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Meet the New and Returning Members of the NPA Board of Directors
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Aarushi Sharma, Irina Tiper, and Elaine Wells-Gray

 

The NPA is a member-driven organization, committed to changing the culture of individuals and institutions in the U.S. research enterprise to improve the postdoctoral experience. Central to achieving this mission, the Board of Directors is the governing body of the NPA. The Board provides oversight of NPA work, defines and evaluates its strategic plan and objectives, and setting policies that guide the work of NPA staff and committees.

 

The Board is composed of members elected by the NPA membership, as well as the executive director of the NPA in an ex oficio capacity. Board members are appointed for three-year terms. In 2018, the NPA welcomes three new and two returning members of the Board.

 

Stephanie Eberle, MEd

 

Joining the NPA Board of Directors for a first term, Stephanie Eberle, MEd, brings extensive experience to the table, serving postdoctoral scholars in a range of roles, including instructor, counselor, administrator. They are currently the assistant dean of the Stanford University’s BioSci Careers (formerly the School of Medicine Career Center). With nearly 20 years of experience advocating for postdocs and graduate students, Eberle has a deep understanding of the professional and personal needs of this population and is passionate about “empowering those who struggle to find their voice and creating opportunities for them to use it.” As the only social scientist on the Board, they hope to provide a broader reach beyond the increasingly common focus on bioscience postdoc career tracks.

 

Eberle has written numerous publications on professional development, life planning, and policy change, including co-authoring a white paper summary of the 2015 Future of Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Training (FOBGAPT) symposium, which presented recommended steps for curricular reform and better practices to support postdocs and graduate students. At Stanford, they have sought to achieve a campus-wide policy of having mandatory individual development plans for all postdocs and graduate students and promoting internship opportunities for all trainees.

 

As an LGBT professional, originally from a depressed socioeconomic area, one of Eberle’s goals while serving on the Board is to help increase postdoctoral diversity and address inequality, in partnership with the NPA Advocacy Committee. “I am very much aware of the inequalities our postdocs face. I see and hear about them every day. I am now inspired to reach beyond my current institution to explore ways to impact the greater research enterprise overall.”

 

Josh Henkin, PhD

 

Josh Henkin, PhD, has been elected to a second term on the Board of Directors. He plans to use what he’s learned during the previous three years to keep pushing for positive changes within the NPA. Henkin is an advocate for improving postdoc career training and resources for all NPA members, particularly for non-academic career tracks. With decades of private sector leadership and business operations experience, as well as an undergraduate degree in business and PhD in cell and molecular biology, Henkin has the skills to help make the NPA more financially secure and effective in serving its members.

 

Henkin is the founder of the company STEM Career Services, and he presents workshops across the country on a variety of professional development topics. He also delivers online courses and webcasts as a subject matter expert for the American Association for the Advancement of Science Careers (AAAS) Career Development Center. His experiences as a doctoral student, postdoc, and hiring manager for a consulting company have provided Henkin with unique insight into the career goals and challenges that current postdocs face.

 

In addition to being a member of the Board, Henkin has served as NPA treasurer for two years and is a member of the Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, as well as several ad hoc committees that support long-term NPA growth. During his tenure, NPA membership has more than doubled. He has been instrumental in bringing about a fifty percent increase in non-member revenue this year, achieved through efforts that included the NPA Career Center, advertising, sponsorship, and strategic revenue sharing partnerships with affiliate organizations. During his next three-year term, Henkin looks forward to “devoting the time and effort necessary to make the NPA stronger, both internally as a well-functioning organization, and externally to provide greater value to our members year after year.”

 

Barbara Natalizio, PhD

 

An accomplished geneticist and microbiologist, Barbara Natalizio, PhD, is a program officer at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She is creating a vision for future STEM education and has gained experience in building mutually beneficial relationships with government, corporate, and academic partners.

 

Natalizio received her PhD in genetics and microbiology from Duke University in 2008 and then continued her research training as a postdoc at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She held leadership roles in the Vanderbilt’s postdoctoral association, serving as executive committee member, senior co-chair, and senior advisor. These experiences gave her insights on improving services and institutional policies for postdocs. At Vanderbilt, she also gained experience mentoring and advising graduate and undergraduate students in STEM areas.

