AAS 2018 Election

American Astronomical Society Election Ballot 2018 - Voting Ends on 31 January 2018 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time Zone)

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Current time: Tuesday, 11 December 2018, 06:21:35 pm EST (-05:00 GMT)

Voting opened: Thursday, 14 December 2017, 12:00:00 am EST (-05:00 GMT)
Voting closed: Wednesday, 31 January 2018, 11:59:59 pm EST (-05:00 GMT)

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Nominating Committee

Description: The Nominating Committee prepares slates of candidates for Officers and Trustees as specified in the Bylaws.
Term Elected For: 3 years
Currently Serving:
  • Doris Daou (Feb 2017 - Feb 2020)
  • Anthony H. Gonzalez (Feb 2015 - Feb 2018)
  • Stella Kafka (Feb 2016 - Feb 2019)
  • Patricia Knezek (Feb 2016 - Feb 2019)
  • Knut A. Olsen (Feb 2015 - Feb 2018)

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Eric G. Hintz


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Associate Professor

Degrees and Education

Brigham Young University (1995)

Affiliations

Brigham Young University

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

This is a very difficult question in many ways. I started out in pulsation variable stars as an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University and had planned to continue that type work in graduate school. However, I worked with a new faculty member when I got to graduate school who worked on voids and large scale structure. My current work has moved back more towards variable stars with again a wide range of targets. I work on delta Scuti, Cepheids, transiting planets, HMXB, and other variable emission line stars. Even while working on these primary targets I still get pulled back into extra galactic work on variable AGN's and other related projects. Clearly I have a tendency to chase anything that varies in brightness. Beyond my traditional astronomy research I also work on a number of projects related to Astronomy Education. I am most interested in the effective use of a planetarium in teaching. This led to two primary projects; 1) effective ways of teaching constellation plus what students already know before coming to class, and 2) accommodation of deaf students in a planetarium using head-mounted displays.

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • AAS Agent (2013 - present)

Professional Experience and Positions

  • American Association of Physics Teachers - Space Science and Astronomy Committee (2010-2012)

Candidate Statement

In many cases being a jack-of-all-trades isn't a desirable title and clearly from my wide research interests that title might apply to me. However, I think when it comes to a position on the nominating committee those wide interests will serve me well. Working in distinctly different areas of astronomical research and in astronomy education research gives be a wide view of the astronomical community. It gives me the ability to see the big picture and that should help in the process of providing a diverse pool of candidates so that all view points can be represented. My goal would be that everyone would feel represented by the candidates the nominating committee would put forth. It is not that everyone gets everything that they want, but that they always feel their voice was heard. I want us to be able to all stand behind our AAS President (and other officers).

An experience from my undergraduate days will help me again be inclusive. At Case Western Reserve University there were separate Physics and Astronomy departments. I did a strange thing by double majoring. This led to me being a bit of an outcast in both departments. To the physicists I was an astronomer. To the astronomers I was a physicist. I never felt fully accepted by either side. I really don't want anyone to be compartmentalized in that way.

At BYU we have a long tradition of working with undergraduate research students throughout our entire department. I have been bringing undergraduates to present at AAS meetings for many years. Therefore I have a strong commitment to making sure that choices that are made by the society will not adversely impact the students. As is often said during the undergraduate opening social, they are the future of the society. I've been very impressed over the last few years with efforts to make the AAS meeting an even better experience for students.

Finally, my education research has really opened by eyes to needs that exist in taking science to a broader audience. I learned so much from the deaf members of our research team. It taught me to always take a step back and look at things as others see them. At times during our project we would think we knew what people needed, only to find out we were completely wrong. We learned to ask what someone needed, not try to tell them what they needed. I hope to bring all that I learned to this position.

