237th meeting

Program Highlights

Virtually Anywhere
237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society
Virtually Anywhere
10 – 15 January 2021

AAS Career Center – Career Sessions

You must be registered for the AAS winter meeting to attend these free sessions. Once registered and when the meeting officially opens, you'll log in and enter the Zoom Room through the AAS Career Center or via the meeting schedule in vFairs.

Networking from Afar and Mastering the Informational Interview

Monday, 11 January, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm ET

Networking is the most honorable endeavor in which you can engage because networking is based on what can I do for you and how can I help you solve a problem. Networking at its core is based on the idea of building and nurturing long-terms, win-win partnerships. But how do we actually network? It starts with informal conversations, or informational interviews. In this discussion, we will address exactly how to network and what to say and do in the informational interview to create the lasting alliances that bring value to everyone.

Public Speaking in a Virtual Environment

Monday, 11 January, 2:40 pm to 3:10 pm ET

In this conversation, we will discuss the essentials to delivering an excellent, enthusiastic presentation via virtual platforms. The topic is applicable to job talks, colloquia, conference oral and poster presentations, and any other type of presentations that you may give. We will discuss key tactics that will enable your success as you speak, including how to convey passion, enthusiasm, knowledge, and expertise, how to leverage the parameters of digital platforms like Zoom, and how to utilize storytelling to engage the audience. You will emerge with clear direction as to how you can be a stronger, more confident speaker.

Combat Impostor Syndrome

Monday, 11 January, 4:10 pm to 5:40 pm ET

Let’s face it — impostor syndrome sucks. It makes us believe that we unworthy and frauds. It tricks us into minimizing our contributions and value. More critically, impostor syndrome insidiously robs us of future prosperity as it convinces us we do not belong and should not pursue opportunities to advance our career, launch and facilitate exciting new collaborations, and be more innovative, inventive, agile, and novel in our problem-solving. Consequently, impostor syndrome negatively impacts not only our own potential, but that of the greater STEM community. Let’s knock this out of our brains for good! In this workshop, you will learn strategies and tactics to rid this from your brilliant mind and how to navigate it and stamp it out if it creeps into everyday scenarios. Banish Impostor Syndrome for good!

Astronomers Turned Data Scientists

Tuesday, 12 January, 1:00 pm to 5:50 pm ET (with evening event from 6:45 pm to 7:30 pm ET)

This is the third annual Astronomers-Turned-Data-Scientists (ATDS) Splinter Meeting. This Splinter Meeting came from a desire to create a more cohesive community among former astronomers who are currently working with big data in industry and between ATDS and current astronomers (especially those who use data science tools and techniques in their research, as well as those who might be interested in transitioning from academia into a data science career). The Splinter Meeting will consist of a series of talks and panels that cover a wide range of topics aimed at ATDS who are currently working as data scientists (or in data-adjacent roles) in industry. The schedule will include mostly technical talks by data scientists, but we also plan to include some career-related presentations from ATDS as well (aspects of which might be more applicable to current data scientists and aspects of which might be more applicable to prospective data scientists). In addition, networking and recruiting among the current data scientists and prospective data scientists will be strongly encouraged. To this end we will have ample time for networking during our Splinter Session and many of our attendees and presenters will participate in various AAS Career Services events throughout the AAS Meeting. We have the support of the AAS Employment Committee and the AAS Alumni Affiliate Membership was specically created to encourage people like ATDS' to attend meetings such as this. More information about the Splinter Meeting and a detailed schedule can be found on our website: tinyurl.com/atds2021.

Champion Yourself in Your Career

Tuesday, 12 January, 2:40 pm to 3:10 pm ET

Marketing is everything, and that includes communicating your own value to individuals who will invest resources, such as a salary, in you. To land the job and to be successful in this role, you must articulate what you can do for the other party and their team. In this webinar, we will discuss the why and how of appropriately championing yourself at work and in the employment marketplace. You will learn tactics and strategies that are relevant and practical no matter what culture you are operating in. 

