Author: Emily Boice | Category: Of Interest | March 31, 2015
As a postdoc at the University of Texas San Antonio, I was
lucky enough to be chosen to receive a travel award for the 2015
National Postdoctoral Association Meeting on March 13-15 at the University
of Maryland, Baltimore Campus.
Over 400 people attended and over half were first time
attendees. The meeting was full of events designed to address issues that face
postdocs every day all across the country, including career development, roles
of mentors, advocacy, and how to ensure your voice is heard on our own
My interest in attending stems from starting a postdoc
association at UTSA and working with the local community of postdocs, including
the one at UTHSCSA.
Last year, we held a very successful event in Sept (during
national postdoc appreciation week) to showcase the area research performed by
postdocs and allow for networks and collaborations to be built by the
participants from University of Texas Health Science
Center San Antonio, University of Texas San Antonio,
United States Army Institute of
Surgical Research and Texas Biomedical
Research Institute. After this research forum, the community of UTSA
postdocs was riveted and wanted to have more career development events at UTSA
that all trainees could attend.
Our administrators have kindly provided us with membership
in the National Postdoctoral Association
and this year’s meeting in Baltimore allowed me to gain wisdom from the
national community of postdocs to bring back to San Antonio and UTSA.
I was fortunate enough to attend with UTHSCSA postdoc Bridget Ford in Dr. Timothy Duong’s lab in
Research Medical Imaging. This allowed us to split up and cover more ground.
The meeting held workshops on commercialization and
technology transfer, how to assess your teaching practices, achieving
meaningful change at your institute and at a national level, plenary sessions
on mentorship, diversity, and using professional societies for help.
Lunchtime and social nights allowed for network building among
the powerhouses of postdoc associations across the country and with various
companies from around the country that were hiring Ph.D.
My favorite events were negotiation tactics on job offers
and a workshop hosted by SciPh.D.s on how scientists are leaders.
These sessions really made concrete examples on how to
interview and negotiate into the best role that will propel you into the next
great career step. The social night at Westminster Hall let the postdocs get
friendly, play trivia, and go on ghost tours underneath the church to see where
Edgar Allen Poe was buried.
The events wrapped with a town hall discussion on where the
direction of focus should be for postdocs and to provide statistics to take
back to our institution.
Armed with this information, we can affect change for all of
our trainees (undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. level) so we are better
prepared for career options and growth. These are fundamental skills that are
not necessarily taught in conventional scientific training.
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