Inclusive Collaboration Projects

General Training

Nurturing the future generations of Rubin scientists with effective, culturally responsive mentoring

Awardees: F. Bianco (University of Delaware), Rachel Street, Sara Bonito
Award: $17,000

The Rubin community has broadly and extensively committed to fostering a new generation of talent with attention to inclusivity and equity. Many grass-root and organized activities have resulted from this commitment, culminating in the Mentoring plan for the LSSTC Catalyst Fellowship program in which a team of mentors is recruited (and importantly financially supported!) to nurture the postdoctoral fellowship awardees. However, mentoring is a skill that, like all skills, must be learned, and most academic institutions do not have structures in place to train mentors in effective mentorship practices. We identified the Center for Improvement of Mentor Experience in Research (CIMER), run out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as the ideal mentoring program for our community. A team of four (4) mentors-in-training will take the CIMER Entering Mentoring Facilitator Workshop. These first four trained Rubin mentors will become trainers and run training sessions in subsequent years, so this team of four trained facilitators would enable an extension of mentoring training to the broader Rubin community.

Leveling the Playing Field Within the LSST Solar System Science Collaboration

Awardees: M. Schwamb (Queen’s University), Colin Orion Chandler, Laura Inno, Siegfried Eggl, Sarah Greenstreet, Mario Jurić
Award: $3,200

This program will help level the playing field within the Solar System Science Collaboration (SSSC), particularly for early career members, by holding proposal writing training clinics and facilitating the creation of proposal teams to jointly craft LSST follow-up observing proposals and projects. To achieve this goal, we will run a series of weekly telescope proposal clinics for SSSC members. The SSSC Co-chairs would run these events with support from the rest of the SSSC leadership team. We see these clinics will combine coworking sessions, networking/teambuilding events, tutorial sessions/discussion panels with those who have led large observing programs and successful observing proposals, and mock time allocation panel sessions where early draft proposals can be read with feedback provided. The aim will be not only to support proposal writing for all SSSC members but also to enable those who are interested in forming joint proposals to find collaborators, allowing junior SSSC members the option to pair with established researchers rather than compete.

Professional Training for Inclusive Community Building 

Awardees: V. Kalogera (Northwestern University), Bryan Scott, Aaron Geller, Tjitske Starkenberg, Kari Frank 
Award: $12,000

Over the past year, CIERA has worked with Visceral Change to understand that a discrepancy can exist between the positive intent and willingness to support a diverse scientific community and the actual capacity to concretely create a collaborative environment (across research groups, science collaborations) where everyone is seen, understood, and supported so they are able to bring their best self to their collaborations. With this project, we will implement a set of four expert-led (by Visceral Change professionals) training workshops at CIERA on topics such as:

  • Mentorship: The Key to Success
  • Microaggressions in the Workplace
  • Cultural Competence
  • Allyship & Advocacy

Two of the four workshops will be fully virtual for up to 100 participants and will be open to the whole Rubin community. Summary reports of each workshop (key training points and lessons, as well as attendance and evaluations from participants) will be shared with the Rubin science community as widely as possible: science collaborations telecons, Project & Community Workshops, the Dark Energy Science Collaboration Mentorship and JuDO (“Junior DESC Organization”) programs, and the LSSTC DSFP fellows at their schools.

Community Resources

Updating the Toolkit of Collaborative Practice to Support Astronomy Community Inclusion Plans

Awardees: D. Norman (NOIRLab), Tim Sacco, Serena Kim 
Award: $3,000

As part of the US Extremely Large Telescope Project’s Research Inclusion Initiative, staff at the NSF’s NOIRLab have developed a Toolkit of Collaborative Practice that will help foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in Astronomy. The Toolkit of Collaborative Practice is built to give principal investigators more direct support in implementing practices that further DEIA goals based on their collaboration’s size and readiness to engage in inclusive practice. Instead of simply providing links to webpages and articles, the Toolkit contains materials curated with the input and expertise of social scientists. We are convening an advisory committee of social science and astronomy experts to provide feedback on the current content of the Toolkit. With these funds, we will hire a student from Steward Observatory who is interested in promoting discussion of DEIA in scientific research to work with us to incorporate this advisory committee feedback into a subsequent version of the Toolkit.