Beyond Academe—Exploring Astronomy-powered Career Paths

Wednesday, 13 January, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm ET

Need guidance and advice to make the transition from academia into other fields? Then this is the panel discussion for you. In this webinar, astronomer alumni from a wide spectrum of fields join in for an engaging panel and audience-led discussion on how to start and thrive in a career outside of academia. The panel format will consist of 4-5 short talks from representatives of various career domains in different sectors, followed by Q&A from the audience. Topics will cover advice on marketing your existing skills for non-academic positions; what highly sought skills will increase your competitiveness; the relevance of postdoctoral experience in different employment domains; what to expect in the interview process; what the transition will be like, and more. Later in the day, attend the Beyond Academe Breakout Discussions at 4:10 pm to 5:40 pm ET. You’ll join small groups broken down by the various career domains (e.g., data science, science writing, aerospace) for the deep dive on that particular job market.

How to Write a Cover Letter

Wednesday, 13 January, 2:40 pm to 3:10 pm ET

Let’s be honest: cover letters are annoying to write! But in this webinar, you will learn a recipe to write a cover letter that you can utilize for the rest of your life, whether you are going for an internship, fellowship, scholarship, job, or promotion. We will discuss the goal of a cover letter, and what elements are included in an effective and compelling cover letter. Then we will write one together, using the recipe. We will address a key aspect of the main part of a cover letter which boils down to Problem-Solution-Result-Spin Back, where applicants really shine as they customize their cover letter. You will emerge with your own customized template to use for any cover letter you write in the future. 

Beyond Academe Breakout Discussions

Wednesday, 13 January, 4:10 pm to 5:40 pm ET

To provide first-hand insight into the wide variety of career paths available to those with degrees and/or advance training in the astronomical sciences, the AAS Committee on Employment (EC) is convening representatives from various career arenas beyond research universities — e.g., the aerospace and data science industries; national labs; science policy institutes/agencies; science writing; small colleges — for an hour of informal discussions with attendees of AAS 237. 

How to Pick the Right Graduate Program

Thursday, 14 January, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm ET

Physics and astronomy majors have a lot of choices when it comes to graduate study. This interactive workshop will outline the choices available to you, highlight the differences between your options, provide you with data to make well informed choices, and give you a starting point for your decision making process. We’ll end with how to effectively communicate your passion during interviews and essays. 

Why, When, and How to Say Yes and No in our Careers

Thursday, 14 January, 2:40 pm to 3:10 pm ET

The way we advocate for ourselves in our careers makes a huge difference in not only how we view ourselves but our marketability and employability. In this webinar we will discuss how to evaluate opportunities while advocating for our needs and wants. Part of our conversation will address why, when, and how to say yes to an opportunity, be it a postdoc, fellowship, grant, or job, and perhaps more importantly, why, when, and how to say no. You have a right to stand up for yourself and part of that is gaining confidence in saying yes…and no.

Career Options for Undergraduates

Thursday, 14 January, 4:10 pm to 5:40 pm ET

This workshop will focus on the career options available to physics students as they enter the job market with a bachelor’s degree in physics. This interactive session will focus on identifying your knowledge and skills, understanding the employment landscape, and developing a job search strategy. We’ll end with discussion on career selection and how to negotiate a starting salary.

Surviving and Thriving in Rejection

Friday, 15 January, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm ET

A “no” does not mean a no forever. It just means a no for now. A rejection is often simply an issue of resource allocation in this time and space. But how to we manage multiple rejections, especially as we may be facing a challenging job market? How do we build resiliency, and ensure that we do not equate a rejection with any measure of our self-worth? In our conversation, we will address how to manage rejection with a positive attitude and become persistent. 

Evaluating a Job Offer

Friday, 15 January, 2:40 pm to 3:10 pm ET

Discover how to develop metrics to evaluate a job offer and ensure it meets your needs (and hopefully wants, too!). We will discuss what to look for in an offer and how to decide whether this opportunity and organization are right for you. 

Crowdsourced Career Q&A – Open Session

Friday, 15 January, 4:10 pm to 5:40 pm ET

All week long we’ve been collecting attendee career questions and concerns about the current and future job market. Join us for this open session where members of the Employment Committee and career consultant Alaina G. Levine field those questions, provide advice, and discuss the state of the profession as it relates to careers.