Professional Development

DPS Dependent Care Grants

In 2011, the DPS began a pilot program to help parents of small children attend the DPS meeting. After surveying the DPS membership (see 2011 Childcare Survey spreadsheet), it was clear that the economic burden of child, elder, and disabled dependent care affects a small fraction of our membership, but the impact is so great that it can often prevent attendance at meetings, especially for early career scientists or those with limited funding. Therefore, members may apply to subsidize dependent care services during the DPS conference week, for use either at the DPS meeting location or at home.

These grants are intended to reimburse the following categories of expenses:

  • Airfare for a caregiver (e.g., au pair, nanny, sitter) to fly to the meeting location to assist with dependent care for child(ren) under age 18, elderly, ill, or disabled family members able to travel.
  • Airfare for child(ren) under age 18, elderly, ill, or disabled family members, or a family member caregiver traveling to the meeting.
  • Costs for dependent care at the meeting (e.g., onsite babysitting, daycare or elder care service local to the meeting venue; local custodial child care, elder care, and/or expenses for care for elderly or other family members that the applicant usually provides; or paying for a nanny or other caregiver's labor).
  • Costs for additional dependent care at home incurred due to member's absence during the DPS meeting (e.g., caregiver's labor, before and after school or extended day programs, late pick-up fees, day camps that are custodial in nature and not educational, daycare centers, sick-child care center not for medical services, custodial childcare / elder care, or expenses for care for elderly or other family members that the applicant usually provides).
  • Other justifiable expenses related to the intent of the grant, as approved by DPS governance and AAS accounting.

All expenses should be justified with a receipt to claim the award.

The DPS Susan Niebur Professional Development Fund provides financial assistance to qualifying members in order to facilitate their meeting attendance by offsetting dependent care costs at the meeting location or at home during the DPS conference week. Online applications are solicited no later than 1 month prior to the DPS meeting:

DPS Dependent Care Grant Application

For questions, please contact the DPS Professional Development subcommittee.

Professional Development Events at DPS Denver 2013

Negotiation Skills For Planetary Scientists
Sunday, October 6 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Director's Row E, Sheraton Denver Downtown
Organizer: Karly Pitman 

This two-hour workshop, hosted by the DPS Professional Development subcommittee, will inform and train participants in negotiation techniques, with content tailored specifically for planetary scientists. Workshop is free and open to all levels: students through professionals. Participants will learn the real-world value and theory behind negotiation, what can and cannot be negotiated at different career stages, and how to negotiate in different planetary career tracks (e.g., university vs. national lab vs. soft money vs. alternative careers), through question and answer with an expert panel and hands-on exercises.

Confirmed workshop panelists include

Walt Harris (UC Davis)
Emily Lakdawalla (Planetary Society)
Bill Farrand (Space Science Institute)
Courtney Coe (Space Science Institute)
Paul Hayne (JPL)
Nicolle Zellner (Albion College)
Christina Richey (NASA HQ)


DPS Student Reception
Sunday, October 6 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Plaza Ballroom D, Sheraton Denver Downtown
Organizers: Sona HosseiniAl KhayatLaura Woodney

Join us for the DPS Student Reception, held immediately prior to the meeting reception, for networking with students from different universities and members of DPS leadership. Event is free to attend; pre-registration on the DPS meeting website is encouraged.


DPS Women in Planetary Science Lunch
Tuesday, October 8 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Governor's Square 15, Sheraton Denver Downtown
Organizer: Kelsi Singer

Join us for an informal meeting and discussion hour over lunch. This year’s topics will revolve around the ways our community can support the advancement of more women into leadership roles (large or small). We will have a brief presentation, with plenty of time for discussion. Please feel free to bring any information/announcements related to women in astronomy and planetary science to share. Due to the generosity of the DPS committee, we will be able to provide lunch this year. All are welcome, but pre-registration is required by 15 September due to space limitations.  Register today at

Professional Development Social Networks, Forum, and Wiki

Contacts: Sarah Hörst, Kelsi Singer, Karly Pitman 

You can hear more DPS Professional Development Subcommittee News and discuss planetary science careers on Twitter, Facebook, our AAS forum and wiki. Follow the Twitter feed for information about fellowships, jobs, and career advice, or join the Facebook group to be part of the active discussion.