The Guide to Inclusive Rubin-LSST events

Awardees: R. Gill (Rubin Observatory), Federica Bianco
Award: $10,000

This how-to guide will help Rubin LSST meeting organizers build inclusion from start to end in their event planning – including venue selection (in-person, hybrid, fully virtual), committee & speaker selection, registration/website, code of conduct, meeting implementation, exit survey, results distribution, and lessons learned. This guide will also include checklists, easy-to-follow bulleted text, and sample meeting slides.

Harmonizing Rubin DEI practices

Awardees: J. Bregeon (IN2P3), Cécile Roucelle, Gaëlle Shiffrin, Mickaël Rigault, Marina Ricci
Award: $14,500

The French Rubin LSST collaboration put in place an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Mediation (EDIM) committee in 2021 in order to promote inclusion in the collaboration and handle potential disputes. As we learn from how DEI is handled within the Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC), we lack an assessment of the specificities of the Rubin LSST France community. Cultural norms play a role in the choice of actions to be taken to efficiently promote DEI.  A social study of our policies and practices is an important step to advance our work. As an added value, the processes established while working with the Rubin LSST France community could be formalized and adapted to other communities within Rubin. Two main deliverables are expected from this study :

  • A document assessing the current DEI practices in Rubin LSST France, including a critical view of undergoing and prospective actions. It will evaluate our policies and institutional framework to shed some light on the specific steps to make
  • A document on the methodology followed to assess the situation. It will give a specific focus on the study of possible biases and cultural specificities. This second document would be available and, as a method, hopefully useful to other non-US countries within Rubin LSST.

Discovering Astronomy with LSST: Resources to Promote Research Alliances with Under-Resourced Institutions

Awardees: K. Dage (Wayne State/McGill) & T. Panurach (Norfolk State), Ed Cackett, Will Clarkson, Steve Zepf
Award: $20,000

We will develop and create a set of resources to be distributed by LSST-DA on how LSST scientists can actively engage with students from under-resourced institutions, such as community colleges, in cross-institutional collaboration on LSST-based projects. Our four main deliverables include:

  • A template on how to jumpstart cross-institutional, LSST-based collaboration with local community colleges (based on our active, existing pilot program)
  • A project template that demonstrates how to craft project goals, resources, and outcomes appropriately
  • Materials (slide deck and worksheets) for two workshops geared towards helping students from under-resourced institutions apply to competitive astronomy research opportunities and on how to optimize their relationship with their research mentor

Software Training Development

Creating an LSST-specific software development workshop for improving astronomical software and lowering the threshold for students and researchers from small and underfunded institutions

Awardees: O. Razim et al (Ruder Boscovic), Michael Stroh, Jennifer Sobeck, Rachel Street, Federica Bianco, Markus Hundertmark
Award: $7,500

The aim of this proposal is to promote software development best practices in the LSST community by creating a new astronomy-specific workshop that would teach the attendees from all LSST collaborations the most essential best practices of software development using LSST DP0 data. Starting from the content of the Carpentries Intermediate Research Software Development Workshop, which is non-astro and non-LSST specific, the developers of the workshop will write new lessons on Jupyter Lab best practices, unit-testing, Git, etc., and develop LSST-specific examples of the code. The developers also plan to attend Carpentries Instructors’ training. This will allow the workshop materials to be officially recognized within The Carpentries community and will help to spread the knowledge outside the LSST collaboration.

Code Tutorials to Enable Participation: Reducing Barriers for Early Career Scientists and New Collaboration Members

Awardees: R. Dalal (Princeton), Tianqing Zhang, Yao-Yuan Mao, Miranda Gorsuch, Sierra Villarreal, Andrés A. Plazas Malagón, Alex Malz
Award: $12,000

We are proposing the development of a “sprint school” to supplement Sprint Weeks organized by DESC, where established code developers will present hands-on, interactive code tutorials to familiarize new junior members of the Rubin community with heavily used Rubin-specific tools. This will enable these junior members to participate in the rest of the Sprint Week using the skills they have just learned and contribute to a number of DESC or Rubin-wide projects. We will be able to organize the first “sprint school” at the DESC Sprint Week in October 2024, funding two code tutorial leaders and ten new junior members to attend the school and sprint week (with the goal of enabling scientists who may not normally have the opportunity to attend). Moreover, we will create a repository of online, recorded code tutorials that anyone in the Rubin Science Collaborations will be able to access and learn from. The lessons learned from these projects will be documented for reference in the future, both within DESC and for other science collaborations. We will also use entry and exit surveys to assess the effectiveness of these trainings, which will provide valuable guidance for future efforts.