The NAEIC is pleased with the new coordinator: Nissanke: “We have found an excellent candidate in Tana Joseph, who is a professional astronomer and an expert on binary stars in other galaxies.” Joseph is also a world-renowned scholar in Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), and has given dozens of presentations, interviews and training sessions around the world on this topic.
Prof. Michael Wise (SRON and chair of the Astronomy Council): “From a pool of strong candidates, Joseph clearly stood out. She combines an extensive background in both astronomy research and EDI work with an encompassing vision for improving EDI in Dutch astronomy.”
Tana Joseph is honored and excited by the appointment and looks forward to starting her new role as Equity, Diversity & Inclusion coordinator for the Dutch astronomy community: “I look forward to working with my colleagues to make astronomy in the Netherlands a safer, more equitable and inclusive place, in which all our researchers can thrive.”
The astronomy community in the Netherlands is a fairly small and tight knit one, including people from many different cultures and backgrounds. When Samaya Nissanke heard in 2019 that several students and early-career researchers were worried about representation and inclusion, she decided in 2019 to establish the Netherlands Astronomy Equity and Inclusion committee (NAEIC).
The NAEIC advises the Netherlands Astronomy Council, is a point for guidance and advice for Dutch astronomy students and astronomers on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and undertakes activities with the aim of making astronomy in the Netherlands a more fair and inclusive community.
The NAEIC has already initiated several activities, including writing and promoting statements related to EDI issues, organizing training sessions, and starting a lecture series. However, none of the committee members had any solid EDI expertise or training, which was felt as a lack of crucial expertise. Also, all committee members do this work voluntarily on top of their professional careers in the Dutch astronomy community, which leaves them with little time to spare. Nissanke: “To be most effective, the NAEIC now has a dedicated EDI officer with expertise and experience working in this area, who can lead and direct the committee’s efforts.”