Postdoctoral Affairs E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

March 11, 2021

Dear Postdoctoral Fellow Community,

I hope your semesters are going well and am thrilled to fill the role of director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA). I look forward to serving the postdoc community and building on an already successful record of promoting research and discovery.

In this message, my first official newsletter, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and the OPA team. I am both a sociologist, who studies racial and health disparities across the life course, and a licensed psychologist, who treats children and adolescents with mood and behavior disorders. My time at Vanderbilt began in 2010, and since joining Vanderbilt, I have served as a professor of sociology as well as the dean of undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Science. Currently, my roles at the university also include vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School.

Next, please join me in welcoming Faith Bishop as our new assistant director of OPA. Faith has served as an interim program manager for OPA since July 2020 and the program manager for the School of Medicine Postdoctoral Fellows since 2016. Faith has a background in communications with a focus in public relations and speech, and worked in public relations and management roles before coming to Vanderbilt. We are thrilled to have Faith in this role, and I hope you will join me in giving her a warm welcome.

As most of you know, Caitlin Haskell is our program and communications manager, and has been in this role since September 2020. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Caitlin spent the past 11 years working in higher education at Belmont, Harvard, and Cornell University in a variety of administrative roles in occupational therapy, primary care, and cell and molecular biology.

Postdoc award season is upon us. We are soliciting nominations for our annual postdoc awards: Postdoc of the Year Award, Faculty Mentor of the Year Award, Postdoc Service Award, and new this year, Postdoctoral Mentor of the Year Award. Please submit your nominations by March 19.

Lastly, we added a new section to our newsletter – Intellectual Nourishment. We hope you will find this month’s podcast informative and a good reminder of the importance of mentorship and diversity during your postdoctoral training and beyond.


C. André Christie-Mizell, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
Dean of the Graduate School
Centennial Professor of Sociology


It’s postdoc award season – submit your nominations by March 19

Each spring the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) partners with the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association (VPA) to recognize postdocs who demonstrate excellence in research, service, mentorship, and a commitment to the postdoc community, as well as their mentors who demonstrate willingness to share expertise and advice, service to the community at large, along with other mentoring activities. The nomination deadline is March 19. More information and links to submit nominations can be found online here.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with virtual events throughout March

Vanderbilt will honor the struggles and celebrate the achievements of women of all nations and cultures in March during Women’s History Month. The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, in cooperation with other campus partners, will host a full calendar of events. Read more.

BRET Career Development ASPIRE Program for Postdocs

The BRET Career Development ASPIRE Program provides career and professional development services and enrichment activities for postdoctoral fellows in the biomedical sciences at VU and VUMC.

Intellectual Nourishment

Listen to this podcast on the Science of Mentorship! In this episode, Dr. Akiko Iwasaki tells the story of her journey through STEMM academia and beyond as a woman from Japan. There were times she was discouraged from continuing her studies, but supportive mentors guided her through difficult situations with both emotional and technical support. Dr. Iwasaki shares about these experiences and how they shaped her approach to mentoring her own students in innovative ways.


Stay in the Loop!

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA)

Events for Postdocs


Return to Campus/COVID-19 Updates


VUMC postdoctoral scientist named HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow

Valeria Reyes Ruiz, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, has been selected as a 2020 Hanna Gray Fellow by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Read more.

Unapologetically Taking Up Space in the Workplace: Being a Woman in the Workplace

Join the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association’s Equity, Diversity, and Justice Committee to discuss the intersection of gender identity with professional identity. Take part in a meaningful discussion of what it means to be a female-identified professional. Register here.

Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core seeking applicants for Community Scholars Awards

The Community Scholars Award provides support for two graduate or postgraduate trainees to perform a community-engaged research project collaboratively with a community-based organization during the academic year. Applications are due by midnight on Friday, April 23, 2021. Read more.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Gateway to Pediatric Research Program

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is pleased to announce the Gateway to Pediatric Research Program, a two-day event taking place virtually on April 21-22, 2021. This event will introduce CHOP research to promising senior graduate students and junior postdoctoral fellows from different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups, life experiences, research experiences and employment backgrounds. The call for applications will close on April 2, 2021. Apply here.

Spring 2021 Women’s Center Workshops

Check out the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center Spring 2021 Work-Life and Women in the Academy Workshop Series. Topics include difficult conversations, leadership skills, eliminated bias in letters of recommendation, the Enneagram and more. Learn more.

2021 NPA Annual Conference

The virtual event, set for April 15-16, 2021, will be easy to join from across the nation or around the world. Enhance your professional development and leadership skills. Register here.