|Elizabeth Wylie de Boer|
Mt Stromlo Observatory, Australian National University
Job Title: Post Doctoral Fellow
She is an Astronomer: How many years since you got your maximum degree?
Elizabeth Wylie de Boer: 2 years.
SIAA: What drove you into an astronomy career?
EWB: I have wanted to be an astronomer since I was about 10 years old. My Dad bought me a telescope and I had a Physics teacher at high school who was very encouraging. I love the magic of it, combined with the problem solving and the fact that research is always new.
SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?
EWB: Not yet. I suspect my views on this may change with time.
SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?
EWB: Yes, very under-represented. There are NO women in permanent positions. There are four female post-docs.
SIAA: What is your family status?
EWB: Married, no children yet.
SIAA: Have you had any career breaks?
EWB: I had a self-inflicted career break to have some time off (6 months) after my PhD.
SIAA: How difficult did you find the return to work?
EWB: I felt the time off improved my motivation and enthusiasm for the job. However, this was effectively a year with no publications so I worry if it will affect future job prospects.
SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?
EWB: Anything from eight hours during a normal working week to as many as 16+ when observing.
SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?
EWB: Knowing how to juggle my career with having a family, and successfully achieving both! Having a female role model who was achieved what I want to. Also, more publications. Always more publications. And a HUGE discovery would help no end too.
SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?
EWB: Believe in yourself and your ability and don’t let men (or anyone, for that matter) intimidate you. Don’t doubt yourself - and learn to fake confidence, even when you don’t necessarily feel it – the real thing will come in time (or so I’m told).
SIAA: What have been your career highlights so far?
EWB: Having not had much of career in which to highlight yet, I would have to say obtaining my PhD was pretty good. Also, I was applying for post-doc positions for a while during the end of my PhD, and found it so hard I eventually began to look outside the field (awful!) - it was pretty cool when a job offer finally came through!