USRA's Joan Schmelz Elected Vice President at the American Astronomical Society
Dr. Joan Schmelz, Program Director, Universities Space Research Association, was elected as a Vice President at the American Astronomical Society (AAS). A member of AAS member since 1982, she has seen the organization’s many successes, but also the challenges it faces–inclusion, jobs, funding.
As the Deputy Director of Arecibo Observatory, she worked through the struggle for rare research dollars every day. As a former NSF program officer, she worked with students and postdocs as they navigated the job market. As Chair of the Committee on Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA), she was deeply gratified knowing that she had made a difference in the lives of many women struggling with sexual harassment. Her efforts were recognized by Nature who listed her as one of 10 scientists who made a difference in 2015.
In her new role at AAS, she will continue to fight to create a professional environment for all astronomers, and will work to position the AAS and the astronomy community as they prepare for Astro 2020. Throughout her career she has always tried to make a difference, for her students, for her organization, and for her profession.