The ASA Early Career Researcher Chapter Steering Committee is pleased to announce a virtual How To series, answering some of the most pressing questions from our community. Each live event will be held on Wednesday afternoon, from February 2nd through March 16th.

Registration is free and can be found here. Registration is required to receive email updates and Zoom information, and will be open till January 28th. Where possible, recordings will be available on our Youtube page a week after the live event.

Additional information

(*unconfirmed speaker)

How to write proposals: telescopes, supercomputing, and more
Learn from successful proposals from a variety of different facilities, including optical telescopes, radio telescopes, supercomputing, and software support.  There will be presentations and Q&A from Sarah Martell and Greg Poole followed by breakout sessions where small groups of participants can get specific feedback from experienced proposal writers, including Emily Wisnioski, Glenn Kacprzak, David Yong, Luca Cortese, Chris Riseley, Ivy Wong, Natasha Hurley-Walker, and Nichole Barry. Bring along your drafts and your questions!

How to write an industry resume: interactive workshop
Join us in this interactive workshop to build your resume with the help of industry professionals. To get the most out of this session, please upload an industry resume to Dropbox link by 28th January 2022. These will be reviewed by experts who will provide feedback (for free!) prior to the session. The workshop will start with a presentation and Q&A from Caitlin Adams and Iraklis Konstantopoulos, and then transition into breakout rooms for two periods of 20 mins each. During the breakout sessions, the participants will review one anothers’ resumes and discuss the lessons learned from feedback by the expert reviewers and the earlier presentations. Industry experts include Marilena Salvo, Hosein Hashemi, Sarah Reeves, Bonnie Zhang, Dilyar Barat, Katherine Newton-McGee, David Webster* and Fang Yuan.

How to transition to industry: advice from astronomers in industry
Get advice from astronomers in industry on how to make the transition! Each one of our panellists will give a short 10-minute presentation on their career trajectory, and then it will open up to an audience-driven Q&A. We will be joined by Julie Banfield (space/defence sector), Jose Martinez (data science), Sarah Reeves (science museum curator), Dilyar Barat (entrepreneur/startup founder), and Bonnie Zhang (software engineer).

How to apply for an academic job
Join this session to hear experts from a variety of academic job tracks give advice on the most important elements of an academic application. Topics include application content, where your time should be spent, differences between academic jobs/levels, and the process in general. Ilya Mandel will give an overview talk, followed by breakout rooms where participants can ask our panellists specific questions regarding the expert’s specialty. We will be joined by Barbara Catinella* and others.

How to interview
Interviews can be the most stressful part of the application process; gain confidence with the advice of our industry and academic experts! Susan Scott and Matt Francis will cover the best practices for industry and academic interviews, and how they differ. Afterwards, we will put theory into practice in a series of breakout rooms with peer-to-peer mock questions.

Let’s talk mental health
Rather than having someone talk at you about mental health, come to our session provided by ___ to talk with someone about mental health. The ASA has generously donated funds to hire eight (!) accredited mental health professionals so that we can have small breakout sessions for more personal interaction. This event will only be provided live; there will be no recording.

How to polish, publish, and cite code
Do you want to publish your code, but need some direction? Astronomy Data and Computing Services (ADACS) training services will show us how to polish code, how to publish code, and how to get credit for all of our hard work. Paul Hancock and Rebecca Lange will guide us through this newly evolving landscape of code and credit, and give us the latest updates in order to maximise impact.


Sarah Martell

Sarah is a Scientia Associate Professor at UNSW. Her research focuses on Galactic archaeology, in particular globular clusters and halo chemodynamics. She is part of the leadership group for the GALAH survey. She is originally from the US, and earned her PhD from UC Santa Cruz in 2008 and spent 3 years as a postdoc at the University of Heidelberg before moving to Sydney in 2011 as an AAO Research Fellow. In 2014 she received an ARC DECRA fellowship and moved to UNSW. Sarah is currently the chair of ATAC, the external chair for the Swinburne TAC for Keck Observatory and an external reviewer for HST proposals, and a former member of the ESO OPC.

Gregory Poole

Dr. Poole obtained his PhD from the University of Victoria (Canada) in 2007 after studies at the University of Toronto (Canada; MSc) and the University of Waterloo (Canada; BSc). He has contributed to published studies in a wide range of astronomical disciplines: both observational and theoretical; across multiple wavelengths; and from the local Universe to the high-redshift Universe. He has a particular interest in problems involving high performance computing; especially those involving heterogeneous and distributed architectures. He is currently the Astronomy Data Science Coordinator for the Centre of Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology and manages the development efforts of the Swinburne node of the Astronomy Data and Computing Services (ADACS) program; a group of ~20 professional software engineers tasked with aiding Australian Astronomers with computing challenges of all varieties.

