Inclusive Astronomy

What is inclusive astronomy?

Our group examines the cultural state of astronomy and STEM fields in general. We meet weekly to discuss how to make astronomy a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone, including traditionally underrepresented and marginalized groups.  View our weekly meeting notes here.

Topics discussed include unconscious bias, the confidence gap, impostor syndrome, harassment, and microaggressions. We are promoting the education of our department on these topics by giving department presentations and providing training opportunities. To encourage a welcoming and supportive environment, we are currently expanding the support resources available to students.

When does inclusive astronomy meet?

Inclusive astronomy meets in the conference room in the Astronomy building at NMSU Thursday afternoons at 4 p.m.

Current Projects:

  • Planning a new Safezone training for all those interested in Spring 2019.
  • Working towards a more accessible campus observatory.
  • Providing clear signage notifying students/faculty of where to find the nearest gender neutral bathroom.
  • Discussing LGBT+ Inclusivity in Physics and Astronomy: A Best Practices Guide (see https://arxiv.org/pdf/1804.08406.pdf)

Past Achievements:

  • In the Spring of 2017, in meetings we discussed the Inclusive Astronomy Nashville Recommendations (see Nashville Recommendations) and gave a departmental pizza lunch talk
  • In April 2017, we conducted a White Ally Seminar within the department. This race education workshop was designed to assist those who identify as white to serve as allies to people of color. Topics discussed in the seminar include privilege, white supremacy, racial anxiety, and allyship.
  • In March 2016 the astronomy department provided support for the J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium at NMSU on Social Justice for LGBTQ* Identities in the Borderland.
  • In April of 2015, we conducted a Safe Zone Training within the department. A Safe Zone Training is an LGBTQ+ and ally education workshop designed to assist participants to become more aware of gender and sexuality issues. This training was intended to be a trial run, and was advertised primarily to the Inclusive Astronomy group.
  • On March 9, 2015 our group gave a Pizza Lunch presentation to the department describing the status of underrepresented groups in astronomy, and all STEM fields, and detailed some of the issues working against the success of these groups. We covered 4 main categories: Unconscious Bias, The Confidence Gap, Microagressions, and Impostor Syndrome.
  • In the fall of 2015, we organized a meeting with Office of Institutional Equity Executive Director and Title IX Coordinator Gerard Nevarez to discuss the NMSU policy on reporting and investigating sexual harassment. This meeting was advertised and open to the whole department.

Outreach telescope at New Mexico Pride, October 2018