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Candidate Statements

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 12:22

We are grateful for the following AAS members who have agreed to stand for election. Please support their dedication by voting. Members eligible to vote will be notified when the electronic ballot is posted on

President (vote for one)
Duties of a President:

  • Presides over Council meetings;
  • Serves on the Council as President-Elect, President and Past-President;
  • Presides over the Annual Business Meeting;
  • Chairs Executive Committee;
  • Represents the AAS at official functions and before other organizations;
  • Serves when required as official spokesperson for the AAS;
  • Appoints members to various AAS committees.

Term: One (1) year as President-Elect, two (2) years as President and one (1) year as Past-President

Chris Impey
Nominated Office: President
Affiliation: University of Arizona
Position: University Distinguished Professor, Deputy Department Head
Ph.D.: University of Edinburgh (1981)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Observational cosmology, AGN, multi-wavelength surveys, low surface brightness galaxies, astrobiology, astronomy pedagogy, science literacy, popular writing
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Shapley Lecturer (1993-2003, 2012-present)
  • Astronomy Education Review Editorial Board (2001-2005)
  • Vice President (2003-2006)
  • Executive Committee (2003-2006)
  • Membership Committee (2003-2004)
  • Chambliss Writing Award Committee Chair (2006)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Deputy Department Head, Department of Astronomy, Univ of Arizona (1998-present)
  • Associate Director, NASA Arizona Space Grant (1990-1995)
  • Kitt Peak National Observatory TAC (1994-1997)
  • Hubble Space Telescope Review Panel, Chair (1994, 1998)
  • NASA Long Term Space Astrophysics Review Panel (1995)
  • Organizing Committee, IAU Colloquium 171, The Low Surface Brightness Universe (1998)
  • Organizing Committee, ASP Conference 189, Teaching Introductory Astronomy (1998)
  • Organizer, Vatican Observatory Science and Education Conference (1998)
  • NOAO Long Term Proposal TAC (1999-2000)
  • Columbia University Biosphere-2 Advisory Board (1999-2001)
  • Space Telescope Users Committee (1999-2002)
  • NSF Extragalactic Astronomy Review Panel (2000)
  • Chandra Observatory TAC, Chair (2000, 2006)
  • Spitzer Observatory TAC (2003, 2004)
  • NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholars Review Panel (2003)
  • Hubble Fellowship Selection Panel (2004)
  • University of Washington Astrobiology Program Review (2005)
  • University of Toronto Astronomy Program Evaluator (2006)
  • Scientific Steering Committee, COSMOS Collaboration (2005-2012)
  • International Executive Committee, Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena (2005-2012)
  • Editorial Board, Encyclopedia of the Cosmos (2006-2009)
  • KPNO Director Search Committee (2006)
  • Organizing Committee, IAU Symposium 244, Dark Galaxies and Lost Baryons (2007)
  • Organizing Committee, Astrobiology: Expanding Views of Society and Self (2008)
  • Keck Observatory NASA TAC (2008-10)
  • Organizing Committee, Vatican Observatory SuperVOSS III Conference (2009)
  • Organizing Committee, Pontifical Academy “Study Week in Astrobiology” (2009)
  • Science for Monks Program, India, Cosmology Organizer and Lecturer (2008-2010)
  • Metanexus Global Network Initiative, Advisory Council (2008-2010)
  • Decadal Survey 2010, Education and Public Outreach Study Group, co-Chair (2009)
  • APS/AAPT “Using Astronomy to Teach Physics” Project Advisor (2010-present)
  • Board of Directors, Astronomical Society of the Pacific (2011-2013)
  • Cosmology and Consciousness Conference, Co-organizer, Dharamsala, India (2011)
  • Gordon Research Conference, Physics Research and Education, Advisory Panel (2011)
  • National Science Foundation, Astronomy “Portfolio Review” Committee (2011-2012)
  • The Art and Craft of Science Writing, Princeton University, Organizer (2012)
  • Communicating Science, ASP Annual Meeting, Local Organizing Committee (2012)
  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Awards and Publications Committees (2012)

