siaa_logo_blue Sarah B. Spolaor

Swinburne University of Technology CAS

Melbourne, Australia

Job Title: PhD Student


She is an Astronomer: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

Sarah Spolaor: Nowadays, especially for early career female astronomers and physicists, it is actually an advantage to be female! There are many scholarships and grants available only to women, and institutions sometimes actively recruit women to encourage their participation in science and to have a diverse staff.


SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

SS: There are more men than women here in the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, but I wouldn't consider women under-represented here.


SIAA: What is your family status?

SS: I just got married this past September (2008)! I find that actually many (most?) astronomers, male and female, tend to have strong family lives outside of work.


SIAA: Have you had any career breaks?

SS: I had a month break when my husband and I travelled to the USA to get married.


SIAA: How difficult did you find the return to your work?

SS: Actually I found the break refreshing — I returned with a fresh mind and a renewed enthusiasm.


SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

SS: Basically normal work hours, though the hours are flexible; probably on average 8 hours per day.


SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

SS: Some of the most significant career advancements in astronomy come from big serendipitous discoveries! It's always beneficial to keep your eyes peeled for unexpected things, or things you're not actually looking for!


SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

SS: Just keep on doing what you're doing!