Research Assistant position with the ASAS-SN project

The ASAS-SN project is looking for a Research Assistant.

The Research Assistant will work with Professors K. Stanek and C. Kochanek on the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). Duties include: daily quality control of data obtained by 20 ASAS-SN telescopes; verification of supernova and other transient candidates; release of confirmed ASAS-SN discoveries to the public; response to public queries concerning ASAS-SN Sky Patrol data; coordination of queue observing schedule on the MDM 2.4-m telescope. The selected person will also participate in follow-up observations and data reduction of ASAS-SN targets.

Apply at

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree required by time of hire; 1-3 years of research experience in astrophysics; minimum of one year of programming experience by start of employment.

If there are any question, please contact Kris Stanek at

Summer research in the astronomical sciences

The National Science Foundation provides support for undergraduate research at many institutions across the country.  At their site, you can see a list of supported programs for 2019.  There is a great variety of programs in all sorts of areas, from imaging and computation, solar and stellar physics, planetary sciences, to extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.

Undergraduate research is increasingly a must-have for graduate school, and many employers in STEM fields or the data sciences want you to have a solid research-oriented internship.

Please carefully check out the various programs before applying to see any eligibility criteria, what materials are required, and (above all) when the application deadlines are!  (Some of these are pretty soon….)

These are typically highly competitive programs, but don’t talk yourself out of applying.  Most places look for people from all sorts of backgrounds and experience, and don’t just rank people by GPA.  And somebody has to give you your first chance!

I would be very happy to use the comment thread on this post for people to ask questions about application strategies, how to write a good application letter, how to select people to write letters of reference.  I have lots of opinions (and experience!) about those matters, but I would rather the discussion be student-driven than to come down to you from on high.

In case you missed it, Astronomy recently announced the competition for our summer research program.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at Ohio State

The Department of Astronomy and the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics are pleased to announce the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Astrophysics (SURP).

This program provides a 12-week paid internship in research or education under the supervision of a faculty member or postdoctoral fellow.  The 2019 program will run from May 8 until July 26.

Full details, including criteria for eligibility, are included in the above link.  The application deadline is Monday, February 11, 2019.  (Note that the deadline is earlier than it was in previous years.)

Write to me any time if you have questions about the program.


Graduate Study at the University of Illinois

I get lots and lots of email.  This one is about a very good program.  Some students of my close collaborators have gone there and have had a good experience.

The Department of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign would like to broadly advertise our graduate program to undergraduates at your institution.

Students from traditionally underrepresented groups in the physical sciences are especially encouraged to apply. The Physics GRE is not required. The application deadline is January 15, 2019.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Astronomy hosts vibrant research programs that span cosmology, compact objects, galaxies, stars, and planets. Survey science, data-intensive astronomy, and computational astrophysics are particular departmental and campus strengths. Illinois is an institutional member of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), the South Pole Telescope (SPT), and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Illinois is the global central hub for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), hosting the data archive and playing a central role in data processing and analysis. The Astronomy Department has strong ties to the highly-ranked departments of Physics and Chemistry, the College of Engineering, and the National Center for Supercomputing Application (NCSA). 

More information about our program can be found at   


Undergrad scholarship for students of Polish descent

There are always a lot more scholarships available than you might think.  Here’s an announcement for one, taken from an email I recently received.

The Kościuszko Foundation administers a $5,000 scholarship for undergraduate students of Polish descent.  Please pass on this information to possible candidates as well as faculty and staff that may be in positions to further disseminate this information.

 Requirements of the “Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Science Scholarship” include:

  • Undergraduate student of Polish descent, US citizen or permanent resident
  • Outstanding promise in the natural sciences
  • Minimum 3.5 GPA

The deadline to apply online is January 15, 2019

Please be so kind as to forward the attached information to possible candidates.  The live link includes complete Requirements and Application:


Summer Internship in San Diego

Hi folks —

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything … it’s been that sort of semester!

You’ll now be seeing a lot of announcements for jobs, summer research positions, and other opportunities.  Check these out!

Prof. Terndrup

Here’s an email I received recently.

I would like to inform your constituents about an exciting ten-week summer internship opportunity in the Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, in La Jolla, California.

Our internship program is a great opportunity for inquisitive and motivated undergraduate students with exceptional aptitude for quantitative science majoring in Oceanography, Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology to work with some of the most notable scientists in the world while earning a modest salary. 

UCSD is an equal opportunity employer, with a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity.

More information can be found on our website, where we will be accepting applications through 4 p.m. Pacific time on January 18, 2019. If you have any questions please contact me.

Eva Friedlander | Summer Internship Coordinator | Marine Physical Laboratory | UC San Diego Scripps Institution Of Oceanography | MC 0213 |

Note that Physics is one of the listed disciplines in this announcement.


Ph.D. studies in Germany #2

From a recent announcement about Ph.D. research in solar system science:

The International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen ( applications for several PhD positions to start in 2019.

Full details may be found at

The application window opens on October 1, with a deadline of November 15, 2018.

Ph.D. studies in Germany

Here’s an announcement that showed up last week:

The International Max Planck Research School on Astrophysics (IMPRS)  in Garching/Munich (Bavaria, Germany) is soliciting applications for its PhD program. We would appreciate if you could distribute the information among interested students in the program.

IMPRS provides much more details at its website.

The deadline for applications is November 15. 2018.

Canadian Ph.D. programs in Exoplanet Science

I recently received an announcement about opportunities for Masters and Ph.D. studies in exoplanet sciences in Canada.  Specifically

We are happy to announce new M.Sc./Ph.D. positions in exoplanetary science at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at the Université de Montréal or the other home institutions of iREx professors (McGill University, Bishop’s University), starting either in the Spring or Fall 2019 semesters.

If you are interested, please read the announcement carefully before applying.   Graduate programs in Canada typically admit students only for study in research groups; one doesn’t apply generally to a department or program as people do in the US.  So it is necessary to contact potential groups to see when there might be openings.

You have to move fast on this one.  The program wants students to contact the professor(s) they want to work with by September 24.

Retention of female STEM students

Check out this really interesting article summarizing recent research at Ohio State on why women stay or leave graduate school.  One of the largest factors is the number of other women in the program.

A new study found that the fewer females who enter a doctoral program at the same time, the less likely any one of them will graduate within six years.

In the worst-case scenario – where there’s just one woman in a new class – she is 12 percentage points less likely to graduate within six years than her male classmates, the study found.

Astronomy’s undergrad major is pretty skewed, with only about 20-25% of students who are women.  And it’s even worse in Physics, where our majors take most of their classes.  Statistics don’t indicate that women leave the Astronomy major more often than men do, but that does not mean that the climate itself is not a barrier to success.

I’d love to hear your comments on the article or on the way gender imbalance manifests itself in the program.  If you prefer, you can write to me privately; any comments sent by email will remain confidential.