The North American Regional Office of Astronomy for Development is proud to present the Women and Girls in Astronomy Program
The Women and Girls in Astronomy Program (WGAP) will inspire and support women, girls, and underrepresented genders in the field of astronomy. The program, implemented by the IAU North American Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (NA-ROAD), will target aspiring astronomers and current professionals alike establishing a network to uplift, educate, connect with, and promote astronomy for development in women and girls.
WGAP held a Call for Projects for the 2023 cycle and selection concluded in May. The ten unique astronomy for development projects selected, listed below, will take place throughout North America. These projects are aimed at addressing and challenging the underrepresentation of women and girls in astronomy from a variety of perspectives. With the $1000 USD mini-grants awarded by the NA-ROAD, and sponsored by the Heising Simons Foundation, project leads will tackle diverse astronomy for development challenges in their communities.
Questions? Email email@example.com
We are thankful to the Heising-Simons Foundation for supporting the NA-ROAD Women and Girls in Astronomy Program.
Binoculars: Stepping stone to eyes on the skies
In the Caribbean, almost all telescope operators are males. Girls are generally intimidated to use telescopes. This creates a bottleneck that many girls will never get past in gaining the confidence to enjoy the beauty of the skies thus, wanting to learn more Astronomy. In this project, we are using the simple binoculars that anyone can use to behold the untold magic of the skies. These are not any girls – these girls are abandoned, abused or under legal protection in children’s homes in Trinidad with access to no Astronomy. The binoculars are their gateway to the heavens and science.
The Starry Skies project will center on the annular solar eclipse on October 14th, 2023, through sky observation and outreach in Harlem, New York City. The project aims to provide several additional opportunities to observe astronomical objects through a telescope, learn more about contributions made by women in astronomy, and facts about celestial objects and events. Participants interested in telescope training will have the opportunity to learn how to set up, align, and operate the telescope. We educate girls and provide opportunities for them to heal, learn, grow, and develop skills to transform their lives and design their futures. Our programs teach leadership skills so that young women can join alongside their peers and advocates to advance girls’ rights and end the ways in which girls are silenced or marginalized.
Ellas y las Estrellas
Ellas y las Estrellas is an educational project created to highlight and promote the work of women in Astronomy, especially Hispanic women. This in-person edition seeks to bring astronomy closer to people in the southern border of Texas, especially people whose economic situation or language often limits their access to cultural or academic activities. This is a bilingual project that aims to positively impact people’s lives by showcasing the work and experiences of female Hispanic astronomers in the region, engaging attendees through fun experiments, and ultimately inspiring younger generations to actively participate in STEM activities.
Month of Astronomy in the Dominican Republic
The main goal of this project is to familiarize women and girls with astronomy and show them that it is possible to pursue a career in this path. We will make a “Month of Astronomy in the Dominican Republic”, where each week, we will present a topic by established women researchers in the field, from an introduction to astronomy to modern-day research topics. The expected outcome is to increase the number of women in the Dominican Republic interested in astronomy. This event will encourage girls to study physics at the university, show them the contribution of women in astronomy, and meet women in physics already enrolled at the university.
AstroBeats: Sounds of the Cosmos
This project will empower young girls from the black community to explore Astronomy through music. The girls will convert NASA data into compositions using data sonification software. They will create unique tracks allowing them to express their individuality while using critical thinking to break down the complexities of their songs as it applies to Astrophysics. Once completed, their families will be invited to the local observatory for a private event where an ensemble will perform their melodies accompanied by a visual presentation of their work. By offering opportunity, recognition, and self-expression, these girls can nurture their interest in science and develop their scientific identities.
Bringing Astronomy to Girl Scouts through a Girl Astronomy Outreach Team
Through the purchase of portable telescopes, this project brings Girl Scout-led observing opportunities to Troops throughout Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys. Girls who previously completed a year of Astronomy Club training will form an Outreach Team, allowing them to share their knowledge and expertise with their Girl Scout peers. In addition to being loaned to the Outreach Team for events, the purchased telescopes will also be used to train new Girl leaders at monthly Astronomy Club events. The Astronomy Club, new Outreach Team, and Troops receiving Outreach events will all include traditionally underrepresented groups in Astronomy.
VERGE: Virtual Events for Remote Gathering and Engagement
The VERGE (Virtual Events for Remote Gathering and Engagement) program is an opportunity for Indigenous girls in grades 8 – 10 to participate in culturally relevant astronomy education. Native girls are uniquely underrepresented in (astro)physics, and early exposure to quality science programming is imperative to encourage them in their interest. In addition to attending talks from professional astronomers, during the program, Native star knowledge will be shared along with Western science, facilitating cultural exchange and fostering a special connection between students and the content of the program. More details about plans and past efforts are available at siriusb.org.
Jugando a recortar la luz
We will use the recovery and conservation of the dark night sky to ignite the STEM participation of girls from two semi-urban communities in Morelos, where there is a lack of women in Physics and Astronomy. During two weekends, in Loma Bonita and in Cuentepec, we will explore the day and night sky with a pair of telescopes and we will host a workshop for local girls, their mothers and teachers. The workshop will focus on making “cut off” screens with recycled materials that will be installed in and around their own homes, preventing light pollution in their neighborhood and allowing them to enjoy the night sky.
Chicas en el Espacio: Un Proyecto de astronomía para niñas y jóvenes
This project is a workshop designed for science-loving female teenagers with the aim of inspiring them to develop an interest in astronomy and space exploration. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with other like-minded young enthusiasts and delve into scientific concepts using principles from physics, engineering, geology, chemistry, and biology. By the end of the workshop, we expect participants to develop a successful Girls in Space mission. A sky observation session in partnership with the Asociación de Observación, Difusión Astronómica y Ciencias del Espacio will conclude the program.
The project “EnSEÑAme Astronomía”, a word game in Spanish with “seña” that means sign as part of “enséñame” that means teach me, is targeted to the deaf community in Mexico, mainly girls and women, who use Mexican Sign Language (MSL). MSL has signs for some astronomical concepts and lacks the signs for others. We will create a public collection of videos with the sign for the corresponding astronomical concept or word in MSL and a series of reference videos explaining the concepts that don’t have a sign yet. This will also be accompanied with a series of hands-on activities.