strategies that Support the Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented Students in the STEM Fields

The need for educated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers is at an all time high. However, according to the organization Change the Equations, the United States is currently ranked twenty-seventh in the developed world for producing STEM college graduates. When one considers these bleak statistics, it is critical to recruit and retain more students in STEM, particularly students from populations that have been historically underrepresented in STEM. Given the acute need to diversify the STEM professions, what can educators do to encourage historically underrepresented students to pursue STEM fields? Dr. Parker will present the results of an innovative professional development program for university faculty and discuss key takeaways.

Date:   Thu 19-Feb-2015
Speaker:   Various
Title:  Beyond Academia Career Panel (Women in Physics at the University of Maryland)

Women in Physics at the University of Maryland invite you to a panel discussion of physics careers outside academia. Join us to discuss job searches, job experiences, and career paths with our panelists: Reba Bandyopadhyay AAAS/APS Congressional Science & Technology Policy Fellow

Tatjana Curcic Program Officer for Atomic and Molecular Physics at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Cindy Hollies High School Physics Teacher at Quince Orchard High School

Ben Stein Director of "Inside Science" at the American Institute of Physics

Charlie Tahan Staff Scientist at the Laboratory for Physical Sciences

Moderated by Ayush Gupta, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Physics The panel discussion will start with light refreshments at 5:00 pm followed by introductions from our panelists. After the following question and answer session, there will be time for networking at the end of the event.

Would you like the opportunity to network with our panelists after the event? RSVP to the panel on Facebook or by e-mailing us and you'll be entered for a chance to join them at dinner! Dinner will be provided for free to the winners of this contest. Those who suggest a question for the panel (see below) will have their names listed twice in the drawing for this great opportunity for continued discussion. All RSVPs and questions must be received by February 13, 2015 to be eligible. Winners will be announced on February 17, 2015.

We would like some of our questions to come from the audience — what is it you would like to know about non-academic careers? Leave us a comment on the Facebook post below or send an e-mail to

Date:   Thu 02-Apr-2015
Speaker:   Lori Feaga, Brian Morsony, Ashlee Wilkins
Title:  Group Discussion

We will be discussing the following pieces:

1. "The Gender Breakdown of the Applicant Pool for Tenure-Track Faculty Positions at a Sample of North American Research Astronomy Programs" by Professor Todd Thompson (OSU Astronomy):

2. "What are we missing by living in a world where only the Marie Curie’s make it through?" a guest blog post by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (MIT Kavli Institute/Department of Physics Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow):

3. "The 5 Biases Pushing Women out of STEM" by Professor Joan C. Williams (UC Hastings Law), for the Harvard Business Review:

Members of the Diversity Committee will serve as facilitators, first by briefly presenting the three pieces, and then by leading a discussion about them, the issues they raise, and how those issues fit into the context of astronomy and this department.

Date:   Fri 10-Apr-2015
Speaker:   Bob Hanisch (NIST)
Title:  Distinguished Alumnus Seminar

Dr. Robert J. Hanisch directs NIST's Office of Data and Informatics (ODI). Dr. Hanisch was previously a Senior Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Baltimore, Maryland, and the Director of the U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory, a program funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Over the past twenty years Dr. Hanisch has led many efforts in the astronomy community in the area of information systems and services, focusing particularly on efforts to improve the accessibility and interoperability of data archives and catalogs. He was the first chair of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance Executive Committee (2002-2003) and continues as a member of the IVOA Executive. From 2000 to 2002 he served as Chief Information Officer at STScI, overseeing all computing, networking, and information services for the Institute. Prior to that he had oversight responsibility for the Hubble Space Telescope Data Archive and led the effort to establish the Multimission Archive at Space Telescope (MAST) as the optical and UV archive center for NASA astrophysics missions. He completed his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1981 at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Date:   Mon 13-Apr-2015
Speaker:   Professor Jim Gates (UMCP Physics)
Title:  Equity Versus Excellence: A False Dichotomy in Science and Society

This presentation discusses the ethos and ethics on the role of diversity in fostering the innovation required in rapidly evolving systems.

Date:   Thu 23-Apr-2015
Speaker:   TBA
Title:   TBA

Date:   Thu 30-Apr-2015
Speaker:   Maggie McAdam (UMCP)
Title:   TBA

Date:   Fri 08-May-2015
Speaker:   Joan Schmelz (NSF/Memphis)
Title:  Unconscious Bias in Hiring, Promotions, and Tenure

We all have biases, and we are (for the most part) unaware of them. Unconscious bias is NOT prejudice. In fact, men and women both unconsciously devalue the contributions of women. This can have a detrimental effect on grant proposals, job applications, and performance reviews. Sociology is way ahead of astronomy in these studies. For example, when evaluating identical application packages, male and female university psychology professors preferred 2:1 to hire "Brian" over "Karen" as an assistant professor. When evaluating a more experienced record, at the point of promotion to tenure, reservations were expressed four times more often about Karen than about Brian. This unconscious bias has a repeated negative effect on Karen's career (Steinpreis, Anders, & Ritzke 1999, Sex Roles, 41, 509). In this talk, I will introduce the concept of unconscious bias, review the studies that uncovered it, and give recommendations on how to address it. The process of eliminating unconscious bias begins with awareness, then moves to policy and practice, and ends with accountability. If you want to know more about unconscious bias, or think you couldn't possibly be biased, try taking the Harvard Implicit Associatioin Test: (Instructions: scroll down, Click "I wish to proceed." Select "Gender -- Science IAT." Instruction will pop up. Click to begin.)

Date:   Thu 11-Jun-2015
Speaker:   Britt Lundgren (Wisconsin)
Title:  The SDSS-IV in 2014: A Demographic Snapshot

Many astronomers now participate in large international scientific collaborations, and it is important to examine whether these structures foster a healthy scientific climate that is inclusive and diverse. The Committee on the Participation of Women in the SDSS was recently formed to evaluate the demographics and gender climate within the SDSS-IV, one of the largest and most geographically distributed astronomical collaborations. I will present an overview of the work done by this committee over the past two years, and discuss the findings from our recently published report (the first of its kind), which examines the demographics and paths to leadership within the SDSS-IV collaboration.

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