siaa_logo_blue Saeko S. Hayashi hayashi

Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Hilo, Hawaii, US
Job Title: Associate Professor



She is an Astronomer: How long is it since you got your maximum academic qualification?

Saeko S Hayashi: 21 years (Ph. D. in 1987)


SIAA: What is the most senior position you have achieved? 

SSH: My current position is the highest yet; other titles can be the head of the Day Operation (2002-2006) the manager of the Public Information and Outreach Office (2006 - present). As Associate Professor I am only one of the two in the history of this national institute.


SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

SSH: Choice of the field mattered for me and for another female researcher at our institute, so in that way our choices helped to get a job in a big project.


SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution? 

SSH: Under-representation is not significant in my generation - for there are not many women this field anyway. For younger generation, it is becoming more serious.


SIAA: What is your family status?

SSH: Partner - yes, children - yes (2 boys). I started working with this project in 1990, while my partner joined in 1994. We both moved to Hawaii in 1998.


SIAA: Have you had any career breaks? 

SSH: Maternity leaves are included in my tenure status: 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after the birth is granted. For the last maternity leave, I worked until the day before giving birth without complications.


SIAA: How difficult did you find the return to your work?

SSH: For the last maternity leave, I practically returned to work on the third day, and to the office in two weeks, without too much difficulties. It was more difficult for the first one while I was working in Japan due to the social pressure.


SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

SSH: 10-12 hours


SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

SSH: Strong motivation and positive attitude.


SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

SSH: Enjoy what you are doing, no matter what the stake is.