Previous Grad Student Workshops

2018: Victoria, BC
Topic: GEMINI Fast Turnaround, Machine learning, Industry connections

The workshops were led by Matthew Taylor & André-Nicolas Chené (Gemini Observatory) and Sébastien Fabbro (Canadian Astronomy Data Centre, NRC Herzberg).

Matthew Taylor & André-Nicolas Chené gave a hands on workshop on Gemini’s fast turn-around program. Sébastien Fabbro led an information and demonstration session on centralized data analysis and machine learning.

The workshops were followed by an engaging afternoon with industry leaders. The industrial representatives partook in PechaKucha style presentations followed by a networking mixer.

Presentations & tutorials included:
– Gemini Fast Turnaround program
– Demo proposal writing for the FT program
– Machine learning

The industrial partners for this year:
– Dynamic Structures
– Honewell
– 3vGeomatics

2015: Hamilton, ON

Topic: Statistics in astronomy

The workshop was led by Eric Feigelson (Penn State Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics) and gave a comprehensive introduction to using statistics in astronomy.

Presentations included:
– Intro to Astrostatistics
– Fundamentals of Statistical Inference
– Fitting Models to Data

Tutorials and hands-on sessions included:
– Introduction to R
– Density estimation and Data smoothing
– Multivariate Clustering and Classification

2014: Quebec City, QC
Topic: Writing proposals to acquire time on telescopes and supercomputers

Presentations included:
– Proposals and time allocation process (Gregg Wade, Royal Military College)
– Proposals for computing time (Rob Thacker, Saint Mary’s University)
– Proposals for observing time (Craig Heinke, University of Alberta)

There was also a Q&A panel discussion and a hand-ons activity reviewing actual proposals.

2013: Vancouver, BC
Topic: Getting jobs, post-docs and fellowships

Presentations included:
– Planning your career (Sarah Maddsion)
– “Two-body problem” Q&A (Diana Dragomir & Francis-Yan Cyr-Racine)
– Applying for astronomy jobs (Sarah Maddsion)
– Alternative careers (Martha Milkeraitis, Friderike Moller, Mike Kessler, Tommy Levi & Tim Cooper)

There was also an interactive CV workshop (Sarah Maddsion) and a Fellowship Q&A session with panel members:
– Norm Murray (Director of CITA), CITA Fellowship awards committee
– Jeremy Heyl (UBC), Einstein Fellowship awards committee
– Jason Kalirai (STScI) former Hubble Fellow
– Leslie Rogers, Hubble Fellow
– Helen Kirk, NSERC & SAO Fellow
– Kelsey Hoffman, CITA Fellow
– Wlad Lyra, Sagan Fellow

2012: Calgary, AB
Topic: When students enter graduate school, they may not know what direction it will take them.  In fact, student may not know what direction they want to go.  This workshop gave students ideas of the various paths they may consider pursuing.

Presentations included:
– Information and advice to improve essential skills for continuing in the academic world (Eric Donovan)
– Marketing yourself with CVs and Resumes (Jo-Anne Brown)

Guest speakers — who all started in physics but at various stages during their graduate careers decided to pursue other interests, which resulted in successful careers — were invited to share their stories and lead small group discussions:
– Geoff Holmes (MSc Physics), Research Scientist with Carbon Engineering
– Natalya Nicholson (MSc Physics), Owner of Vision Financial Inc.
– Jan Rubak (MSc Physics), Software Developer at Fotech Solutions
– Frank Sander (BSc Applied Physics), Senior Sales Rep for Baker Hughes
– Emma Spanswick (PhD Phyiscs), Research Scientist and Deputy PI of PHEOS
– Brenna Toblan (BSc Astrophysics), Physics Teacher at Central Memorial High School

2011: London, ON
Topic: Effective communication

Presentations included:
– Survival skills for scientists (Frederico Rosei)
– CANFAR (J. J. Kavelaars)
– Canadian Space Agency (Jean Dupuis)
– Public outreach (Alexander DeSouza, Ilana MacDonald, Robert Cockcroft), which was followed by an open floor discussion

There was also a discussion and Q&A session with panel members:
– Peter Calamai (Science Journalist)
– Frederico Rosei (INRS-EMT)
– Doug Welch (McMaster)

2010: Halifax, NS
Topic: Scientific publishing

Presentations included:
– Tips for successful scientific publishing
– Scientific fraud and misbehaviour
– Critical reading

There was a panel discussion offering advice for writing papers.

2009: Toronto, ON
Topic: Career planning

The workshop comprised two panel discussions.

1. Careers Outside of Academia, with panel members:
– Marko Kudjerski (Software Programmer, Starry Night, Imaginova Canada)
– Sara Poirier (Researcher/Programmer, Ontario Science Centre)
– Ivan Semeniuk (Science Journalist, Dunlap Institute)
– Dr. Charles Shepherd (Financial Software Programmer, Ion Trading)
– Dr. Elissa M. Strome (Research and Special Projects Officer, University of Toronto)

2. Obtaining a Post-doctoral Fellowship, with panel members:
– Dr. Lev Kofman
– Dr. Marten van Kerkwijk
– Dr. Luc Simard
– Dr. Howard Yee

2008: Victoria, BC
Topic: Tools for the Modern Astronomer

Seminar style with talks on proposal writing, statistics and public outreach and IYA 2009

2007: Kingston, ON
Topic: Astronomy through the ages: A Grad Student’s Perspective

Talks in the morning: The history of astronomy and current hot topics. Workshops in the afternoon: Public Outreach, Alternate careers in astronomy, astrophotography and the SDSS interface.

2006: Calgary, AB
Topic: Jobs in and out of Astronomy

Highlight employment prospects for graduate students in Astrophysics.

2005: Montreal, QC
Topic: The interaction of the scientist with his surroundings

The role that a scientist plays in society as well as the need for scientists to be able to communicate their ideas to politicians.

2004: Winnipeg, MB
Topic: Image processing

Colour image processing and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre with the many opportunities for data mining and processing available from the CADC.

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