Institute Working Groups

Employees at STScI work to create a culture that is more diverse, inclusive, and civil.


Pismis 24 and NGC 6357

Civility in Operations and Engineering Division Working Group

STScI’s Operations and Engineering Division is a composed of people from various backgrounds, perspectives, and experience. Our staff members continuously work to become part of an increasingly civil and inclusive community. We believe in offering mutual respect to one another while collaborating to achieve excellence in our profession. The Civility in Operations and Engineering Division Working Group was established to help us create an environment where everyone has a voice and can expect fair treatment.

Sword of Orion

Invision Working Group

STScI’s Invision Working Group, which reports to the Director’s Office, establishes and upholds a civil and inclusive environment for our diverse staff by developing and ensuring our policies and practices create a welcoming and productive work environment. Invision’s members identify issues, and develop and recommend solutions to improve our work environment, enabling staff to meet the needs of STScI’s missions in a respectful, inclusive, and professional manner. This includes issues pertain to gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnic and cultural background, religion, educational background, age, people with disabilities, and occupation. The working group consists of a broad cross-section of STScI staff, and committee members are responsible for becoming familiar with and advocating for the concerns and ideas of institute staff. Invision also:

  • Provides leadership in regards to inclusion, respect, and a culture of civility at STScI and in the greater astronomical and academic communities
  • Provides the director and STScI staff insight into the working environment through data collection and analysis
  • Embodies the values that it is committed to promoting at the institute
  • Collaborates with the Director’s Office, HR, and internal and external groups with a similar focus
  • Conducts regular meetings
  • Creates and maintains a schedule of activities and milestones
  • Works with the Director’s Office and STScI leadership to select new committee members
Star-forming Region N11

The Instruments Division’s Diversity, Culture, and Respect Working Group

The Diversity, Culture, and Respect Working Group endeavors to promote awareness and enhance consideration of all aspects of diversity within the Instruments Division and throughout the institute. The working group is responsible for addressing all issues that affect the ability of division personnel to work harmoniously and maintain a high level of morale and job satisfaction. This group focuses especially on issues that have their root in various aspects of diversity and culture differences, including gender, race, ethnic and cultural background, religion, educational background, and job title. The working group develops and recommends solutions that improve teamwork within the division and help our staff address the needs of the institute and missions, while also achieving individual staff members’ career goals.

Galaxy NGC 6503

The Space Telescope GLBT+ Astronomy communitY (Space GAYs)

The Space Telescope GLBT+ Astronomy communitY (Space GAYs) is an informal group that meets quarterly for lunch and conversation. Since not everyone in the group is “out,” we meet offsite to protect individuals from being inappropriately “outed” and maintain confidentiality. We invite our allies to send us their good wishes from afar. A representative from this group is currently a member of the Invision Working Group and brings issues to the larger group when necessary.

CLASH observation by Hubble

Women Empowering Women

Women Empowering Women is a cross-disciplinary program that allows women across STScI to network, share their experiences, learn from each other, build coalitions, and work toward identifying solutions to common challenges. By giving this group a voice and creating a safe environment, we hope to become allies that support one another, and address important concerns in our personal and professional lives. This support may include educational sessions to help enhance leadership and professional skills, but the group largely works to provide a safe zone to promote freedom of expression. Our vision is to create a community where our members feel empowered and safe, are engaged in supporting each other, and can create an atmosphere where honest and productive conversations lead to solutions. We also share opportunities for STEM outreach, including events at the Society of Women Engineers Conference, Women in Astronomy workshops, the National Society of Black Engineers, local workshops, and mentorship programs. Every member plays an important role in shaping the direction of Women Empowering Women.

Spiral Galaxy M81

Women in Astronomy Forum

The Women in Astronomy Forum is a self-organized group of women scientists at STScI who conduct astronomical research as a component of their career. The forum includes research staff and postdocs from the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency. The Women in Astronomy Forum meets monthly for lunch to discuss career-related issues such as mentoring, family and work, harassment, and equality in the workplace.