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Advocacy Committee
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The Advocacy Committee addresses advocacy and policy issues relating to and affecting the postdoctoral community.


Joining the Advocacy Committee is a fantastic way to learn about the policies that affect postdoctorates on an institutional and federal level, to have a direct impact on the advocacy work of the NPA, and to network with others with similar interests at institutions and organizations across the country. The Advocacy Committee provides a great opportunity to develop and showcase your writing and organizational skills, and, due to the scope of the tasks that we tackle, the opportunities for leadership are boundless. We work cross-functionally with the other Committees of the Membership, and also with the Diversity Officers and International Officers, providing you with exposure to all facets of postdoctoral policy and advocacy work.


Charges


  • Develop and advocate for implementation of NPA Recommendations for Postdoctoral Policies and Practices, including the Agenda for Change.
  • Advocate for increased diversity among postdoctoral scholars, ensuring the needs of underrepresented groups are addressed.
  • Advocate for the interests of international postdocs training in the United States.
  • Maintain and expand relationships with federal agencies and national organizations that have an interest in postdoctoral policies.
  • Monitor policy issues of interest to the postdoctoral community, and respond as appropriate.
  • Seek public opportunities to advocate for postdoctoral policy positions, such as testimony, comments on federal notices, conferences, and other national meetings.
  • Consult with other committees and officers to avoid project duplication and promote coordination.

Meet the Advocacy Committee Leaders



Kearney Gunsalus, Ph.D.
Advocacy Committee Co-Chair


Kearney Gunsalus, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Training in Education and Critical Research Skills (TEACRS) program at Tufts University. She was a founding member of the Tufts postdoc association (PDA), and has served as the chair of the Tufts PDA advocacy committee, lead organizer for the Boston PDA advocacy team, and as a member of the NPA Advocacy Committee. She was an organizer and workshop moderator for the Future of Research conference held in Boston, MA in 2014. After completing a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and French at Smith College, she earned a doctorate degree in cell and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied the role of transcriptional regulation in breast cancer. She moved to Tufts University to pursue her interest in transcriptional regulation and energy metabolism in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.  
 

Tom McHugh, M.S.
Advocacy Committee Co-Chair

Tom McHugh, M.S., has progressively developed his acumen in academic administration over the last 14 years at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. During this time he has held several positions, and is currently a program administrator in the Dean’s office overseeing several areas of operation including serving as the co-director of the School’s Office of Postdoctoral Scholars working with school and university leadership and directly with postdocs. McHugh’s efforts are primarily focused on issues pertaining to policy development and oversight (parental leave, compensation levels, etc.), and serving as an advocate for the approximately 300 postdocs in the school. He played a leading role in the development and implementation of the school’s postdoc policy, and continues to work collaboratively with school leadership to refine and enhance the policy. McHugh completed his undergraduate studies in education at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and recently earned a master's degree in management from University of Maryland University College. He is looking forward to working with the other members of the NPA’s Advocacy Committee on behalf of postdocs everywhere.

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