Statement: Our profession is in robust health, with access to an unprecedented array of observational facilities, and a research enterprise making advances in areas from exoplanets to cosmology. Despite our small size as a discipline, we have great power to engage and inspire the public. However, we face stresses and challenges, in particular a limited “supply” of jobs, grants and other resources, relative to the “demand” from a growing corps of researchers. The AAS is the glue that binds us professionally. This is most visible with meetings and stewardship of journals, but equally important with efforts to promote astronomy and pure research in the national policy arena. I would be honored to serve as AAS President and help shepherd the society through turbulent waters. I can bring to the position a broad, multi-wavelength perspective as a researcher, and a commitment to education and outreach. The health of the profession needs AAS advocacy to improve career opportunities for young researchers, and to make progress in recruiting and retaining women and minorities. My participation in the Decadal Survey and the NSF Portfolio Review have given me a clear sense of the trade-offs that we will have to make to keep the profession strong.

Meg Urry
Nominated Office: President
Affiliation: Yale University
Position: Professor and Chair, Department of Physics; Director, Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics
Ph.D.: Johns Hopkins University (1984)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Black hole growth, galaxy evolution, blazars, high-energy astrophysics, multiwavelength surveys
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Councilor (2009-2012)
  • Council & Appointments Committee of the American Astronomical Society (2008-2011)
  • Committee on Public Policy (2006-2011)
  • Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy: Chair (2000-2003); member (1998-2000), (1994-1996)
  • Editor in Chief, STATUS (2000-2003); Contributing Editor (2003-present)
  • AAS Nominating Committee 1996-1998 and 2001-2004 (Chair 1997-1998);
  • George van Biesbrock (2012) and Annie Jump Cannon (1990) awards

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Public Policy Committee of the American Physical Society (2011-present)
  • Astronomy Section Head, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010-2012)
  • American Association of Universities, NASA Presidential Working Group (2007-present)
  • Science Frontier Panel Chair (“Galaxies across Cosmic Time”) for the 2010 Decadal Survey
  • Led US delegations to 2002 and 2011 International Women in Physics meetings
  • Gemini Telescopes Board Member (2008-2009)
  • Space Telescope Science Institute Committee on Diversity, 2007-2011 (Chair 2007-2009)
  • NAS/NRC Co-Chair, Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (2004-2007)
  • NAS/NRC Board on Physics & Astronomy (2003-2007)
  • NAS/NRC Chair, Ad Hoc Committee to Assess Progress toward the Decadal Vision in Astronomy and Astrophysics [Mid-Course Review] (2004-2005)
  • NAS/NRC Space Studies Board (2000-2004); Executive Committee (2001, 2003)
  • Member of Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the American Physical Society (2000-2002)
  • National Virtual Observatory Science Definition Team (2001)
  • NASA Space Science Advisory Committee (1997-2000)
  • NASA/SScAC Task Group on MO&DA (1998)
  • Writing for the public, on science and women in science, monthly column on
  • Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008), Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering (2007), American Women in Science (2006), American Physical Society (1999).

Statement: I am honored to be considered for this office. The AAS has been my home for over 30 years, and has worked hard to support its members. I believe science leadership has never been more important, and that the nation needs scientists and engineers more than ever. We face a growing anti-science climate and the danger that scientists could be seen not as impartial deliverers of truth but as one more special interest group. The AAS has to speak for the importance of STEM education and literacy, for the importance of scientific research and discovery, and for the benefits that ensue for the public. As a professional society, we must continue to support students and young scientists, making sure they have broad career opportunities, and we must ensure the full utilization of talent. I will try to be an effective exponent on behalf of the AAS. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Vice-President (vote for one)
Duties of a Vice-President:

  • Serves on Council;
  • Responsible for selecting invited speakers for AAS meetings;
  • Responsible for overall scientific content of AAS meetings;
  • Two senior Vice-Presidents serve on the Executive Committee.

