Today, the North American Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (NA-ROAD) announced the selection of ten astronomy for development projects to receive funding as part of the Women and Girls in Astronomy Program (WGAP). WGAP aims to inspire and support women, girls, and underrepresented genders in the field of astronomy.
These 10 WGAP projects were selected from a pool of many ambitious proposals. Each winning proposal was awarded a $1,000 mini-grant. Project leaders will join the WGAP network composed of industry and academic professionals. The project year will conclude with a presentation highlighting each funded project, in which WGAP Fellows will have the opportunity to present their outcomes and discuss their contributions to advancing women and girls in astronomy.
“AURA is very excited to be part of the team supporting these unique and varied astronomy for development projects.” said Shari Lifson, AURA representative on the NA-ROAD. “The projects will impact underserved communities and develop a network of professionals.”
The selected projects focus on communities throughout North America including the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Nashville, New York City, Florida, Texas and in the virtual space for remote engagement with rural tribal communities. While all WGAP projects support women and girls in the field of astronomy, individual projects have diverse objectives including reducing light pollution, expanding astronomical vocabulary in Mexican Sign Language, enhancing research skills and access to equipment, and utilizing the lens of music for data analysis.
“We have the honor of supporting ten wonderful projects across different cultures, countries, and cities,” said Karla Garcia, WGAP coordinator. “At our first cohort meeting, project leaders experienced the impact of this program, which enables scientists and community leaders to connect through shared experiences as women in astronomy and uplift each other and their communities.”
“Receiving this grant is an absolute honor as it allows me to empower young girls of color to pursue science,” said Shaniya Jarrett, who received a grant for AstroBeats: Sounds of the Cosmos. “The cosmic compositions they create will inspire the future song for inclusive Astronomy.”
Funding for the WGAP is made possible through a generous donation by the Heising-Simons Foundation. These efforts are managed through NA-ROAD, which is co-managed by Associated Universities Inc. (AUI), Alder Planetarium, and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).
For more information about the NA-Road Women and Girls in Astronomy Program please visit: https://naroad.astro4dev.org/na-road-projects/women-and-girls-astronomy-program/
AURA, a non-profit corporation, is a consortium of 49 US institutions and 3 international affiliates. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. In addition, AURA is deeply committed to public and educational outreach, and to diversity throughout the astronomical and scientific workforce.
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.(https://www.astro4dev.org/aboutiauoad/)