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Aomawa Shields, PhD

Aomawa Shields, PhD

A Suitable Climate for a Successful Life in Academia

July 6, 2015

I will share my experiences navigating graduate school in Astronomy as an African‐American female with a nontraditional career path. I will discuss tools and resources that helped me finish successfully, with my health and mental sanity intact. Topics will include managing the Imposter Syndrome, physical and mental health and wellness, self‐care strategies, mentorship and other support structures, and recommended literature resources for future reference. I will also talk about the Broader Impacts component to my work as an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow – the creation of astronomy workshops that target middle school girls from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the sciences with an innovative approach that uses theater, free writing, and visual art.

About Aomawa

Aomawa Shields is an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow and a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She received her PhD in Astronomy and Astrobiology in 2014 from the University of Washington, and conducts research in the emerging field of exoplanet climates and habitability. She is one of only two astrophysicists to be recognized as a 2015 TED fellow.

Aomawa is also the founder of Rising Stargirls, a unique outreach program of interactive astronomy workshops that use theater, free writing, and visual art, with the goal to "encourage girls of all colors and backgrounds to bring their whole selves to the learning, exploration, and discovery of the universe." She also works with Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science - www.msphds.org. Her educational work has been featured in the AAS Women in Astronomy blog, and in "Education Week" online. Keep up to date with Aomawa by visiting her website.

Video Presentation

Slide show