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Joshua Pepper


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Assistant Professor

Degrees and Education

The Ohio State University (2007)

Affiliations

Lehigh University

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Exoplanets
  • Variable stars
  • Wide-field surveys
  • Time domain astronomy

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • AAS Agent (2013-present)

Professional Experience and Positions

  • American Association of Variable Star Observers (2014-present)
  • Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Science Team (2012-present)
  • Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, Transiting Exoplanet subgroup of T/VS Working Group, chair (2012-present)
  • Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope Survey, director and co-PI (2004-present)
  • Hotwiring the Transient Universe Conference, Scientific Organizing Committee (2016)
  • Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, Variable Stars subgroup of MW/SP/LV Working Group, co-chair (2012-2014)
  • Planet Formation Imager, Planetary Architectures Working Group, chair (2014-2015)
  • Kepler External Users' Panel (2010-2012)
  • Kepler Eclipsing Binary Working Group (2010-2015)
  • Sagan Summer Workshop, Scientific Organizing Committee (2012)

Candidate Statement

The AAS has a diverse membership across many dimensions. We study phenomena over enormous ranges of sizes, energies, and timescales. We work at colleges and universities, observatories and laboratories, institutes and on our own. As individuals we have various backgrounds, experiences, heritage, and languages. Amidst our various origins and circumstances, we are working to support each other and the broader scientific community to produce knowledge and make sense of the universe. That enterprise is most successful when we are able to communicate readily with each other and articulate our needs and goals. Our officers should have the ability and drive to represent all members, from big institutions to small, and to be a voice for those who are not often heard. I will work to ensure that a diverse set of perspectives are represented within the leadership of the society, especially as we transition into a new governance structure. I would be hon ored to serve the community as a member of the nominating committee.

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Jeremy J. Drake


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Senior Astrophysicist

Degrees and Education

University of Oxford (1989)

Affiliations

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • High energy stellar physics, star formation and evolution, protoplanetary disks
  • Solar physics
  • Stellar atmospheres, stellar compositions, stellar coronae, magnetic activity and rotation
  • Exoplanets, star-planet interaction, interdisciplinary research
  • Cataclysmic variables and novae
  • High Energy Astrophysics, high resolution astrophysical X-ray and EUV spectroscopy, EUV and X-ray instrumentation
  • Atomic data; spectroscopic plasma diagnostics and emission models

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • AAS member since 1990
  • AAS SPD member since 1995
  • AAS HEAD member since 1995

Professional Experience and Positions

  • Service on numerous telescope time allocation committees and NASA program and proposal review committees
  • Service for several international agencies and advisory committees, including the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, European Research Council, Austrian Science Fund, Italian Space Agency, Czech Research Council, US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Indian Institute of Astrophysics
  • Associate Editor of the Journal of Scientific Exploration

Candidate Statement

Working with a broad spectrum of people, from high school students on up, has taught me that talent to lead, inspire and innovate can come from anywhere - scientists with different experience levels in universities and colleges small and large, government institutes, research laboratories and even the private sector. The key is to recognize it, and make sure that the leadership our society needs reflects not just its current membership but also the future diversity we strive for. Those who have already gained recognition in one way or another can be obvious candidates. But the challenge that is seldom met and that I would like to tackle is also to look beyond the obvious rubric and beyond the loudest voices. I work with a major observatory, dealing on a day-to-day basis with our broad community and trying to maximize the scientific gain from the mission. I would like to do this for the AAS mission too.

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Vice-President

Description: The Vice-Presidents, as representatives of the Board of Trustees, are responsible for the overall scientific content of the Society's major meetings. They select invited speakers, review proposals for special sessions, and support and advise the Executive Officer in maintaining the scientific quality of the program.
Term Elected For: 3 years
Currently Serving:
  • Chick Woodward, Senior Vice-President
  • James D. Lowenthal, Second Vice-President
  • Michael Strauss, Third Vice-President

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Joan Schmelz


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Arecibo Observatory Deputy Director

Degrees and Education

Penn State (1987)

Affiliations

Universities Space Research Association (USRA)

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

I have published papers on a variety of astronomical subjects including stars, galaxies, interstellar matter, and the Sun. This research involved observations in the radio, infrared, optical, UV, and X-ray astronomy; in fact in every band of the spectrum except gamma rays. I have used both ground-based and space-based telescopes. I have worked in academia, at NASA and NSF, and my current position is with USRA, an independent nonprofit research corporation, operating the Arecibo Observatory.

