CASCA Graduate Student Committee Report, June 1999

This is the first year of official operation for the graduate student committee, and so a great deal was done by our group. The recommendations to CASCA that created this committee were to provide resources for graduate students and increase student involvement in CASCA. To this end several initiatives were undertaken, particularly the creation of a graduate student website and the graduate student workshop during the annual meeting.

The new graduate student web page has been headed by Todd Fuller (UWO). The current website is intended as a first step in improving contact among graduate students in different institutions across Canada. We are hoping that graduate students will find the site useful and give us comments

and suggestions as to how to improve it. The web site contains links to contact the graduate student committee members, a directory of Canadian astronomy graduate students, the minutes for our first annual graduate student meeting, which were compiled by Brenda Matthews (McMaster) and translated by Kathleen Labrie (UVic). The site also contains links to the Cassiopeia and CASCA web sites. The entire web site is in both official languages. Translating for the site has been done by Francois Chagnon (UBC), Stephanie Plante (Laval), Kathleen Labrie (UVic), and Loic Albert (UofM). You may visit the graduate student web site at

We invite suggestions and comments, which may be sent to any of the committee members listed below.

After consultation with students, it was decided to have as our first annual graduate student workshop a one day event on the subject of the Gemini telescopes. Brenda Matthews (McMaster) volunteered to organise and coordinate the workshop with the Gemini Project team. Further information and a itinerary may be found at the following website:

The plans for this year's workshop have been reasonably smooth, with most snags occurring due to this being the first year it has been attempted. It would be helpful next year if the LOC could integrate the existence of the grad workshop into the registration form. This would spread awareness and provide a tally as to how many attendees to expect. Independent surveys and mass mailings served these purposes this year. Having one of the grad students at the host institution act as liaison to the scientific team would be best whenever possible. A better assessment of the grad workshops will of course be forthcoming once it has been completed.

Over the past year the committee has also acted as a link for communicating with graduate students across Canada. The committee acted as a conduit for petitions on postdoctoral positions at NRC, while taking no official position on this. We also had discussions on the LRPP process, and made several recommendations to that panel, including recommending increasing postdoctoral opportunities in Canada, and expanding the travel grant program for students observing at Canadian observatories.

Several problem areas arose over the past year, mainly to do with the fact that our committee has no official operating budget. CASCA board agreed to supply around $80 to pay for refreshments for the workshop, but a permanent way to pay for this must be decided. My attempts to get money from local business were unsuccessful, since businesses were reluctant to fund a workshop in another province. Any suggestions from CASCA board would be appreciated.

The Graduate Student Committee

The current graduate student committee members are the following:

Mel Blake, York University, (Chair).

Wayne Barkhouse, University of Toronto.

Alex Razoumov, University of British Columbia.

Stephanie Plante, Laval University.

Brenda Matthews, McMaster University, (Meeting Chair).

Todd Fuller, University of Western Ontario, (Website Coordinator).

Juan Velar, St. Mary's University.

Kathleen Labrie, University of Victoria.