November 4, 2016 - Four engineers from LSST attended the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) meeting in Philadelphia, PA, October 27 - 29, a meeting which brought together 5000 individuals for professional and personal development. AURA sponsored a booth at the meeting on behalf of LSST, NOAO, NSO, Gemini and STScI. A total of 24 engineers from the observatories attended along with AURA HR and administrative staff. The LSST team members attending were Integration & Test Engineer Margaux Lopez from the camera team at SLAC, and Chris Coleman, Deputy Manager for Project Controls, Software Engineer Harini Sundararaman, and Optics Engineer Constanza Araujo, all from the Tucson-based Telescope & Site team.
The group attended a variety of courses, workshops, and lectures to sharpen their technical training and share expertise and experiences with other engineers. The conference professional development strands supported both short- and long-term personal and organizational growth. Hiring was an emphasis of the AURA booth, and all LSST positions found on our Hiring website (AURA and non-AURA LSST) were promoted at the career fair. SWE was a great opportunity to inform people about the career opportunities available at observatories that aren’t widely known. It was exciting to promote engineering for astronomy as an awesome career path, perhaps a bit outside what is typically envisioned.
Networking was an integral part of the SWE experience, for the distributed LSST team, for attendees from the observatories represented by AURA, and with the other SWE attendees (not all of whom were women engineers it should be mentioned!). For Margaux Lopez, the professional development sessions were great, but she particularly enjoyed the full-day Invent It Build It outreach program. There she was able to network with other female engineers while simultaneously doing engineering activities with middle school girls… a win-win for LSST and the future of STEM.
Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded LSST Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). The DOE-funded effort to build the LSST camera is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
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