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy: Chair (2009-15); member (2004-15)
  • AAS Nominating Committee Chair (2012-13); member (2010-13)
  • CSWA STATUS Magazine Acquisitions Editor (2011-present)
  • CSWA newsletter: AASWOMEN Editor (2005-12)
  • Women in Astronomy Blogspot Blogger (2009-16)
  • AAS Solar Physics Division Annual Meeting Chair LOC and SOC (1995)
  • AAS Solar Physics Division Treasurer (2001-10)
  • AAS Solar Physics Division Annual Meeting SOC (2003)

Professional Experience and Positions

  • NSF Mathematics and Physics Sciences Directorate Broadening Participation Working Group Chair (2014-15); Member (2013-15)
  • COSPAR Commission E: Astrophysics Vice Chair (2010-16)
  • COSPAR SubCommission E.2: Sun as at Star Chair (2006-10)
  • COSPAR 2008 Program Committee Commission E Representative (2007)
  • COSPAR, Scientific Session Deputy Organizer (2002)
  • NASA Space Sciences Senior Review Panel Member (2003)
  • COSPAR International Meeting, Scientific Session Deputy Organizer (2004)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, Astro2010 DemographicsStudy Group
  • NASA Solar-Heliophysics Mission Operations Working Group (2008-10)
  • Coronal Loops IV Workshop – Florence, Italy SOC Chair (2009)
  • Coronal Loops V Workshop – Mallorca, Spain SOC Member (2011)
  • Coronal Loops Workshop Steering Committee Member (2010-12)
  • 7th Hinode Science Meeting – Takayama, Japan SOC member (2013)

Candidate Statement

I have been an AAS member since 1982 and consider it to be my professional home. The organization can boast of many successes, but it also faces challenges – inclusion, jobs, funding. As the Deputy Director of Arecibo Observatory, I see the struggle for rare research dollars every day. As a former NSF program officer, I worked with students and postdocs as they navigated the job market. As Chair of CSWA, I was rewarded with the knowledge that I had made a difference in the lives of many women struggling with sexual harassment. My efforts were recognized by NATURE who listed me as one of 10 scientists who made a difference in 2015. With the honor of your vote, I will continue to fight to create a professional environment for all astronomers, and I will work to position the AAS and the astronomy community as we prepare for Astro 2020. Throughout my career I have always tried to make a difference, for my students, for my organization, and for my profession. As your VP I will strive to make a difference in the lives of all our members by making the society the best that it can be.

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Stephen C. Unwin


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Principal Scientist

Degrees and Education

Cambridge University (1980)

Affiliations

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Extrasolar planets and stellar debris disks
  • Space-based instrumentation and mission development for astronomy
  • Science policy

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • AAS Council (2014-2017)
  • AAS Task Force on Meetings (Chair 2015-2016)
  • Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy (CAPP) (2015-2017)
  • Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) Committee (2000-2002 and 2006-2007) (Chair 2006-2007)
  • DDA Brouwer Award Selection Committee (Chair 2010)
  • Division member of DDA and DPS
  • AAS Agent (2016-present)

Professional Experience and Positions

  • Member of US National Committee of the IAU (2016-2019)
  • NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program, Deputy Program Scientist (2005-2015)
  • JPL Center for Exoplanet Science, Deputy Director (2005-2011)
  • NASA proposal review panels (1994, 1998-1999, 2011-2017)
  • NASA Keck Time Allocation Committee (2013)
  • NSF Management Review Committee of Arecibo Observatory (2007)
  • NSF proposal reviewer (2000-2005)
  • NASA Space Interferometry Mission, Deputy Project Scientist (2000-2010)
  • Arecibo Users Committee (2000-2003, Chair 2003)
  • NRAO Users Committee (1992-1995, Chair 1995)

Candidate Statement

I am honored to be a candidate for Vice President. I want to help the AAS with many challenges that it faces. Astronomers should be able to look to the AAS as the public face our profession. The AAS serves a vital role in addressing issues that affect astronomy, but which are hard to influence when we act only as individuals. The national environment is continually changing and it is essential for the AAS to adapt and remain effective when faced with national policies that impact the field over the long term.

