DPS seeks to facilitate the involvement and participation in planetary science of more students/scientists belonging to racial/ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented in the planetary science discipline. A workforce survey initiated by the DPS (Hendrix & Rathbun 2021) has clearly quantified the degree of underrepresentation, with African American/Black, Indigenous, and LatinX/Hispanic scientists and students being most impacted. While Rivera-Valentín et al. (2021) have shown that there is some very modest growth in the numbers of LatinX/Hispanic and Indigenous planetary scientists, this analysis revealed no appreciable increase in the numbers of African American/Black planetary scientists over nearly the last two decades, and all of these groups remain critically underrepresented in planetary science.
To attempt to improve representation in planetary science, DPS has created a new fund to support attendance of scientific meetings for DPS members who are also members of Black/African American, Indigenous, and/or Latinx communities. In addition, DPS seeks strategic partnership with professional organizations that represent the interests of planetary scientists and students who identify as members of communities that are critically underrepresented in this discipline, as outlined above. The first such partnership was established in 2021 with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), Earth and Planetary Systems Sciences (EPSS) section, with this memo outlining the structure of this partnership.
A key part of the DPS-NSBP partnership was creation of the Joint DPS-NSBP speaker recognition program, which is described in this memo. At the annual NSBP meeting, the top early career or student EPSS speaker is selected by the NSBP EPSS chairs as the DPS-NSBP Speaker awardee. This Speaker is invited by DPS to speak at the following year’s DPS meeting, with expenses covered by DPS. Furthermore, the NSBP EPSS Chairs and the DPS Committee facilitate invitation of the Speaker to an academic seminar at an HBCU, NASA center, national laboratory, or large planetary science university program or research institute, over the next year.
- 2022: Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Maryland, The Ice Giants from the James Webb Space Telescope
- 2021: Dr. Jasmine Bayron, American Museum of Natural History/City University of New York, Moapa Valley (CM1): The Black Box of the CM Parent Asteroid