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The POSTDOCket is the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) newsletter covering news items and features of interest to the postdoctoral community.


The NPA welcomes member submissions for inclusion in The POSTDOCket. Please contact the POSTDOCket editor in chief, to share your story ideas. Interested in advertising with the NPA?


In This Issue


Volume 16, Issue 1 (January 2018)

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Discovering Community, Careers & More at NPA Annual Conferences


As the NPA prepares for its 16th Annual Conference, three previous attendees highlight the benefits they’ve gotten out of attending.

Learning the Lingo of U.S. Healthcare Plans

Steve Johnson


Navigating the U.S. healthcare system is a challenge for Americans, let alone an international postdoc experiencing it for the first time. Learn some of the language surrounding healthcare in the United States.

A Portable Career Coach

Hanaa Hariri


A review of “Think like an Entrepreneur, ACT like a CEO” by Beverly E. Jones with relevant advice for postdoctoral scholars on ways to develop professional skills beyond the technical.

Standing at the Crossroads: When PhDs Abandon the Tenure Track Faculty Career Path

Dara Wilson-Grant


At the crossroads, we can either step back and decide that we’re not ready to tackle the situation and stay where we are, or we can face our fears and find the courage to make changes.

Letter from Executive Director: Looking Back and Ahead

Julie A. Fabsik-Swarts


The NPA had a big year in 2017 with several reports, the biggest Annual Meeting yet, and 2018 promises to be just as productive with a recently debuted a new logo and another Annual Meeting coming up.

Thank you to renewing Sustaining Members of the NPA!


Sustaining Members are a vital part of the NPA. Sustaining Members represent a range of professional societies, postdoc associations, postdoc offices, and other organizations that serve the postdoctoral community. Students, postdocs, faculty, and staff at NPA Sustaining Member institutions are eligible to join the NPA, at no cost, as Affiliate Members. Check to see if your institution is an NPA Sustaining Member.



Welcome to the NPA!

Carnegie Mellon University



Thank you for your continued support!


Oak Ridge Associated Universities

University of Rochester

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

University of Texas at Dallas

Temple University

University of Texas at El Paso

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

University of Washington

University of Colorado - Boulder

USEPA/Office of Research and Development

University of Louisville

West Virginia University

University of Oklahoma




Past issues (2017- )

Access The POSTDOCket archive (Restricted to members)

Simone Otto, Ph.D.

Editor in Chief

Simone Otto, Ph.D., received her doctoral degree in neuroscience from the University of Vermont in 2013. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Ion Channel Physiology Group, part of the Neurobiology Laboratory at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), she has been researching adult neurogenesis. Otto is an ongoing contributor to the Environmental Factor(E-Factor), an online news publication, and has served as a representative of the E-Factor on the NIEHS Trainees Assembly for several years. Her commitment to a career in science communication led her to serve on the NIEHS Annual Career Symposium (2014-2017), including organizing panel discussions, updating a website and producing a publication for the Symposium. In addition, Otto has frequently sought out opportunities to mentor non-traditional students. In her free time, Otto spends time with her three sons, one of whom is currently in medical school, teaching her cairn terrier to do tricks, or working on ideas for a future novel.


Otto's involvement with The POSTDOCket and the NPA are personal, and do not represent any endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or National Institutes of Health.


Ian Street, Ph.D.

Deputy Editor

Ian Street, Ph.D., has a doctoral degree in plant biology from Washington University and was a postdoc in the Schaller lab at Dartmouth College. He is currently a virtual lab manager at HappiLabs. He writes and edits at his science blog, The Quiet Branches, as well as Botany One, and The POSTDOCket. He is also a cohost of The Recovering Academic podcast.


Associate editors include: Viviane Callier, Ph.D., Kristy Hentchel, Ph.D., Stephani Page, Ph.D., Andrew Pike, Ph.D., Irina Tiper, Ph.D., and Elaine Wells-Gray, Ph.D.

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