Effective two-way communication -- keeping members informed, and listening to and reflecting the interests of members -- is central to the future of the AAS. How should the AAS communicate with, and listen to, its membership in the age of social media and instant reaction to events? How to make our winter and summer meetings more valuable to members? How best to support and serve the disciplines within our Society (HEAD, DPS, etc.)? What is the right balance, for agencies like NSF and NASA, between support for current research vs. investment in future instrumentation and missions? The (low) section rates for proposals trace directly to this question.

A specific task of AAS vice presidents is to plan the annual winter and summer meetings. As VP, I will work hard to meet the expectations for attendees: sharing our research, learning about new fields through exciting invited talks, networking for new science collaborations, career advice, professional development, etc. While on the AAS Council I chaired a Task Force to identify how to improve the meetings. We reached out with a large survey to the membership, asking about cost, location, meeting size, agenda planning, invited talks, side meetings, etc. AAS staff are using the Report as guidance in meeting planning. I will continue to reach out, in the VP role, to members as we plan scientific programs for the meetings.

How can we enhance the roles of our interest groups and committees (CSWA, CSMA, SGMA, Accessibility and Disability, Employment, etc.)? How and when to take a public stand on issues of national importance that have a direct impact on the profession? Social issues have risen to the forefront in the last few years, and have serious impacts on astronomers as individuals. The AAS can do more to foster opportunities for rewarding astronomy careers, especially in non-academic organizations. Serving on the Council provided me with exposure and insight into these questions, and it was rewarding to be able to engage in tackling them; as VP, I would continue those efforts.

Astronomy is a vibrant and exciting profession and the AAS plays a vital role in sharing our excitement with the public, and using the intrinsic appeal of astronomy to motivate young people to pursue science. I enthusiastically support the AAS and its mission and I would be proud to serve as VP.

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Geoffrey Clayton


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Ball Family Distinguished Professor, Physics & Astronomy

Degrees and Education

U. of Toronto (1983)

Affiliations

Louisiana State University

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Circumstellar and interstellar dust in the Local Group
  • The evolution of R Coronae Borealis Stars
  • Binary white-dwarf mergers

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • Sustainability Committee (2014-2018, Chair 2017-2018)
  • Funds for Astronomical Meetings: Outreach to Underrepresented Scientists (FAMOUS) Grants Committee (2014-2018)
  • Solar Eclipse Taskforce (2014-17)
  • AAS Councilor (2013-16)
  • Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (1992-1995, 2006-2009, Chair 2007-2009)
  • Chretien International Research Grant Committee (2002-2003, Chair 2003)
  • Warner/Pierce Prize Committee (2000-2001, Chair 2001)
  • Small Research Grant Committee (2000)

Professional Experience and Positions

  • LSU College of Science Diversity Committee (2017-2018)
  • IUE, SMEX, FUSE, ADP, NOAO, NSF, HST, SST Review Panels (1991-2017)
  • Editorial Board of the Journal of the AAVSO (2011-2017)
  • Hubble Fellowship Committee (2016)
  • IAU Working Group on Women in Astronomy (2010-2015)
  • Organizing committee for Women in Astronomy and Space Science Conference, College Park, MD (2009)
  • Council for the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) (2002-2003)
  • Visiting Senior Scientist, NASA Headquarters (1988-1990)

Candidate Statement

I recently gave an invited talk entitled, "Is There Anything I Can Do To Improve Diversity Other Than Retire?" It's a good question to ask, but the answers are that we all need to work together to improve diversity and that we all have something to contribute. In these uncertain times, the AAS is more important than ever. The AAS is on the forefront of promoting diversity and inclusion in science. Also, maintaining and improving scientific literacy in the United States has never been more important. We must continue to make the point that the payoff for investments in the areas of science education and basic research is huge and astronomy, in particular, has the ability to inspire great interest in science.

