Candidate Statement: Joan Schmelz

Nominated Office: Vice-President

Affiliation: Universities Space Research Association (USRA)

Position/title: Arecibo Observatory Deputy Director

PhD institution: Penn State (1987)

Areas of scientific interest:

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.

AAS positions & dates:

  • 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)

Other relevant positions & experience:

  • 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.