Mobile: Get Ready to Rock Cleveland at the 2018 NPA Annual Conference


Tiewei “Leo” Cheng and Kerry Kauffman


It’s that time of year when a lot of people start getting excited for the holidays just around the corner. Those of us in the know realize that it is also the perfect time for postdocs and admins to register for the NPA Annual Conference! We are thrilled to present the 2018 Annual Conference April 6-8, 2018, at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel in Cleveland, OH, hosted by Case Western Reserve University. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store for attendees.


The NPA Annual Conference promotes the importance of diversity and mentoring, and 2018 is no exception. We will again celebrate and honor an outstanding mentor with the Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. Mentor Award. We will also present the Distinguished Service Award in appreciation of an individual who has demonstrated a profound, sustained, or leadership contribution to improving the postdoctoral experience.


Support postdocs attending the Annual Conference!


At the 2018 Annual Conference, the NPA will hold a silent auction as an alternative to the longstanding raffle. Funds collected from the auction will go toward travel awards for attendees to the 2019 Conference. Of course, a successful event requires things to auction! Please donating items for the auction to support postdocs. Contact the NPA for more information.


Lydia Villa-Komaroff, PhD, will present the keynote on Saturday, April 7. Villa-Komaroff, founder of Intersections SBD, is a molecular biologist, executive, and diversity advocate. She notably has connections to the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a member of its Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering and the Advisory Council of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Villa-Komaroff is also a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).


Alison Gammie, PhD, and Rafael E. Luna, PhD, will grace us with plenary talks. Gammie is the director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD), which focuses on developing a strong and diverse biomedical research workforce. Luna is the executive director of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN; you can learn more about NRMN in this issue). He is also a principal investigator for the NRMN Administrative Core at Boston College, where his current work uses data analytics to help strategically grow NRMN throughout the United States. You won’t want to miss the fantastic insights that these speakers are going to provide.


The Conference is also growing to accommodate six concurrent sessions in 2018. These 60-minute or 90-minute workshops and seminars will cover topics including scientific communication, professional networking and career development, organizational culture, international and diversity concerns, and advocacy. A few will be tagged as Innovation in Action (IIA) sessions, interactive workshops devoted to participant-driven discussions of problems and solutions. There are some really innovative and exciting sessions planned for postdocs, postdoc offices (PDOs), postdoc associations (PDAs), professional associations/societies, and even faculty.


Then of course, there is the variety of networking and other interactive opportunities available for attendees. On Friday morning, first-time attendees will find out all they need to know about the NPA Annual Conference during the orientation breakfast. On Friday afternoon, Career Connections (in its third year) will help postdocs establish connections with potential future employers and understand the current and future job markets. Meanwhile, in the concurrent myPDO session, postdoc administrators will learn how to expand their own skills, interests and values, as a way to help enhance their jobs and individual goals while they support their trainees. On Saturday, the poster session will showcase the amazing work of individuals and organizations at the meeting. After the session, local hosts will accompany groups to nearby dine-arounds. Throughout the meeting, we will have networking breaks, a silent auction, and exhibitors and sponsors. We truly appreciate our previous, current, and future exhibitors and sponsors. Besides providing career opportunities and resources for the NPA community, it would be impossible to host such great conferences every year without their generous contributions.


Important deadlines for the 2018 Annual Conference


January 5, 2018: Early bird registration closes

February 1, 2018*: Last date for Renaissance Cleveland Hotel negotiated rate (*or until the room block has been filled)

March 23, 2018: Registration closes


We have some really exciting new features in Cleveland too. Past attendees have spoken, and we’ve listened. In 2018, we are proud to include morning exercise options. We will also have a quiet room that will be open 7 am-5 pm (local time) each day of the conference; this small space will give attendees a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the conference for a few minutes, so they can process all of the information they are learning. Information will also be available for anyone who wants to wander over to the stadium for Cleveland’s baseball opening weekend. Perhaps best of all, we are extremely excited to announce that, in lieu of the normal opening reception, the NPA will host a social event on Friday evening at the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! More details will be available soon, but you can sign up for this unique offsite opportunity during conference registration.


Sound like a fun and educational conference? We certainly think so! You can always check out our 2018 NPA Annual Conference page for the most recent updates before signing on the dotted line. But what are you waiting for? Register now before the advance deadline to maximize your cost savings, and get pumped! We look forward to seeing all of you in Cleveland in April!


Tiewei Cheng, MD, PhD, (email) is co-chair of the NPA Meetings Committee and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he studies epigenetics in the context of cancer drug resistance. Kerry Kauffman, BA, (email) is co-chair of the NPA Meetings Committee and is currently the senior program coordinator of the Associate Member Council for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). In this role, she helps to develop professional advancement programs and initiatives for early career cancer researchers, plans meetings and events, and initiates collaborations with colleagues.


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