Our Culture

We recognize that the contemplation of the universe and its wonders must be accessible to everyone. Engaging a range of professionals who have diverse backgrounds and a variety of viewpoints allows us to produce better science at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Our differences do not hinder us; they are sources of enrichment for our scientific missions. Giving people a seat at the table and a voice empowers not only individuals, but all of us.

STScI staff attends a Baltimore Orioles game.
STScI employees cheered on the Baltimore Orioles.

For this reason, we continually strive to build a team of individuals with diverse talents, backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives who work together to achieve excellence in astronomical discovery. This commitment is demonstrated through our continuing efforts to develop, attract, and retain diverse and talented professionals now and in the future, and to build a culture where individuals from all walks of life feel included and valued.

STScI proactively works to broaden our recruitment activities and partnerships to ensure that we not only reach traditional communities of astronomical professionals, but also communities that have been historically under-represented in astronomy.

We are dedicated to building much more than a diverse, inclusive staff. We are also committed to building the workforce of the future. This requires reaching out to a broad range of young people, particularly from groups under-represented in astronomy, at key stages in their education and career development.

We start by engaging students as they begin mapping careers they are interested in pursuing. Through our Youth for Astronomy and Engineering (YAE) program, we introduce middle and high school students to scientists and engineers, and offer a range of hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities.

Our Space Astronomy Summer Program allows college students to work individually with STScI researchers, engineers, and staff on projects that include data reduction and interpretation, software development, and scientific writing. These undergraduates are also matched with mentors, who help guide their educational and career decisions. For those who choose to pursue advanced degrees, we host graduate students and postdoctoral researchers as they complete new research in partnership with our scientists and astronomers.

Programs like these allow us to give students greater access to career opportunities in astronomy and help us ensure that our workplace optimizes the opportunities presented by multi-talented professionals.