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2017 Annual Meeting - Sunday Sessions
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Sunday, March 19


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Please note the following intended audience abbreviations: IP - individual postdoctoral scholar; PDA - postdoctoral association; PDO - postdoctoral office; ASSOC – association & societies; ALL - for everyone.

The Enjoyment of Employment: Finding the Right Organizational Culture
Intended Audience: ALL

PRESENTERS: Doug Kalish, Ph.D., Founder, dougsguides

Postdocs contemplating their careers sometimes think they are making a binary choice: academic or nonacademic. In truth, the decision is much more complicated. Postdocs who haven't had experience in nonacademic environments may be surprised by the diversity of workplace cultures. Research shows that matching your work personality to the culture of the organization is one of the prime factors in workplace happiness. In this workshop we'll discuss and assess individual workplace personalities which we will then match against different work cultures to find compatible organizations. We'll end with a checklist and timeline for engaging in efficient and effective non-academic job searches.

Before coming to the workshop, go to, fill out the self-assessment, and bring the results to the workshop.

The online self-assessment has been completed by over 25,000 participants, including over 4,000 grad students and postdocs in STEM, social science, liberal arts and business disciplines. Hundreds of grad students and postdocs have been through the workshop. We have discovered significant differences in workplace preferences associated with gender, education, and discipline. Helping postdocs understand and analyze their own preferences increases their chances of finding a compatible workplace. Also, many postdocs (particularly those from outside the United States) are unaware of the differences between an academic and non-academic job search. This workshop explicitly defines the requirements for a successful search.

Finding Your Voice: Communicating the Critical Role of Postdocs Across Communities INNOVATION IN ACTION
Sponsored by Moffitt Cancer Center

Intended Audience: ALL

PRESENTERS: Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., Director, Human Genetics Program, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; Yvette Seger, Ph.D., Director of Science Policy, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Vice Chair, Board of Directors, NPA

During this workshop, participants will learn how to communicate effectively about the role of postdocs and policy issues affecting them to a broad range of audiences, including institutional leaders, policy makers, and the public. Using communications strategies adapted from improvisational theater, participants will learn how to relay the challenges faced by the postdoc community in terms that will resonate across audiences. During this interactive session, participants will develop brief “elevator pitches” to discuss issues of importance to postdocs, including salaries and benefits, professional skills development, career opportunities, and work-life balance, to audiences with limited or no knowledge of the research enterprise. Participants will also learn about opportunities to continue developing their communication skills.

Postdocs, PDAs and PDOs: Discover the Art of Stretching Your Dollars and Brag About it on Your CV or Your Annual Evaluation
Intended Audience: ALL

PRESENTERS: Natalie Chernets, Ph.D., Administrative Postdoctoral Fellow, Student and Postdoctoral Affairs, Jefferson College of Biomedical Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University; Pardeep Kumar, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University; Lisa Kozlowski, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Student and Postdoctoral Affairs, Jefferson College of Biomedical Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University

No matter what your science discipline is, most likely you feel that you are not making nearly enough money as a postdoc. Whether you are paying student loans, providing for a spouse and children, taking care of your elderly parents or just wanting to indulge in your daily Starbucks coffee habit (no judgment!) – you can always use extra cash. On the professional side, did you ever want to attend an international conference or professional development course and your lab couldn’t pay for your trip? Did you want to collect preliminary data to convince your PI to do an independent project but didn’t know how to pay for laboratory supplies?

PDAs and PDOs, just like postdocs, can always use more money for postdoc events. If you want to learn how to stretch your (lab’s, PDA’s/PDO’s) hard-earned dollars, join us for this interactive workshop. First, we will teach you the rules of the game, “getting more for your buck.” These rules include negotiation tactics, price match strategies, applying for fellowship(s) to sponsor your conference travel, and partnering with vendors to sponsor your PDA events. In addition, we will introduce some cool tools, apps and strategies that will help save money (and time). We promise a lot of aha! moments during our small group discussions and virtual scavenger hunt. As a bonus, we’ll teach you how to brag about your new learned skills on your CV or your annual evaluation!

