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Officially titled the "Basic Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow Career Enhancement Group", monthly meetings began in May of 2006 with postdocs from the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. In 2010, the group expanded to include: Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Pharmacology departments. We meet at noon on the second Monday of every month for talks and discussion. Lunch is provided. There are several formats for the meetings; most often, they are lead by faculty or non-postdoc speakers on certain topics of career relevance. Topics covered include job interviews, setting up a lab, grant writing and alternatives to academic tenure-track positions. We also set aside several meetings each year for postdocs to present to their peers. These talks are 30 minutes each, allowing two postdocs to present during a meeting. We encourage postdocs to either present their current research or a technique or topic that they are familiar with. These provide a great opportunity to practice talks that will be given at national meetings. Additionally, once a year we invite a well-respected faculty member from another university to give a scientific seminar as well as to meet with the postdoc group to talk about career enhancement. Invited speakers are nominated by members of the group, and the visits are organized entirely by postdocs. We also schedule 1-2 social events per year (usually in the form of potluck lunches) to encourage interactions among members of the group.
The group was started to promote interactions among the postdocs, share data and technical expertise, and promote career awareness, job skills, etc. The meetings have really taken off - they have certainly helped the "motivated" postdocs in different labs get to know one another, promoting a postdoc network. Also, the career & job related talks provide crucial information that will help our postdocs be better prepared for the job market. Meetings are scheduled around the academic calendar.
We've recently developed a groupshare website that contains our current schedule, files of past presentations, and articles of interest to postdocs. It also contains a community message board. It can be accessed at:
Matt Goddeeris, PhDmatthewfirstname.lastname@example.org
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