siaa_logo_blue Kristin Anne Woodley woodley_circle

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada
Job Title: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow


She is an Astronomer: How many years since you got your maximum degree?

Kirstin Anne Woodley: I got my PhD in 2009. I am currently in my first job as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow.


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

KAW: I had a lot of success when applying for post-doctoral positions and I do not feel that it was easier or harder for me to get a job than any of my male friends who are astronomers.


SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

KAW: There is only 1 female professor in astronomy at the University of Bristish Columbia, and I am one of 3 female post-docs out of 11, however, women make up more than 50% of the graduate student population.


SIAA: What is your family status?

KAW: I am married and planning on having children in the near future.


SIAA: Have you had any career breaks?

KAW: I have never taken a break from my schooling or work.

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

KAW: I work a normal day of about 9am-6pm.


SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

KAW: It is important in this field to continually present your research and meet new contacts that will strike up new collaborations.  I have been fortunate enough in my career to be able to attend many international conferences to meet new scientists and present my work.


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

KAW: I would offer the same advice to anyone entering astronomy.  Make sure you really enjoy research as it can be tough at times!  So having passion for what you do is key.  And don't be afraid to reach out and talk to professors!  It is often possible to do summer research projects as an undergrad, enabling you to get real research experience before you enter graduate school. Although I do believe there are many challenges faced by women trying to enter an academic world, don't let it discourage you.  There have been many many successful women astronomers!