The vice presidents of the AAS are responsible for planning the programs of the Society’s scientific meetings, and also act as advisors to the president. Planning the scientific program and the selection of speakers is very important. The speakers must be selected in such a way that we not only show off our best science but also show our diversity and inclusion.

I will bring a great variety of experience with me if elected as vice president. I came to the United States as a newly minted Ph.D., and have lived and worked here ever since. I spent over a decade on soft money, and two years at NASA as a program officer before getting a tenure-track position. I have been a professor at LSU for 21 years and I am still trying to become a better scientist, a better mentor, and a better teacher. I have had a career-long interest in increasing diversity in astronomy and am keenly interested in assuring inclusion in science for everyone. However, there is a real danger that the gains we have made as a society in increasing the diversity of our membership may be lost if we enter a prolonged period with few tenure track positions available. If elected, I will work through the society to maintain and enhance the key areas of science education, basic research, diversity, and inclusion.

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At-Large Trustee

Description: As members of the governing board of the AAS, At-Large Trustees have the legal responsibility to manage, direct, and control the affairs and property of the Society. Within the limits of the Bylaws, the Board of Trustees determines the policies of the Society and changes to them, and it has discretion in the disbursement of the Society's funds.
Term Elected For: 3 years
Currently Serving:
  • Daniela Calzetti
  • Sally Oey
  • Nancy Chanover
  • Adam Burgasser
  • Jessica Kirkpatrick
  • Stuart Vogel
  • Marcel Agüeros
  • Kelle Cruz
  • Kelsey Johnson

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Constance E. Walker


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Scientist

Degrees and Education

University of Arizona, Steward Observatory (1991)

Affiliations

National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Astronomy Education and Outreach (or Community Engagement)
  • Light Pollution Awareness
  • Starburst galaxies at z ? 2

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • Member, AAS Committee on Light Pollution, Radio Interference & Space Debris (2013-2020)

Professional Experience and Positions

  • President, Board of Directors, Astronomical Society of the Pacific (2015-2017)
  • Member, Board of Directors, ASP (2010-2019)
  • Past officer & chair of the Education and Awards committees, Board of Directors, International Dark-Sky Association (2011-2017)
  • Vice-President, IAU Commission C.B7 on Observatory Site Protection (2012-2018)
  • Member, IAU Commission C1 on Astronomy Education and Development (2012-)
  • Co-Chair, IAU Inter-Commission B7-C1 WG Achieving Sustainable Development within a Quality Lighting Framework (2015-)
  • Organizer of 4 splinter sessions, a workshop and a special session on LPRISD at winter AAS meetings (2013-2018)
  • Co-organizer of activities for the Local Student Outreach Event at most AAS meetings
  • Co-director of NOAO’s “Teen Astronomy Café” for high school and middle school students (2016-)
  • Supervisor/mentor to undergraduate REU and EPO students (2008-2017)
  • Director of Quality Lighting Teaching Kit program (2015-)
  • Director of Dark Skies Education Kit program (2009-2014)
  • Chair of the International Year of Astronomy Dark Skies Awareness Cornerstone (2009)
  • Director of Globe at Night citizen-science program (2008-)
  • Project ASTRO Tucson site leader (2002-2007)
  • Co-developer of activities for the Hands-on-Optics and the Research Based Science Education programs (2002-2008)