 

Natalizio joined the NPA in 2013 and has served as Outreach Committee chair, oversight officer, Development Committee chair, and member of Board of Directors. In these roles, she has helped advocate for the implementation of NPA’s recommended policies and practices for research fellows across various academic institutions, participated in fundraising, built strategic partnerships, and served on committee leader search panels. These experiences have given her knowledge of the ins and outs of the NPA’s work and organizational structure. Her combined leadership, advocacy, and liaison experience at NPA, NSF, and non-profit organizations like the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) has well-equipped her for a second term as a member of NPA’s Board of Directors, in which she would like to work towards strengthening the voice of NPA and helping the postdoctoral community.

 

Shakira Nelson, PhD

 

Shakira Nelson, PhD, MPH, is senior scientific program administrator at the American Association for Cancer Research. From 2015 to 2017, Nelson served as a vice chair for the Outreach Committee, participating in various committee activities such as planning of National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW), engaging NPA members through social media, and developing promotional campaigns and videos. Nelson was appointed co-chair of the Outreach Committee in 2017 and has been involved in promoting NPA through social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), redesigning the NPA website, and various fundraising activities.

 

In addition to leadership positions within the NPA, Nelson serves as co-chair of the Science Policy Discussion Group at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and postdoc representative for the American Society of Nutrition (Diet and Cancer Research interest section). Her leadership training includes the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Leadership Institute, the Diversity Career Development Leadership Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Dannon Nutrition Leadership Institute.

 

Nelson has been involved in various community service and mentoring programs. She created educational programs for the NIH High School Scientific Training and Enrichment Program. At University of Maryland, Baltimore, she developed a hands-on laboratory program for underrepresented middle school students participating in the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program. Nelson also served as a volunteer and panelist for the “Every Girl Can” personal development and enrichment program.

 

As an underrepresented minority woman in science, Nelson is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within the biomedical workforce and hopes to engage the postdoc community on these issues. Nelson looks forward to “improving and reinforcing the mission and vision for diversity and inclusion” as a member of the Board of Directors. She says, “I look forward to being a part of the continued growth of the NPA, providing new resources that help guide postdocs to a successful next step in their career path. I chose to serve on the NPA Board because I believe in the NPA’s mission and I have seen, firsthand, the importance of having an organization that advocates on the behalf of this group and helps them build a stronger voice.”

 

Kristen Scott, PhD

 

Kristen Scott, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Since 2016, she has served as a chair of the Moffitt Postdoctoral Association. She was a co-author on a white paper detailing unmet needs for postdoctoral training, which resulted in a $150,000 institutional investment by the Moffitt Cancer Center for the founding of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. She worked on creating and fundraising for the Career Momentum Award for postdocs and research scientists and guided the organization of the 3rd Annual Junior Scientist retreat in 2016. Reflecting on these achievements, she states, “These efforts have improved postdoctoral morale, expanded career development resources, and elevated training value at Moffitt.”

 

In 2014, Scott served as career development chair for the Society of Research Fellows at the Scripps Research Institute-Florida. In this role, she co-chaired the organizing committee for the regional Florida Biomedical Career Symposium and participated in community outreach events, including American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, CELLebrate Science Annual Community Science Symposium, and Day of Science outreach program.

 

In addition to her educational outreach activities, Scott has advocated for increased medical research funding with federal legislators in Washington, DC. She advocated for enhanced funding at the American Association for Cancer Research Rally for Medical Research Hill Day with Moffitt’s Government Relations Task Force and locally fundraised for the inaugural Junior Scientist Miles for Moffitt team. Currently, she is involved in establishing a donor-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Moffitt, which reflects her interest in enhancing non-traditional funding opportunities for early career scientists.

 

Scott looks forward to “being a steward of the NPA’s mission to improve the postdoctoral experience through enhanced research training and professional growth” and being a proponent for engagement of all training levels, enhanced fundraising, and pushing the NPA further to the forefront of issues facing postdoctoral trainees.”

 

Aarushi Sharma is a postdoctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Irina Tiper, PhD, is a science associate at The Journal of Immunology and an associate editor for The POSTDOCket. Elaine Wells-Gray, PhD, is an also associate editor for The POSTDOCket. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Ohio State University College of Optometry and serves as treasurer of the university’s postdoctoral association.

 

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