Term: three (3) years

Chryssa Kouveliotou
Nominated Office: Vice President
Affiliation: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
Position: Astrophysicist
Ph.D.: Technical University of Munich (1981)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Gamma- and X-ray emission from High Energy transients, such as Gamma-Ray Bursts, Magnetars, Supernova Remnants, X-ray Binaries
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • HEAD Executive Committee (1994-1996)
  • AAS Council (2007-2010)
  • HEAD Chair (2008-2010)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Chair of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society (2003)
  • Member of the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) of the National Academy of Sciences (2003-2006)
  • Vice Chair of COSPAR Commission E (2010 - present)
  • US IUPAP Representative for Committee 19 (Astrophysics) (2012- present)
  • Board member of the American Association of the Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) (2011-present)

Statement: AAS is the internationally recognized representative of the US professional astrophysics communities, as well as their best and most successful advocate in the US Congress. My first AAS task was as a member of the HEAD (1994), followed by my election as a Councilor (2007), and as the HEAD Chair (2008). I filled the last two positions in my personal capacity, since my status as a civil servant does not allow me to do otherwise. Should I be elected as a Vice President, I will be happy to again do so: some of the most stimulating ‘vacations’ I had were during AAS and HEAD retreats.
    The main task of a Vice President is organizing the AAS meetings. Since these are the only fora where our largely diverse communities are coming together to exchange scientific results, it is of the outmost importance that these meetings are well-organized, comprehensive, attractive and successful. Moreover, this is where the young astronomers come to communicate their results, establish new collaborations, and, last but by far not least, network. I consider the latter essential for the survival and continuation of our broad community, especially in these adverse fiscal times. I commit myself to bring together astronomers worldwide, link amateur and professional communities, and ensure that young astronomers are given every opportunity to be heard.

Nancy D. Morrison
Nominated Office: Vice President
Affiliation: The University of Toledo
Position: Professor of Astronomy Emerita
Ph.D.: Univ. of Hawaii (1975)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Stellar spectroscopy, supergiant stars, stellar winds, binary stars, variable stars
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (1978-1979)
  • Nominating Committee (1981-1984), Chairman (1982-1983)
  • Annie J. Cannon Award Advisory Committee (2002-2005)
  • Council (2008-2011)
  • Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (2010-2013), webmaster, STATUS Associate Editor

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific Board of Directors (1985-1991), Executive Committee (1987-1991), Awards Committee (1987-1991), Chairman (1988-1991)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section D: Nominating Committee (1978-1981), Chairman (1980-1981), Section D committee (2009-2012), organized 90-minute symposium at 2012 AAAS annual meeting.

Statement: As always, it would be an honor and a privilege to further the mission of the AAS through service as an officer.

Responsibilities of the Secretary:

  • Voting Member of the Executive Committee and Council;
  • Preparing and distributing the agendas and minutes of Council Meetings;
  • Official signor for the AAS;
  • Sits on AIP Governing Board (when elected);
  • Member and Secretary, USNC-IAU;
  • Collects, counts and certifies ballots for all Society elections;
  • Solicits nominations for AAS awards; and
  • Selects session chairs for meetings.

Term: three (3) years

George F. (Fritz) Benedict
Nominated Office: Secretary
Affiliation: McDonald Observatory, University of Texas
Position: Senior Research Scientist (Emeritus)
Ph.D.: Northwestern U. (1972)
Areas of Scientific Interest: astrometry, space astrometry, low mass stars, binary stars, exoplanet detection and characterization
AAS Positions & Dates

  • Secretary (2010-present)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy, Chairman (1998-1999)
  • Vice-Chairman (1997-1998)
  • Member, Executive Committee (1993-1995)

Statement: I have enjoyed being your Secretary over the past two years, even more than I had anticipated. I hope that my performance has earned your continued support.

Councilors (vote for three)
Duties of Councilors:

  • Serve as part of the governing board of the AAS; and
  • Have the legal responsibility to help make all decisions to manage, direct, and control the affairs and property of the Society.

