Candidate Statement: Kelle Cruz

Photo: Evan Mann

Nominated Office: Councilor

Affiliation: CUNY Hunter College & American Museum of Natural History

Position/title: Assistant Professor

PhD institution: University of Pennsylvania (2004)

Areas of scientific interest:

  • Brown dwarfs
  • Low-mass stars
  • Stellar activity
  • Star and planet evolution
  • Dusty atmospheres
  • Optical & infrared spectroscopy

AAS positions & dates: 

  • Employment Committee Chair (2012–present)
  • AAS Agent (2014–present)
  • Employment Committee Member (2010–2012)

Other relevant positions & experience:

  • NSF Committee of Visitors for Div. of Astronomical Sciences (2014)

Candidate Statement: I have been involved with the AAS for many years and am interested in expanding my role as a Councilor to continue helping the Society serve the members, graduate students and postdocs in particular. As the founder and editor of the AstroBetter Blog and Wiki (, I have extensive experience in developing collaborative resources for astronomers and fostering our sense of community. As a female, hispanic, first generation college graduate, and a professor in an urban public university, I am intimately familiar with the challenges and rewards in our field for minoritized astronomers at every career stage. As Chair of the EC, my most notable accomplishment is the expansion of the professional development workshops at the Winter AAS Meeting, including the introduction of more computing topics. As a Councilor, I will continue to push towards de-stigmatizing non-academic careers, empowering our junior members, establishing an alumni net work, and making our profession more inclusive. My priority will be to work on updating our policies and procedures to become a more productive and agile organization. I look forward to joining the Council and supporting the next steps in our growth.