Candidate Statement

I am honored to be considered for the AAS Board of Trustees. Decades ago, Jay Pasachoff invited me as an undergraduate to an education session at my first AAS meeting, an experience that shaped my future. As an astronomer working at National Optical Astronomy Observatory years later, I help create and implement a variety of educational programs (and professional development) in the field of astronomy education and public outreach. These programs bring the passion of professional and amateur astronomers to students at all levels and the general public. I place great hope that today’s children and young adults can be effective leaders of tomorrow. Investments in scientific literacy can tap into the innate thirst we are all born with to understand our place in the universe and help motivate the next generation to achieve their full potential. Organizations like the AAS are an effective means by which cutting-edge educational programs can be put into action. For 20 years, I have been involved with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) and part of their progress in astronomy education. With the experience I have gained in governance through my positions on the ASP Board of Directors as secretary, vice president, and, most recently, president, I am well positioned to help implement the AAS’s vision in “assisting its members to develop their skills in the fields of education and public outreach at all levels.” I believe that efforts in these areas will “enhance science literacy and lead many to careers in science and engineering.” Enhancement in science literacy should be inextricably tied to upholding diversity and inclusion. If elected, I look forward to contributing to Goal 3 of the AAS Strategic Plan in “re-imagining AAS efforts in education, public outreach and professional development”. Thank you for considering my nomination.

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Tereasa Brainerd


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Chair, Department of Astronomy

Degrees and Education

The Ohio State University (1992)

Affiliations

Boston University

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Weak gravitational lensing
  • Satellite galaxies as probes of dark matter halos
  • Clustering of distant field galaxies
  • Intrinsic alignments of galaxies

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • Heinemann Prize Committee member, 2005 & 2006
  • Heinemann Prize Committee Chair, 2007

Professional Experience and Positions

  • Local Organizer and Host, AAS Town Hall Meeting (2010)
  • Member of Local Organizing Committee for two international conferences (1999, 2003)
  • Publications Board Member, Astronomical Society of the Pacific (2001-2003)
  • Observing proposal reviewer for five Hubble Space Telescope cycles
  • Grant proposal reviewer for NASA (Astrophysics Theory, Astrophysical Data Processing, and Long-Term Space Astrophysics)
  • Grant proposal reviewer for NSF (Extragalactic Astronomy & Cosmology, CAREER, and Postdoctoral Fellows Program)
  • Grant proposal reviewer for international funding agencies, including the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, NSERC (Canada), PPARC (UK), and the Academy of Finland

Candidate Statement

For the past five years, I’ve served as the Chair of Astronomy at Boston University (BU). Prior to becoming Chair, I served as the Director of BU’s Institute for Astrophysical Research (IAR) for six years. Through these two leadership positions, I’ve been deeply involved with addressing many of the major challenges that are currently faced by professional astronomers. My most significant accomplishment as IAR Director was working with BU’s administration to build a strong case for the university to invest $10M in a partnership with Lowell Observatory for perpetual use of the 4.3m Discovery Channel Telescope. To date, my most significant accomplishment as Chair of Astronomy has been to shepherd the department through its first comprehensive, external academic program review.

As a profession, we are entering into the most remarkably data-rich period we’ve ever experienced. Our newest and near-future facilities will revolutionize all fields within astronomy. At the same time, it continues to be harder and harder to obtain the funding that is needed to carry out the research itself. This can be deeply discouraging, not just for the youngest members of our profession who have not yet established their own independent careers, but also for those with long-established careers. As a member of the new AAS governing board, I would work with the AAS to support and foster the research careers of all members of our professional society.

Despite the institution of AAS agents as interlocutors between the AAS and its members, there remains a significant portion of our membership that feels largely disconnected from the AAS. Our Society is poorer for the lack of engagement of so many of our members. This is something that the AAS must continue to actively work to improve so that membership in the AAS brings with it meaning, pride and a sense of responsibility to the Society. As a member of the new AAS governing board I would work with the AAS to build stronger bridges between the Society and its members, so that the AAS can serve its membership more effectively.