Caitlin Adams

Caitlin works as a Data Scientist at FrontierSI, a not-for-profit focused on connecting government, industry, and academia across the spatial information sector (the study of where stuff is). In her work, Caitlin focuses on extracting useful information from satellite and aerial imagery, leveraging techniques from remote sensing and machine learning. Caitlin studied Physics during her Bachelor of Science (Hons) at the University of Queensland, then Cosmology during her PhD at Swinburne University of Technology.

Hercules (Iraklis) Konstantopoulos

Growing up by the mountains of Northern Greece, Iraklis Konstantopoulos developed a fascination with the night sky and all its intrigue. After a career as a researcher in astrophysics that spanned ten years and four continents, he became drawn to addressing a greater variety of data-related problems. Data science ensued with work on sustainability, renewable energy, and enterprise software. His work focuses on converting information into strategy, and on creating informative and accessible data visualisation.

Julie Banfield

Julie completed her PhD in Radio Frequency Astrophysics at the University of Calgary in 2011. Between 2011 – 2017 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science and at Mt Stromlo Observatory, ANU. Julie left astronomy and joined the Department of Defence as a civilian in the Space Systems Division. In 2021, Julie joined Omni Canberra as a data scientist. 

Jose Martinez

I‘ve had a very eclectic professional path… I did two postdocs after my PhD, one in astrobiology (KSC) and one in bioinformatics (CSIRO). Then I moved to the public sector to model the educational outcomes of schools (Acara) before I went to do data science for the private sector in both CBA and Qantas. 

Sarah Reeves

Sarah Reeves is science curator at the Powerhouse Museum, focusing on the areas of astronomy and space. Sarah completed her PhD at the University of Sydney in 2016, in the area of galaxy evolution and, during her studies, also worked as an astronomy guide at Sydney Observatory. At the Powerhouse she has worked on a wide range of science exhibitions, and in 2019 curated the highly successful Apollo 11 exhibition, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. Sarah is passionate about sharing her knowledge about science and technology with the public through the Museum’s collection and exhibitions.

Bonnie Zhang

Dr Bonnie Zhang (she/her) completed a PhD in supernova cosmology at Mt Stromlo Observatory, ANU, graduating in 2018. From 2017 she was working as a software engineer for Canberra startup QuintessenceLabs, and in 2020 joined Google Sydney as a site reliability engineer, and now works semi-remotely from the Blue Mountains.

Dilyar Barat 

Dilyar is a recent Astronomy PhD graduate. He began his non-academic career during his postgraduate studies, by taking a break from PhD and doing an AI Engineer internship with local tech company Intelledox (now Smart Communications). During his last year of PhD, he cofounded Rosella Street, a marketplace with the mission to improve community well-being and environmental sustainability. Right now when he’s not building his marketplace, he talks to his fellow PhD students and ECRs about paths beyond academia.

Ilya Mandel

Ilya Mandel received a PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 2008, with a specialisation in gravitational-wave astronomy, under the supervision of Kip S. Thorne.  He carried out postdoctoral research at Northwestern University and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a National Science Foundation astronomy and astrophysics postdoctoral fellow.  Ilya arrived at the University of Birmingham, UK as a Lecturer in 2011, and was promoted to Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics in 2016.  During this time, Ilya established himself as one of the leaders in the emerging field of gravitational-wave astrophysics, focusing on sources of gravitational waves, data-analysis challenges posed by current and planned gravitational-wave detectors, astrophysics of compact-object binaries and ways in which upcoming observations of gravitational waves can aid our understanding of this astrophysics.  In 2019, Ilya joined Monash University as a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Susan Scott

Matt Francis

Matt obtained a PhD in Computational Cosmology from the University of Sydney studying Dark Energy cosmologies using N-Body simulations of structure formation. Following this he has had an eclectic career including a post-doctoral position, a role as a researcher and operational forecaster of space weather, a data science consultant focused on large scale digital personalisation through causal inference, insurance, and tech startups. He worked for 4 years at Hatch, a startup building an online employment marketplace where he gained a detailed understanding of the modern recruitment process and the tech that is (mis?)used within it. He currently works as a behavioural scientist at Afterpay.

Mental Health Provider

Paul Hancock

Paul is an astronomer turned data scientist working at the Curtin Institute for Computation. In his time as an astronomer Paul explored the transient universe and developed software workflows to support large radio surveys. At the CIC he now supports astronomers via the Astronomy Data And Computing Services (ADACS), teaches computing courses on python, data mining, and machine learning, and supports variety of data science projects.

Rebecca Lange