Term: three (3) years

Sarbani Basu
Nominated Office: Councilor
Affiliation: Yale University, Department of Astronomy
Position: Professor
Ph.D.: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, University of Mumbai (1993)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Solar and stellar astrophysics using models as well as helio- and asteroseismic data from SDO and Kepler; physical processes inside stars; using seismology to test stellar evolution theory, study solar variability and the solar dynamo process; properties of exo-planet host stars with Kepler data; formation history and chemical evolution of the Galaxy.
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Member, Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize Committee (2008-present)
  • Chair, Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize Committee (2010-2011)
  • Member, Solar Physics Division’s Nominating Committee (2004)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • National Solar Observatory Visiting Committee (2012-2013)
  • Member, Steering Committee, Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium (KASC) (2010 -present)
  • Committee of Visitors, Upper Atmosphere Research Section, Division of Atmospheric Sciences Section, NSF (2008)
  • Management Operations Working Groups (MOWG) of NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) program (2006-2008)
  • National Solar Observatory Users’ Committee (2005-2011)
  • Steering Committee of the Solar Physics Division Summer School (2005-2008)
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) (2003-present)
  • Data Users Committee, Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) (1999-present)

Statement: In an era of shrinking research budgets but expanding fields of research, the AAS plays a unique role in fostering public understanding and support of astronomy. In this era of increasing specialization, AAS provides a forum for astrophysicists of different flavors to communicate with each other and form a consensus opinion. My work straddles the day/night divide and bridges the interests of solar physicists and the night-time astronomers; these disciplines can learn a lot from each other but historically have not been in frequent communication.
    My interest in becoming an AAS council-member is three-fold. First, I believe that the grants programs of NSF and NASA are critical to the health of our profession and I would like to work to ensure that AAS continues to support these programs. Second, I support the activist role of the AAS in highlighting the impact of astronomy on STEM education and basic research; my efforts here will be to work within the AAS to lobby for increased support for science. Finally, I wish to foster communication between our sub-disciplines and between theory and observation, and I will be active in supporting AAS meetings and programs that achieve this goal.

Geoffrey Clayton
Nominated Office: Councilor   
Affiliation: Louisiana State University
Position: Ball Family Distinguished Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy
Ph.D.: University of Toronto (1983)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Interstellar and circumstellar dust, core-collapse supernovae, R Coronae Borealis stars, white-dwarf mergers
AAS Positions & Dates

  • Associate Editor of STATUS, the newsletter of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (1988-1993)
  • Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (1992-1995, 2006-2009, Chair 2007-2009)
  • Small Research Grant Committee (2000)
  • Warner/Pierce Prize Committee (2000-2001, Chair 2001)
  • Chrétien International Research Grant Committee (2002-2003, Chair 2003)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Visiting Senior Scientist, NASA Headquarters (1988-90)
  • IUE, SMEX, ADP, NOAO, HST, and SST Review Panels (1991-2012)
  • NASA Office of Space Science Policies and Processes for Peer-Reviewed Science Grants Review Panel (1995)
  • Council of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) (2002-03)
  • IAU Working Group on Women in Astronomy (2010-present)
  • Editorial Board of the Journal of the AAVSO (2011-present)

Statement: In these uncertain economic times, the AAS is more important than ever. We hear a lot these days about “engines of the economy.” In this era of funding cutbacks, the case must be made strongly that two of the most important economic “engines” are science education and basic research. Maintaining scientific literacy in the United States is very 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.
    I will bring a great variety of experience with me if elected. 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’ve had a career-long interest in increasing diversity in astronomy and am keenly interested in assuring equal opportunity 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, and diversity.