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USNC-IAU

Description: The US National Committee for the International Astronomical Union (USNC-IAU) represents the interests of the US astronomical community and safeguards the intellectual vigor of the Union.
Term Elected For: 3 years
Currently Serving:

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Pamela Gay


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Director of Technology and Citizen Science

Degrees and Education

University of Texas (2002)

Affiliations

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Big Data
  • Variable Stars
  • Citizen Science

Services, Roles, and Activities

  • Solar Eclipse Task Force, member (2015-2017)
  • Task Force on Education, member (2015-2016)
  • Chambliss Award Committee, member (2011-2011), Chair (2011)
  • International Year of Astronomy task force, chair of US New Media working group (2008 - 2010)

Professional Experience and Positions

  • IAU, Division C Secretary (2015 - present)
  • Communicator Award, Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (2015)
  • IAU, Communicating Astronomy to the Public Society Organizing Committee (2011 - present)
  • IAU, New Media working group co-chair (2009-2012)
  • IAU, International Year of Astronomy, co-chair of international New Media task force (2008 - 2010)
  • Outstanding Science Educator of the Year St. Louis Academy of Sciences (2012)
  • Researcher of the of Year Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chapter of Sigma Xi (2012)

Candidate Statement

I have been actively involved in leadership and committee roles in both the AAS and IAU since 2008. This experience allows me to understand both the shared scientific and educational goals of the two organizations, as well as the cultural differences in how they work toward accomplishing these goals. As the USNC-IAU Category I representative, I would: build-on existing AAS-IAU connections; provide regular information to AAS members on how they can tap into IAU-funded resources, funding opportunities, and infrastructure; and to listen to the AAS membership so I can take our national concerns and needs to the IAU.

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Thomas J. Maccarone


Biography

Professional Title/Position

Professor of Physics & Astronomy

Degrees and Education

Yale (2001)

Affiliations

Texas Tech University

Research Areas, Topics, and Interests

  • Compact objects
  • Formation and evolution of binary stars
  • Globular clusters and globular cluster systems
  • Nearby galaxies

Professional Experience and Positions

  • Numerous scientific organizing committees (typically 1-2 per year, and one chaired every 2-3 years), and time allocation committees (typically 1-2 per year)
  • Chandra Users' Committee (2015-present)
  • Next Generation Very Large Array Scientific Advisory Committee (2017-present)

Candidate Statement

Over my career, I have worked in four countries, and have established strong collaborative relationships with scientists across all continents except Antarctica. Several of my most valued colleagues have come from countries where the IAU is one of the few reliable resources for even small amounts of funding, and one of the few functioning organizations that recognizes the value of basic research even in developing nations. Further, many scientists work in countries where the IAU represents a way to make an end run around the "old boys' network" that runs science in their countries. As such, I am grateful we have this organization.

Still, I would like to see some modernization of the IAU, and would like the opportunity to help advocate for changes that would bring the IAU solidly into the 21st century. The IAU Symposia, once of great importance to astronomy, now represent a very small fraction of astronomy meetings as international meetings have become easier to organize without an international body providing logistical support. In the present era, the two-year lead time for IAU meetings means that many vitally interesting meetings are not held under IAU auspices. In my view, the pressing need is to have an organization that can help support capacity-building meetings where leading scientists from developed countries work with students and faculty in less developed nations. Unlike supporting traditional scientific conferences, the IAU is uniquely situated to promote this sort of activity. Additional support for growth of astronomy in developing countries could be provided by making arrangements to distribute used, but still functional, computer equipment to astronomers in need.

The second resolution I'd like to push would be one to promote the "open skies" concept in astronomy. National Science Foundation and NASA led projects in the US have long held to this model (with the exception of the unfortunate China collaboration policy that has been imposed on NASA). Most observatories in most foreign countries have followed suit, at least with some substantial fraction of their time. Still, we are moving toward a future where sharing resources to do the best science is becoming less likely. This is of particular importance to US radio astronomers, who are potentially facing a future without SKA access after the US has provided worldwide access to NRAO facilities for generations. I aim to begin discussions on how we can set up a situation that rewards countries for making investments in new facilities while also ensuring that access exists for the best scientists, regardless of national affiliation.

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