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Nominated Office: Councilor

Affiliation: Columbia University

Position/title: Assistant Professor

PhD institution: University of Washington (2006)

Areas of scientific interest:

  • Stellar astrophysics
  • Time-domain astronomy
  • Multiwavelength surveys

AAS positions & dates: N/A

Other relevant positions & experience:

  • Member, National Science Foundation Division of Astronomical Sciences Portfolio Review Committee (2011-2012)
  • Director, Columbia University Bridge to the Ph.D. Program in the Natural Sciences (2010-present)
  • Reviewer for various NSF programs, NASA Post-doctoral Fellowship, CONICYT (Chile) and FWO (Belgium) proposals

Candidate Statement: Getting the two signatures for my AAS junior membership form is a moment I remember clearly, a key step on the road to saying "I am an astronomer" confidently. I'd like to serve on the AAS council to give back to an organization that does many things very well, and to help it address some clear weaknesses. Among the latter, the most concerning may be the growing distance between our society and some of our junior colleagues, for whom joining an astronomy Facebook group may seem more valuable (and affirming!) than joining the AAS. One piece of this, I believe, is that the AAS must continue the difficult and indispensable conversations about how to develop a community culture that is welcoming and nurturing, thereby placing itself at the forefront of advocacy not just for astronomy, but for astronomers. In addition, although I can't prove this, I suspect that the AAS's current structure is unwieldy, with diluted decision-making that limits the organization's ability to respond effectively to crises or opportunities. As a councilor, another of my priorities would therefore be improving governance so that the AAS can be nimbler. Thank you for your consideration.