Dawn M. Gelino
Nominated Office: Councilor
Affiliation: NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI), IPAC, Caltech
Position: Staff Scientist and Science Affairs Task Lead
Ph.D.: New Mexico State University (2001)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Exoplanets, Interacting Binaries
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Member (1997-Present)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • AAS, HEAD, and DPS attendee/presenter (1997-Present)
  • AAS and DPS exhibitor (2004-Present)
  • AAS Workshop co-organizer and panel member: “Careers 101: Career Planning Workshop for Graduate Students and Postdocs” (2012, 2013)
  • AAS Employment Committee discussion panel member: "The Astrophysics Postdoc Job Market"  (2012)
  • AAS Council presenter: Successfully presented to AAS Council on behalf of the named NASA Astrophysics Fellowship programs to state our case against the AAS Employment committee proposal to move the postdoc decision deadline back to later in the year. (2009-2010)
  • NExScI Science Affairs Lead: Coordinate between NExScI, NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP), and the exoplanet community (2007-Present)
  • SOC/LOC chair/member for 20+ international exoplanet meetings (2007-Present)
  • NASA Keck Operations Scientist: Administer NASA’s portion of time on Keck telescopes, Keck PI Data awards, Keck/IRTF Management and Operations Working Group (2007-Present)
  • NASA Sagan Exoplanet Program Scientist: Summer Workshops, Postdoctoral Fellowships, Fellows Symposia (2008-Present)

Statement: I have attended 90% of the AAS and DPS meetings since I began graduate school in 1996. My first Washington AAS meeting was overwhelming. There were so many astronomers! I quickly learned, however, that the opportunities to network at AAS meetings are invaluable. In today’s difficult funding environment, this inward-looking aspect of the AAS has never been more important. Similarly, looking outward into the world of science policy, the AAS’s role as a voice for our science is more critical than ever.
    As coordinator of NASA’s Sagan Fellowship program, I have had the opportunity to interact with graduate students and postdocs and to become sensitive to their struggles to find rewarding career paths. I have led AAS Career Planning Panels and have represented NASA’s Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan Programs before the AAS Council when critical postdoctoral issues were being discussed.
    As a member of the AAS Council, I would work to provide additional opportunities for networking and job placement, and to enhance family-friendly policies at our institutions. As a working scientist, I would work to ensure that the excitement of our field was conveyed to the broadest possible audience.

Jeff Mangum
Nominated Office: Councilor
Affiliation: National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Position: Scientist
Ph.D.: University of Virginia (1990)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Galactic and extragalactic star formation, Radio, Millimeter, and submillimeter-wave measurement calibration, Radio astronomical instrumentation, Antenna systems
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Committee on New Communications (2007-2008)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • NRAO Student and Visitor Programs Coordinator (2008-present)
  • NRAO Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program coordinator (1996-present)

Statement: The general public’s fascination with our profession is our strength. Use the term “Big Bang” or “galaxy” in conversation with your non-scientist friends and they invariably know what you are talking about. But how is an understanding of the universe connected to the economic and political realities of life on Earth? Why should the general public financially support astrophysical research?
    Scientists and engineers improve our lives by developing new ways for us to communicate and analyze the world around us. All of this work of discovery and development is done by people who are trained as scientists, who themselves were trained by the scientists that came before them. Astrophysicists are educators who train future generations to think like scientists.
    Unfortunately, this connection between science in our everyday lives and the financial support for our profession is often lost to the politicians who provide this support. The AAS must continue to strengthen our message of science education to the general public and the politicians whom they represent. This should include resources which will help our membership effectively interact and communicate as educators. With this connection between our research endeavors and education the general public will see the value to our profession.

