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Diversity Officers
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The NPA Diversity Statement

The National Postdoctoral Association seeks to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all postdocs in the membership, leadership and activities of the NPA regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, national origin, socio-economic status, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

The NPA Diversity Officer


The NPA is committed to addressing the diversity issues in the postdoc community.  To assist in this effort, the NPA created the position of Diversity Officer. The Diversity Officer serves as the public face of diversity postdoc issues for the NPA, and is the primary resource and expert advisor for the NPA Board of Directors, the staff, and committees.


The specific responsibilities of the NPA Diversity Officer includes the following:

  • Assist in the development and maintenance of NPA resources on diversity.
  • Advocate for increased diversity among postdoctoral scholars, ensuring the needs of underrepresented groups are addressed.
  • Maintain and expand relationships with federal agencies and national organizations that have an interest in diversity issues and policies.
  • Monitor external policies and developments on diversity issues.
  • Address public inquiries on the NPA policies and recommended practices on increasing and maintaining diversity within the postdoc community.

Meet Our Diversity Officers


Vanessa González-Pérez, Ph.D.


Vanessa González-Pérez, Ph.D., earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus, and her doctoral degree in genetics and molecular biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). She completed her postdoctoral training at both; the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at North Carolina Central University in Durham and the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC-CH. At UNC-CH, she co-chaired the UNC postdoctoral association (PDA) and co-founded the Minority Postdoc Alliance, a group dedicated to supporting diverse scholars within the institution by providing professional development resources and a platform for underrepresented postdoctoral fellows to network and maximize their experience at UNC-CH.

Currently, she’s an assistant research professor in the College of Pharmacy at Washington State University (WSU) in Spokane, WA. González-Pérez continues to serve the postdoctoral community by being the faculty advisor for the newly formed WSU Spokane PDA. She looks forward to advocating and representing diverse scholars on the national level as Diversity Officer at the NPA.


J. Marcela Hernandez, Ph.D.

J. Marcela Hernandez, Ph.D., received her bachelor's degree in molecular genetics from the Ohio State University, along with her master's degree and doctoral degree in biochemistry. She joined the office recruitment and diversity services in the College of Arts and Sciences at the Ohio State University in November 2012. Her role is to design and implement programs to enhance recruitment, retention, and support of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented backgrounds with special emphasis on those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Her responsibilities also include coordinating undergraduate student recruitment in science and mathematics for the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining her current position, Hernandez worked as the administrative director of the Life Science Network and as a research scientist. Her scientific training and research in biochemistry and molecular biology focused on control of gene expression at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. She is also the mother of twin boys, one of which has learning disabilities, which has made her active in the area of support and advocacy of students with disabilities at the K-12 and college levels.

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