Postdoctoral Affairs E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

November 2020

Dear Postdoctoral Fellow Community –

Hats off to our VPA Symposium Planning Committee on their hard work and dedication in making their first virtual conference a success! And congratulations to the award winners listed below!

We have several events happening over the next few weeks we wanted to bring to your attention. We’ve partnered with the Center for Teaching to deliver a Writing a Diversity Statement Workshop and Panel Discussion on November 10. Also, the Wellness Wednesday Series will continue on the third Wednesday of the month in both November and December. Lastly, I encourage you to attend one of the upcoming WAVE Council listening sessions on COVID-related gender equality concerns.

As we embark on the last two months of 2020, I want to extend my sincere thanks to all for continuing to comply with university COVID protocols both on and off campus. While I’m sure protocol fatigue sets in from time-to-time, our continued vigilance has helped ensure we can continue our mission to advance discovery and learning. As we head into the holiday season, please be sure to continue that vigilance and stay up-to-date through our Return-to-Campus website and weekly letters.


Sally Parker
Interim Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs


Review of 14th Annual VPA Symposium and Awards

The 14th Annual VPA Symposium was held virtually on Thursday, October 29th. The interdisciplinary one-day conference consisted of a keynote by Chad Topaz, lightning talks, poster presentations, panel discussions and a lively happy hour to end the week on the platform Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Poster Winners:

  • Kakali Ghoshal: Medicine, VUMC
  • Tomas Rush: Bioscience Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Andrew Patterson: Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (PMI), VUMC
  • Jessica Thomas: Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University

Talk Winners:

  • Stephanie Moore-Lotridge: Orthopedics, VUMC
  • Inga Saknite: Dermatology, VUMC


Monthly Wellness Wednesday Series

Join Lauren Dattilo, Ph.D., HSP from the Work/Life Connections-EAP Postdoc Wellness Program for our monthly wellness series. Our next session will be held on Wednesday, November 18th from 12-12:50pm and will include an interactive discussion on why stigma around mental health persists and what we can do to normalize seeking support. Register here.


Writing a Diversity Statement Workshop & EDIJ Panel Discussion for Postdocs

OPA has partnered with the Center for Teaching to provide an introductory workshop on developing a written diversity statement, which will be held on Tuesday, November 10th from 9-11:30am. Universities and colleges are increasingly requiring faculty job applicants to provide a statement addressing how they plan to contribute to inclusive excellence in their professional lives. The purpose of this statement is to ascertain if an applicant has a commitment to diversity in their scholarship, teaching, service, mentoring and advising. In this interactive workshop, we will introduce several approaches to developing and writing a diversity statement and giving participants an opportunity to generate ideas on their own and in small groups. The workshop will begin with a panel of faculty members who have been acknowledged for their work and are advocates for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice (EDIJ) in their fields. Please come prepared to engage with other scholars actively. Register here.


Salary Negotiation Workshop

The next AAUW Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop will be held on Thursday, November 12th from 12-1:30pm. Join Rory Dicker and Brianna Nesbitt from the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center to learn more about the confidence, knowledge and skills needed to negotiate your salary and benefits when you enter the “real world” after Vanderbilt. Register here.


Provost’s WAVE Council to host listening sessions on COVID-19 related gender equity concerns

The Provost’s WAVE Council will hold two listening sessions the first week of November for faculty and postdoctoral fellows to discuss gender equity concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.


Journal of Live Sciences (JoLS), a Postdoc Community Initiative

Initiated by a group of enthusiastic postdocs, JoLS gives postdoc scientists opportunities to publish, peer-review and even interview accomplished scientists to be published in SoLS, Society of Life Sciences. They are currently seeking postdocs in good standing to join their editorial team.


Center for Teaching strengthens online instructional design expertise

The Center for Teaching has announced two strategic hires: Julaine Fowlin, assistant director for instructional design, and Ransford Pinto, assistant director for graduate programs. Read more.


RPW Events for Postdocs



Stay in the Loop!

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA)

Events for Postdocs



Return to Campus Update for November 2

This Return to Campus Update is part of our ongoing effort to provide you with the latest information regarding the fall 2020 Return to Campus Plan. While some of this information may not directly affect you, we want to ensure everyone in our community has easy access to this information. Read more.


Inclusion at Vanderbilt

A new web portal is now available to help students, faculty, postdoctoral scholars and staff access key equity, diversity and inclusion resources and activities.


2021 Health Insurance Premiums and Open Enrollment – Make your 2021 benefits elections by Nov. 2

Monthly health insurance payroll premiums for 2021 benefits are now available. Open Enrollment begins at 8 am on Oct. 19 and ends at 11:59 pm on Nov 2.


University issues guidance related to 2020 election activities

Vanderbilt University fully supports robust civic engagement by its students, faculty, postdocs and staff. Participation in the political process is fundamental to a vibrant democracy. As Election Day approaches on Tuesday, Nov. 3, the university encourages all eligible individuals to exercise their right to vote. Read more.


ASPIRE Cafe for Postdoctoral Fellows

Learn more about the BRET Career Development Aspire Cafe for Postdocs and explore topics in career development and professionalism.