Dara J. Norman
Nominated Office: Councilor
Affiliation: National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Position: Assistant Scientist
Ph.D.: University of Washington (1999)
Areas of Scientific Interest: AGN, Galaxy Evolution, Gravitational Lensing
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (2006-2012)
  • Demographics committee (2010-present)
  • Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:
  • Organizer for AAS special sessions: “Mentoring a New Generation of Minority Astronomers,” (2009), “Mentoring Astronomers: Students to Faculty,” (2010), “Strategies for Addressing Harassment and Prejudice,” (2011) and “Straight Talk About an Astronomical Career: A Professional Development Session,” (2012)
  • AAS representative at the AWIS AWARDS workshop on diversifying AAS candidates for scholarly awards, recommendations sent to the council.
  • Co-author of an invited testimonial for the NRC on Women of Color in Astronomy
  • Principal Organizer and Co-author for the Decadal Survey white papers, “Significantly Increasing the Numbers of Minorities in Astronomy in the Next 10 Years” and “Research Science and Education: The NSF’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship”
  • AURA/NOAO Diversity Advocate (2009-present)

Review Panels:

  • NSF review panel for Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009)
  • Chandra X-ray Observatory review panel (2007)
  • NASA review panel for Beyond Einstein Foundation Science (2006)
  • NSF review panel for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) sites (2004)
  • NSF review panel for observational cosmology (2003)

Additional committee experience:

  • Joint Annual Meeting of the National Society of Black Physicists and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists Program Committee co-Chair & Executive Committee member (2011)
  • DECam Workshop, Scientific Organizing Committee (2011)
  • Internal Search Committee for KPNO Director (2010)
  • National Society of Black Physicists, Co-chair ASTRO committee (2010-present)
  • NOAO Search Committee (2009)
  • Women in Astronomy, Organizing Committee (2009)
  • AURA Workforce and Diversity Committee (2009-present)


  • IAU member (2003-present)
  • National Society of Black Physicists member (1996-present)
  • AAS member (1993-present)

Statement: My goals while on the council will be to insure that the AAS provides strong support of members, their teaching and research, and the community‘s long-term scientific goals. I will continue to work on expanding support for ALL members in their diverse career goals. In difficult budget times, support for career development of members must be a focal point of the society’s activities, as well as scientific advocacy. As a member of the CSMA, I have worked towards these goals through the organization of AAS special sessions and workshops to promote diversity and mentoring. As a council member, I would advocate for more such development workshops. As a member of the AAS Demographics Committee, I have been active in identifying ways in which the society might better understand the community‘s workforce challenges and promote practices that better serve the membership. Examples include exploring changes to scholarly award requirements that eliminate researchers who must take career breaks, or recommendations that better support career/life balance practices. I have also been able to attend high-profile events that allowed me to discuss STEM career issues with policy makers, like support for graduate student and postdoctoral healthcare. I hope to bring my experience to the council.

Nicole S. van der Bliek
Nominated Office: Councilor
Affiliation: NOAO
Position: CTIO Director (Interim)
Ph.D.: University of Leiden (1997)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Young stars, infrared astronomy, instrumentation
AAS Positions & Dates: N/A
Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Member of IAU-OAD Taskforce “Astronomy for Universities and Research” (Office of Astronomy for Development, (2012-present)
  • Site Director for 2002 CTIO REU program and oversight of CTIO Student Programs coordinator (2002–2012)
  • Chair of Review Committee of “La Silla Operations 2010+” (2010)
  • External reviewer Gemini-Conicyt Fund for the “Development of Astronomy and related sciences” (2010 & 2011)
  • Member of several Time Allocation Committees, both USA (2005–2006) and Chilean (2009 & 2011)

Statement: It is an honor to be nominated to serve on the AAS Council, and I look forward to being able to contribute to the AAS mission of representing and serving the US astro-community.
    I became part of this community when I joined the NOAO staff twelve years ago and I joined the AAS not much later. The AAS has been a tremendous resource for me to learn about and participate in the US astro-community, and I have developed a large professional network through the AAS. These elements of the AAS are particularly important for junior members of the society and as a Councilor I would support the AAS career development activities and encourage early-career scientists to become active AAS members. This kind of support fits well with my responsibilities at NOAO, where I am actively involved in the mentoring program.
    At NOAO, I enjoy the fact that we support astronomers to use the telescopes and instruments and one of my strengths is helping to facilitate (young) scientists to carry out their research and develop themselves. I choose to work at a national observatory, because I believe open access is important. Providing services for the wider astronomical community is a key function of both NOAO and the AAS and as a Councilor I will be able to bring my experience at NOAO to benefit the AAS.

