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News & Press: General

Recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award Announced

Tuesday, February 2, 2016   (0 Comments)
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February 2, 2016


The recipient of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) 2016 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is Nancy B. Schwarz, Ph.D. The award will be presented at the 14th Annual Meeting, hosted by the Van Andel Research Institute, March 4-6, 2016.


The DSA represents appreciation for an individual or entity that has demonstrated either a profound, sustained, or leadership contribution to improving the postdoctoral experience. The award is presented in alternating years to either an individual or entity.


Schwartz serves as the dean for postdoctoral affairs and co-director of the Office of Graduate Affairs at the University of Chicago. She is also a professor in the departments of pediatrics and biochemistry and molecular biology, and director of the Kennedy Research Center. She served as dean for graduate affairs in the Division of Biological Sciences for 25 years.


Schwartz is a nationally recognized scientist, having published over 150 manuscripts and reviews, and having trained over 54 Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. postdocs. Her functions and responsibilities in graduate and postdoctoral education and program administration have focused on the evolving and complex educational needs of emerging researchers in the life sciences. She has served on The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited committee (The National Academy of Science Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy report), the GRE Board of Directors, several National Institutes of Health (NI)H study sections, foundation review boards and editorial boards, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) -Graduate, Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) Steering Committee (chair of both graduate deans and postdoc leaders groups), and the founding Advisory Board of the NPA. She is director of the National Institute of Child Health Development M.D./Ph.D. training program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med into Grad program, and National Institute of General Medical Sciences Post-bac (PREP), Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), and the National Research Mentoring Network - Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Network (NRMN-CAN). She has received both a MERIT award and a Mentor of Excellence from NIH, and is director of an NIH Program Project and a P30 Center.


Schwartz was consistently described as a strong and passionate advocate for postdoctoral scholars, on both the national and local levels. One nominator stated, “it is clear she thinks not only about the current postdocs, but about the community of leaders and administrators that provide support to postdocs. She is committed to ensuring that there is a strong community of educators and administrators that shape postdoctoral policy and training.”


She is currently on the Advisory Committee of the Future of Research (FOR) Chicago Symposium, NIH Director's Energy Information Administration Editorial Board, Leadership Alliance Executive Board, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences Advisory Board. Schwartz is a long-time supporter of the NPA, working “tirelessly and passionately to ensure that the NPA is successful in its mission to improving the postdoctoral experience.” She functioned as a mentor for the individuals that authored the Sloan Foundation grant that established the association, and worked on the committee that developed the NPA Core Competencies. It was candidly expressed that “without Nancy’s leadership, dedication and mentorship of the group of postdoctoral fellows that sought to improving the training and education they and their colleagues were receiving, there would be no NPA today.”


It is these contributions that resulted in Schwartz being described as “the definitive example of how to make a profound impact on the postdoctoral experience.”


The members of the DSA selection subcommittee were: Kenneth Gibbs, Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H., Program Analyst, Office of Program Planning, Analysis and Evaluation, National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Belinda Huang, Ph.D., Executive Director, NPA; Keith Micoli, Ph.D., Director, Postdoctoral Program, New York University (NYU); Yvette Seger, Ph.D., Director of Science Policy, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), Vice Chair, NPA Board of Directors; Kate Sleeth, Ph.D., Interim Associate Dean of Administration and Student Development, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Chair, NPA Board of Directors


Past recipients of the Distinguished Service Award are*:

2015 – Center for Cancer Training, National Cancer Institute

2014 – Shirley M. Tilghman, Ph.D.

2013 - Burroughs Wellcome Fund

2012 - Philip S. Clifford, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Professor of anesthesiology and physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin

2011 - Science Careers and The Gladstone Institutes

2010 - Trevor M. Penning, Ph.D., Professor of pharmacology, biochemistry and biophysics, and OB/GYN, and Director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

2009 - The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

2008 - Shirley Malcom, Ph.D., Director, Education and Human Resources Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

2007 - Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

2006 - Laurel L. Haak, Ph.D., Science Director, Discovery Logics

2005 - National Academies' Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy

2004 - Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., Senior Advisor to the Director, National Institutes of Health


*Title and institution listed here reflect the title at the time award was given, and may have changed since then.