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NPA News and Committee Updates
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The Committees of the Membership, along with the International and Diversity Officers, are at the core of the NPA. They work to develop events and resources that support the postdoctoral community, and their work would not be possible without volunteers. Volunteering with an NPA committee is a great way to gain professional experience at the national level, while giving back to the postdoctoral community.

 

Committee leadership offers additional experience in directing teams and managing projects. The NPA is currently seeking a co-chair for the Meetings Committee and an editor in chief and deputy editor for The POSTDOCket. Full Members of the NPA, including Sustaining Member representatives, are eligible to serve in these volunteer positions. Application will be accepted through Friday, October 6, 2017, for the Meetings Committee position and through Friday, October 13, 2017, for The POSTDOCket positions. 

 

Here are some highlights of what committees and officers have been up to and how you can get involved.

 

The Outreach Committee—led by Co-Chairs Shakira Nelson, PhD, Jennifer Aumiller, MEd, and Vice Chair Catherine Brooks Zander, PhD—has been busy getting ready for National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW). Many institutions have already shared their planned events, and the number grows daily. Check out variety of great NPAW events that are happening across the United States and Canada! And don’t forget to submit your institution’s NPAW events for the list. NPAW officially runs September 18-22, 2017, but appreciation isn’t limited to a single week—don’t hesitate to send in events happening outside this date range. Keep an eye on NPA social media channels for a newly designed frame to use when posting photos for NPAW2017 and the upcoming “I Am a Postdoc” campaign. This is a fun way for postdocs and others to show their support of the NPA while also showing support for one another.

 

The Outreach Committee is also delighted to welcome some new volunteers. With their help, the committee will be writing some new articles over the next several months. The committee has previously focused on ways that postdocs can get involved in outreach through social media, local postdoc offices, and community activities. If you’d like to suggest a topic for an article or you’re interested in volunteering with the Outreach Committee, email Nelson, Aumiller, or Zander.

 

The Meetings Committee is hard at work, preparing for the 16th NPA Annual Conference, which will be held in Cleveland, OH, April 6-8, 2018. The Meetings Committee has issued a combined call for poster and workshop proposals for the conferences. Potential presenters submit a single proposal per topic for consideration in any or all session types—60- or 90-minute concurrent sessions and poster presentations. Presenting at the Annual Conference is a fantastic opportunity to share unique programs, best practices, and professional development strategies with postdocs, postdoc association leaders, and administrators of postdoc offices and training programs. You can find a list of session topics suggested by 2017 conference attendees and volunteers, as well as previous conference programs and presentations online. Proposals will be accepted through Friday, October 6, 2017.

 

The NPA is also now accepting applications for the 16th Annual Conference Travel and Childcare Support Awards. Any postdoc who is a full, individual member or an Affiliate Member of the NPA in good standing at the time of application is eligible to apply. Travel Awards assist with the costs of registration, lodging, travel to and from the Annual Conference. Childcare Support Awards help defray childcare or caregiver expenses incurred due to attending the conference. Both applications close on Monday, October 2, 2017.

 

The NPA Board of Directors is now reviewing nominees for the 2018 Distinguished Service Award, which will be presented at the 16th Annual Conference. The Meetings Committee will announce plenary speakers soon. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, PhD, a molecular biologist, executive, and diversity advocate, will deliver the keynote address. Career Connections, a speed networking event for companies and organizations to showcase opportunities to postdocs, will return to the Annual Conference in 2018. Contact Kerry Kauffman if you or your organization is interested in the Career Connections event or other sponsorship opportunities. For other questions about the Annual Conference or to volunteer, contact a Meetings Committee co-chair, Tiewei (Leo) Cheng, MD, PhD, or Kerry Kauffman.

 

The Resource Development Committee is currently seeking new committee members to act as myPostdoc Monthly hosts. myPostdoc Monthly is a webinar series that provides professional development training for postdocs. Hosts will gain experience in communication and networking. The time commitment is, at most, two hours per webinar. Contact Sarah Hokanson, PhD, co-chair of the committee, if you are interested in this opportunity. The committee is also seeking a new volunteer to develop a one-page resources and infographics in a joint project with the Advocacy Committee. This project is great for postdocs to gain experience in communication and outreach, as well as advocacy. If you’re interested in this project, please email Erin Heckler, PhD, co-chair.

 

The Advocacy Committee, co-chaired by Kearney Gunsalus, PhD, and Tom McHugh, MS, has been working on a range of new resources and updates for the NPA community. In the July 2017 issue of The POSTDOCket, committee member Atulya Prasad, PhD, wrote about advocating for science through engagement in local communities. The Writing Team is currently developing resources on: changes to visa policies and how this pertains to postdocs, the Graduate Career Consortium (GCC) and upcoming initiatives, and the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). If you are interested in in joining the Advocacy Committee Writing Team as a writer or editor, contact Bethany Veo, PhD, or Adriana Bankston, PhD.

 

The Advocacy Committee Updates Team has highlighted two opportunities for postdocs to submit input on studies by the National Academies: Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century (comment by Sept 22, 2017) and the The Next Generation Researchers Initiative (comment by October 1, 2017). Postdocs are asked to provide input on STEM graduate education and how to create the next generation of independent scientists. Resources regarding the Grant Support Index (GSI) program and the proposed changes to the NIH funding strategy were also provided. If you are interested in joining the updates team, please contact Bankston.

 

The NPA committees and officers have many great projects underway and more to come. But we need your ideas and your help! Are you ready to get involved? Contact a committee leader or fill out the NPA volunteer form today.

 

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