Nominating Committee (vote for two)
Duties of Nominating Committee:

  • Nominate candidates for the positions of Officers and Councilors of the AAS for election by membership. For positions of Treasurer, Secretary, and Education Officer, the decision is made in consultation with the Executive Committee of the AAS.

Term: three (3) years

Rica Sirbaugh French
Nominated Office: Nominating Committee
Affiliation: MiraCosta College
Position: Professor of Astronomy
Ph.D.: N/A
Areas of Scientific Interest: star clusters, modeling stellar evolution, astronomy education and outreach, astronomy education research, faculty professional development
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Astronomy Education Board (2012-present)
  • Employment Committee Panelist (2012)
  • Columnist, Spark: The AAS Education Newsletter (2009-present)
  • IYA 2009 Working Group for Research Experiences for Students, Teachers, and Citizen Scientists (2008-2009)
  • Chambliss Award Judge (2008)
  • Society Member (1995-present)

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Program Director for Astronomy, MiraCosta College (2004-present)
  • Coordinator, Professional Development Programs (MiraCosta College: 2011-present)
  • Coordinator, State of California Flexible Calendar Program (MiraCosta College: 2011-present)
  • Board of Directors, North County Higher Education Alliance (San Diego County: 2011-present)
  • Fellow, Collaboration of Astronomy Teaching Scholars (CAE/CATS: 2008-present)
  • Coordinator, SoCal Regional Teaching Exchange (Center for Astronomy Education [CAE]: 2010-present)
  • Member, AAPT (2001-present)
  • Member, ASP (1995-present)
  • Member, AAAS (2005-10)
  • Member, California Science Teachers’ Association (2008-10)
  • Member, Council on Undergraduate Research (2007-08)

Statement: In my 17 years as a Society member, I have been simultaneously awed and proud to witness the continual succession of amazing individuals willing to devote time and effort by giving back to their Society. It’s quite the humbling honor to be included amongst those ranks. Representing the AAS means maintaining a careful balance in a variety of arenas: research, education, outreach, policy, and budgets, just to sample a few. This balancing act highlights just how critical it is to maintain strong and open connections with the public – the future of astronomy. The Nominating Committee may have one of the most difficult charges of all: data-mining the Society membership for those best-suited, willing, and able to cultivate those connections at the highest levels of representation. The wealth of diversity in our membership, experiences, and interests ensures those individuals exist. It is up to the Nominating Committee to seek out the most dynamic and innovative of our neighbors and convince them that we’re right: we need you to help shape the future of astronomy, “to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.” I always did enjoy a challenge...

Massimo Marengo
Nominated Office: Nominating Committee
Affiliation: Iowa State University
Position: Assistant Professor
Ph.D.: 2000
Areas of Scientific Interest: Infrared Astronomy, Evolved Stars, Young Planetary Systems
AAS Positions & Dates: N/A
Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • NASA Review Panels: ADAP, SOFIA, Spitzer, Hubble, Solar System Origin, ADP/LTSA (2001-2012)
  • NSF-AST Review Panel (2006-2012)
  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Review Panel (2007)
  • Science Opportunity for the Warm Spitzer Mission Working Group (2007)

Statement: As a member of the AAS Nominating Committee I will work towards promoting an effective and diverse representation in the candidates for AAS office. The report of the Demographics Study Group for Astro 2010 has shown how diverse our community has become. The AAS has played an important role in supporting this diversity, which is fundamental to ensure that all parts of our society have equal chance to contribute to the progress of astronomy, and reach their full potential. This role must be protected and enhanced by ensuring that the AAS leadership will continue to be inclusive of all genders, minority status and institution type and size. This is essential to preserve the effectiveness of AAS in difficult budgetary times, when reduced public telescope time and funding will affect harder smaller institutions, the traditional hotspot for diversity. My experience in moving from a large research center (CfA) to a university setting, well connected to the local network of small colleges, gives me an important perspective on these issues. I will draw from this experience in seeking high quality and representative candidates to the AAS elections.

