National Postdoc Appreciation Week: September 16-20

By Rachel Woodson posted 09-12-2013 14:40


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National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week, sponsored by the National Postdoctoral Association, is coming next Monday–Friday, September 16–20. While many groups of Postdocs located in academic institutions, industry, or government facilities hold get-togethers, such as symposia or picnics, the SOT Postdoctoral Assembly (PDA) must take a different approach, reaching out in a “virtual” way to its community of scholars that spans the globe.

Why celebrate postdocs? A survey of recent data reflects the growing impact of postdoctoral researchers.

  • According to 2012 Science and Engineering Indicators, postdoctoral positions in life science research have increased from 46 percent in 1972 to 61 percent in 2012.

  • The journal Science reported that 43 percent of their primary authors of research articles were postdoctoral scholars.

  • According to the National Academies, postdoctoral researchers “have become indispensable to the science…enterprise, performing a substantial portion of the nation’s research in every setting.”

On Wednesday, September 18 at 1:30 pm Eastern Time, the PDA is sponsoring a webinar on “Exploring Alternative Career Paths in Toxicology.” Hosted by PDA Councilors, Rhiannon Hardwick and Katie Paul, this session will have a diverse panel of speakers covering several different areas and aspects of toxicology employment. Panelists include the following:

  • Damian Shea of North Carolina State University who will introduce environmental toxicology and academic career paths.
  • Tiffany Bredfeldt of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who will lend her perspective on state regulatory and legal toxicological affairs.
  • Shawn Wnek from the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, LLC, who will provide insights to consulting in toxicology, lending a unique perspective on consulting in the early stages of a career.
  • Vicente Santa Cruz of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, LP Specialty Chemicals Group, who will address the role and expectations of a toxicologist in the chemical industry.
  • Kenneth Ferslew from East Tennessee State University, who will discuss forensic toxicology and non-NIH funding of an academic lab.

View the detailed biographies of the panelists.

The webinar will provide time for questions, and  a list of promising job hunt sites will be reviewed at the end of the call. PDA selected this topic due to the fact that Alternative Careers in Toxicology has been an “in demand” topic in recent postdoctoral surveys.

Other highlights of the week include blogs by postdoc authors on a variety of topics designed to broaden outlooks on the postdoc experience. They will be published through the Communiqué newsletter blog for all to enjoy next week. Blog articles will feature:

  • Karin Streifel in Molecular Bioscience at UC Davis and PDA Secretary on “Somewhere Over the Postdoctoral Rainbow: Advice on the NIH K99-R00 ‘Pathway to Independence’ Grant.”
  • Daniel W. Ferreira from the Institute for Society and Genetics at UCLA on” Learning Something Completely New as a Postdoc.”
  • Elizabeth A. Godin, Course Director for LEAP and Project Director for RISE at Duke University, on “Branching out: From the Bench to Science Outreach.”
  • Dr Kendra Nordgren in Biomedical Science at University of Minnesota Medical School, on “What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?”

Through these events, the PDA joins with the National Postdoctoral Association in focusing attention on the contributions and achievements of postdoctoral scholars. We hope that all SOT members will take time during National Postdoc Appreciation Week to acknowledge the postdocs in
your communities.