Professional Development Re-imagined: Designing Active Learning Workshops for Postdocs INNOVATION IN ACTION
Intended Audience: PDA, PDO, ASSOC

PRESENTERS: Henry (Rique) Campa III, Ph.D., Associate Dean in the Graduate School, Professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Bennett Goldberg, Ph.D., Director, Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University; Sarah Hokanson, Ph.D., Director, Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs, Boston University

Institutions are now expected to provide ample opportunities for professional development throughout the postdoctoral training experience. Such workshops and short courses typically focus on career exploration or skill development, facilitating postdocs’ career preparation and creating opportunities for them to learn and apply new tools and techniques. We have developed a backward-designed, learner-centered professional development model for workshops rooted in evidence-based practices of active learning that can transform the typical informational seminars, online and in-person slide-deck presentations, and even written resource Web pages into high-engagement workshops that demonstrably build transferable skills and lead to participant behavioral change. Active learning workshops engage their audience, access prior knowledge, address common misconceptions, and construct new understanding through cognitive struggles. Active learning workshops are built through backward design with evidence-based pedagogy, where learning outcomes are aligned with assessments that drive the construction of activities. Our workshops follow an inform-create-evaluate (ICE) model structure:

Inform: participants explore evidence-based content through pre-session engagement and in-session guided inquiry to build skills and competencies

Create: participants develop and create a work product associated with session, e.g. a plan, a draft, a reflection, a set of recommendations, as a tangible demonstration of participants’ skills and as a means of direct assessment of learning

Evaluate: peer review of participants’ work product develops higher level skills of analysis, builds communication competencies, and provides a scalable means of measuring outputs from the workshop session

This session is designed for postdoc offices and administrators that build or enhance professional development programs or are looking to reimagine their current offerings. We will guide participants through the process of developing active learning workshops that target NPA competencies, describe the outcomes and preliminary data from our pilot workshops using this model, provide resources for participants to develop their own outlines for active learning workshops, discuss ways of sharing best practices and workshop content across PDOs, and collect feedback that will be used to develop new workshop materials in the fall and spring of 2016/2017.

Personal Branding for Scientists INNOVATION IN ACTION
Intended Audience: IP, PDA, PDO

PRESENTERS: Thierry Dubroca, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

This workshop will cover the importance of personal branding and offer practical self-promotion techniques for scientists. First, we will cover how to develop a theme and/or an independent professional identity before addressing how to communicate it online and in person for one’s benefit. We will also cover how to choose your theme/professional identity before finishing the presentation part of this workshop with best practices, and practical tools which you can use regularly to promote yourself.

Personal branding is a very important skill to master. It allows you to communicate who you are professionally, that you are independent, own your presentations, ideas, publications and more generally your work. It is a way to set you apart from your doctoral advisor, postdoc supervisor and develop your own scientific and professional identity. It is critical to build your own professional image and it is extremely useful when looking for your next position. Having an established theme and/or professional identity set you ahead of the competition when hiring committees or managers look for the best candidate.

The majority of this workshop will be in the form of exercises, where attendees will be asked to interact with one another and discuss particular points related to personal branding, such as networking, practicing your elevator pitch, creating or discussing your online profile (LinkedIn, Reseachgate), online presence (Google search, personal website), how to promote yourself using your publications, get more citations, and more!

Welcoming International Scholars: Programs to Aid in the Transition to Postdoctoral Studies in the U.S.
Intended Audience: PDA, PDO

PRESENTERS: Ken Brockman, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scientist, Resource Development Officer, Research Institute Trainee Association at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Sara Marchionda, B.S., Research Education Coordinator, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Lindsay Wallace, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scientist, Chair, Research Institute Trainee Association at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

In addition to the stresses of choosing and beginning postdoctoral studies, international scholars have many legal and often cultural complications they must deal with. Our association has established a welcome committee to assist all incoming scholars at both the graduate and postdoctoral level. A major focus of this committee has been to help international scholars navigate the added complexities of beginning a postdoctoral career in the United States. As such, we have established several programs designed to address the needs of postdoctoral scholars arriving from outside of the United States. We have created a welcome booklet designed to assist international scholars before, upon and after arrival to the United States and the institute. Topics covered in the welcome packet include understanding visa (J1 and H1b) requirements and rules, obtaining a social security number and driver license, and how to handle domestic and international tax requirements. The packet also contains a number of tips regarding living in the United States, including how to understand and deal with potential cultural differences. Quick reference information, such as important conversion units and clothing equivalents are also included in the booklet. In addition to the packet, we have established an ambassador program, which matches incoming international postdocs with established international postdocs and scholars at the institute. The mentoring program provides incoming postdocs a contact person for non-scientific questions related to travel and arrival in the US and acclimation to the city and institute. The goal of this workshop is to share our experiences in the establishment of these programs as a trainee run association. We will discuss the obstacles and opportunities that result from postdoc-driven association and methods to work with institute administration to achieve trainee goals. We will also facilitate group discussion as to ways the programs can be improved or modified to fit a variety of different organizations and trainee associations.

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