Jacob Noel-Storr
Nominated Office: Nominating Committee
Affiliation: Rochester Institute of Technology
Position: Assistant Research Professor
Ph.D.: Columbia (2004)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Astronomy Education and Outreach; Family Science Learning; Science Education Technology; Active Galactic Nuclei and Supermassive Black Holes; Radio Galaxies
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Astronomy Education Board (2004-2006)
  • Ad Hoc Committee on Future Communications in Astronomy (2006-2008)
  • Editor: Spark the AAS Education Newsletter

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office: N/A
Statement: I have been an active member of the American Astronomical Society community since beginning Graduate School, and remain a regular attendee at all Society meetings. I feel close connections to both the Scientific and Educational communities within the society, and if elected to this position, would look forward to the opportunity to strengthen those ties. Through my many interactions with the AAS, both in serving on committees, and through organizing regular events at conferences, I have a good grasp on ‘how things work’—valuable knowledge in helping to identify individuals who can be the best to continue to move our society forward. I am committed to doing my part to continue to drive the society in the direction of becoming a true community of colleagues, and would be dedicated to nominating great representatives of you, the astronomical community, to positions within our society.

Virginia Trimble
Nominated Office: Nominating Committee
Affiliation: University of California, Irvine
Position: Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Ph.D.: California Institute of Technology (1968)
Areas of Scientific Interest: Structure and Evolution of Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe, and of the communities of scientists who study them
AAS Positions & Dates:

  • Vice President (1997-2000)
  • Chair sequence High Energy Astrophysics Division (1992-1993)
  • Historical Astronomy Division chair sequence (1997-2003)
  • Various times from 1970s to present, External Awards Committee, Nominating Committee, Education Advisory Board, Panel on Astronomy and Public Policy, Centennial Committee, Russell Lectureship Committee, International Travel Grant Committee, Publications Board, Annenberg Prize Committee, Tinsley Prize Committee, Cannon Award Committee, Doggett Prize Committee, Chrétien Prize Committee, others

Other experiences and positions relevant to service in the AAS Office:

  • Adjectival editor, Astrophysical Journal (1989-1998)
  • Editor Comments on Astrophysics (1987-1997)
  • Vice Pres. IAU (1994-2000)
  • Press of Comm. 28 (Galaxies, 1994-1997)
  • President Div. VIII (Galaxies and the Universe, 2000-2003)
  • Pres. Div. XII (Union Wide Activities, 2000-2003)
  • Chair sequence APS Division of Astrophysics (1998-2001)
  • Chair sequence APS Forum on History of Physics (2004-08)
  • Member of APS Council & Executive Board (1997-2000)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council (for Sect L, History, 2009-2012) and Committee on Council Affairs (2010-2012)
  • Various positions in International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Sigma Xi, AAPT, and other professional organizations

Statement: In principle, AAS, like most other organizations of scientists, is self-governing. This means we elect officers and council members who, one way or another, choose the executive officers who do a very large fraction of the work. But you can’t vote for folks who aren’t candidates, which, in turn, puts a fair amount of power in the hands of the nominating committee (yes, nominations by petition are possible, but very hard to organize!). As a result of having already held a number of elective and appointive positions in AAS and other societies, I think I know the community and those who do their fair share of the work and beyond fairly well. I am also old enough to remember the first time the AAS president was elected from between two formal candidates and so can try to be sensitive to who might
be lost as a major worker for AAS if not chosen.

Members eligible to vote will be notified when the electronic ballot is posted on

Members for whom we do not have email addresses will receive a paper ballot by first class mail. You may verify your email address at and if necessary send corrections to

Any other member wishing to use a paper ballot may request one by phone (202) 328-2010 ext. 115, fax (202) 234-2560 or by email to If possible, include your member number with your request.

Crystal M. Tinch
Communications Manager
American Astronomical Society (AAS)