NA-ROAD Announces 2024 Cohort of 10 Women and Girls in Astronomy for Development Projects

WGAP and NA-Logos on a background of starry sky with people with arms upraised

The North American Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (NA-ROAD) is pleased to announce the selection of 10 astronomy for development projects as part of the 2024 cohort. These projects will receive funding as part of the Women and Girls in Astronomy Program (WGAP). This is the second year that NA-ROAD has offered funding for WGAP projects thanks to generous funding from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

WGAP aims to inspire and support women, girls, and underrepresented genders in the field of astronomy. The 10 WGAP projects were selected from a pool of many excellent proposals.The 2024 cohort will each be awarded a $2,000 grant to support their project and will receive mentorship from the leaders of past projects.

The selected projects focus on communities throughout North America including the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Greenland, California, Connecticut, Utah, Puerto Rico, and Florida. While all the WGAP projects support women and girls in astronomy, each project has different objectives. Projects range from making astronomy more accessible to residents near the southern border of Texas to introducing girls and their families to astronomy in camps, internships, and workshops. Two of the projects based in Mexico are developing local astro-tourism and bringing astronomy to indigenous women. A Race & Queer Feminist Theory reading group is planning activities to create a more inclusive physics community and a Connecticut museum is enhancing displays to include women in astronomy.

Project leader Ana Magdalena Rodríguez Romero commented, “The project ‘Campos de Estrellas’ (Star fields) will support women to become astro-tourism guides in Tequila, Jalisco. This grant is the seed for expanding women’s economic empowerment in astro-tourism in Jalisco, Mexico and beyond.” 

Project leaders will join the WGAP network composed of educational, outreach, and academic professionals. Four leaders from the 2023 cohort will mentor the 2024 project leaders and offer advice and assistance throughout the project terms.

“I am very excited that we have the opportunity to fund the WGAP projects again this year thanks to the Heising-Simons Foundation,” said Yasmin Catricheo Villagran, NA-ROAD Steering Council member. “A new feature this year is to add funding for mentors. They will be a resource for our project leaders that will continue to grow the WGAP network.”

After the projects are completed in December 2024, five project leaders will have the opportunity to present their outcomes and discuss their contributions to advancing women and girls in astronomy at the January 2025 meeting of the American Astronomical Society at National Harbor, in Maryland.

“I think these small grants are great opportunities… and I would say the program should keep supporting these initiatives as they have an impact not only on the people they are targeted to, but also to the people participating in the event. In my case, it had a very positive impact on the students and their families and friends,” commented Liliana Rivera Sandoval, project lead for Ellas y las Estrellas that aims to make astronomy more accessible to residents near the southern border of Texas.

WGAP is managed by the NA-ROAD, which is a partnership of Associated Universities Inc. (AUI), Adler Planetarium, and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). Funding for the WGAP is made possible through a generous donation by the Heising-Simons Foundation. 

Read more about the selected projects.

Additional information

For more information about the NA-Road Women and Girls in Astronomy Program please visit:

The Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) is a joint project of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) with the support of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The mission of the OAD is to help further the use of astronomy, including its practitioners, skills and infrastructures, as a tool for development by mobilizing the human and financial resources necessary in order to realize the field’s scientific, technological and cultural benefits to society. The OAD has established 11 Regional Offices and Language Centres around the world who share the OAD vision but focus their activities within a geographic or cultural or language region.(