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Crosspost: A Break-up Letter with Astronomy, From a Young Black Woman

2 Jul 2020, 19:00 UTC
Crosspost: A Break-up Letter with Astronomy, From a Young Black Woman
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Credit: ESA, NASABy Lauren Chambers via Medium.comDear Astronomy,It’s not me, it’s you.I had intentions of leaving you for over 3 years, even before I finished my astronomy undergraduate degree. The original reason I cited for wanting to leave is that I felt I would never be fulfilled by the content of what a career in astronomy would look like. Spending a lifetime studying stars and galaxies while watching my neighbors suffer from structural inequalities — inequalities that I have studied rigorously and am capable of fighting against — felt irresponsible and selfish to me.Make no mistake, I knew that I could have stayed with you and been successful if I wanted to. For those who need evidence to accept that claim: I graduated magna cum laude from Yale, winning departmental prizes for my research in both astronomy and African American studies, and won the American Astronomical Society’s Chambliss prize for an exceptional undergraduate research poster. I didn’t leave because I felt at all incompetent or insecure about my ability to be an astronomer. Nor was I pushed out — I was exceptionally lucky to have many supportive mentors in the field across multiple institutions, I never had a research experience ...

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