Postdoctoral Affairs E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

October 4, 2021

Dear Postdoctoral Fellow Community,

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of fall and cooler days ahead.

We recently announced our collaboration with The Vanderbilt University Career Center as they are expanding their services to support postdoctoral fellows and provide guidance for non-academic career options. We are thrilled to partner with the Career Center and hope you will take advantage of their resources.

Below you will find links to upcoming events and opportunities, including our 15th Annual VPA Symposium on November 1. We hope to see you there!

Please note, open enrollment for both VU- and VUMC-employed postdocs is taking place in October. Read more below and mark your calendars for these important dates.

Lastly, we enjoyed celebrating National Postdoc Appreciation Week and meeting many of you at our Coffee Hour and Annual Picnic.


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


Career Center expands services to support postdoctoral fellows

The Vanderbilt University Career Center is expanding its services to support postdoctoral fellows in addition to undergraduate, graduate and recently graduated students. The Career Center provides ongoing opportunities for postdocs to learn about and explore professional opportunities, including career coaching, online resources, workshops and programs, panel discussions, career fairs and more. Career coaches Kayla Broom and Christina Keeton will serve postdocs, with Broom working with fellows in the humanities and social sciences and Keeton serving non-biomedical STEM postdocs. Both will work closely with university partners to meet the professional needs of postdocs in these areas. In addition, biomedical postdocs will continue to be served by the BRET Career Development ASPIRE program. Postdocs may contact their career coach to set up an appointment, or they may contact the Career Center at for more information.

Vanderbilt’s 2021 STEM Policy & Advocacy Virtual Seminars

These virtual events will provide those in attendance with an opportunity to learn more about science policy career paths. Participants will get an inside look into different careers that are focused on science policy and hear from current and former American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy (STP) fellows. For STEM students and postdocs considering careers in public policy, this behind the scenes look will provide insights to potential career opportunities. The seminars will be held November 1 and November 8. Learn more and register here.

Register for the 15th Annual VPA Symposium on November 1

The VPA, in collaboration with OPA, will be hosting the 15th Annual VPA Symposium on Monday, November 1! This interdisciplinary one-day symposium, scheduled to be held in-person at the Student Life Center, will highlight postdoctoral research across different fields from Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and neighboring universities. Register here.

VUEDGE: Using Your Scholarship as a Voice to Promote Social Justice

OPA is thrilled to co-sponsor the VUEDGE seminar on October 8, 2021 from 3-4:30PM. Our panel of African American, Native American, Latino/a American, and Asian American/Pacific Islander scholars will share their experiences, and address how graduate students and postdocs can use their academic discipline to promote social justice and change. Learn more and register here.

Upcoming Professional Development and Wellness Workshops for Postdocs

Assertiveness & Boundary Setting Workshop for Postdocs: October 6, 2021 at 12PM
Assertiveness training may help a person set and maintain boundaries, resist unwanted advances, and actively intervene to prevent or disrupt sexual misconduct occurring around them. The Director of Project Safe, Cara Tuttle Bell, will be facilitating. Please RSVP to the event to receive the Zoom link.

Managing Up Workshop for Postdocs: October 12, 2021 at 12PM
This workshop will provide tips on how to identify ways to effectively engage with supervisors on critical matters with clarity and goal alignment while maintaining a positive work relationship. Register here.

What to Expect when Applying for Non-Academic Jobs: October 14, 2021 at 4PM
Preparing for the job market? Learn the process, timeline, and professional documents necessary to be a confident and knowledgeable applicant. Register here.

Women in the Academy: Negotiating Your First Academic Job: October 19, 2021 at 12PM
A presentation by Maureen Gannon, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development, School of Medicine. Register here.

Creating Effective Scientific Talks and Delivering Them with Confidence: October 21, 2021 at 2PM
Led by Kathy Gould, PhD, this workshop will provide basic instruction in strategies of engaging your audiences with maximally effective slide preparation and speaking techniques. Practice opportunities will also be made available after the workshop, with critical but supportive feedback. Register here.

Career Connections: Alumni Perspective on Navigating the Job Search (Humanities and Social Sciences): November 5, 2021 at 12PM
What’s next? Hear PhDs and postdocs share how they negotiated the twists and turns of their job search to enter the workforce successfully. Register here.

Holiday Stress: November 8, 2021 at 12PM
Holidays are meant to be times of joy but often they are times of unfulfilled expectations. Learn to give compassion to ourselves and others during these unusual, divisive, and stressful times. Presenter: Stephanie Dean, Assistant Manager of Work/Life Connections-EAP. Register here.

Career Connections: Alumni Perspective on Navigating the Job Search (STEM): November 12, 2021 at 12PM
What’s next? Hear PhDs and postdocs share how they negotiated the twists and turns of their job search to enter the workforce successfully. Register here.

Women in the Academy: A Conversation About Mentoring: November 17, 2021 at 12PM
A panel discussion with Carcia Carson, Ph.D. student, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Maya Krause, Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, Dina Stroud, Executive Director, Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, Tiffiny Tung, Professor, Department of Anthropology. Register here.

Chasing the Elusive Work/Life Balance: January 24, 2022 at 12PM
Trying to create a healthy balance between your professional and personal life is complex. It changes depending upon your priorities, stage of life, and responsibilities. The trick is to consider a Life Allotment Plan that can help you budget your time so you fit in things that are important. Presenter: Jim Kendall, LCSW CEAP Register here.

VU-employed Postdocs: Open Enrollment October 18-29

All fully benefits-eligible faculty, staff and postdocs will be required to make an active plan selection during October’s Open Enrollment for 2022 coverage. Employees will not automatically default into their current plan if no action is taken. Continue to watch for communications from VU Human Resources between now and the Open Enrollment period, which runs Oct. 18–29. Read more. Please note: This is for benefits-eligible Postdoctoral Scholar, Researchers.

VUMC-employed Postdocs: Open Enrollment October 13-29

The benefits you choose will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022 and last until Dec. 31, 2022. Now is a good time to review your current benefit plans to make sure they still meet your family’s needs. Remember, even if you don’t want to change your benefits plan, you still need to go through Open Enrollment to receive the $20 tobacco-free credit, to contribute to a flexible spending account, and/or to pay the $100 spousal fee if your spouse has access to health coverage through their employer but prefers the VUMC plan. Continue to watch for communications from VUMC Human Resources between now and the Open Enrollment period. Read more. Please note: This is for benefits-eligible Research Fellows. 

Latest Vanderbilt COVID-19 protocols and vaccine requirements

All Vanderbilt University-employed faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021–22 academic school year. As a part of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 response and in light of increasing case numbers in Nashville and the surrounding community, the university is implementing random asymptomatic testing—or “sentinel” testing—to detect and forecast possible infection trends and provide early warning signs of outbreak. Refer to the latest guidance and protocols, including mask mandates here.

All VUMC employees are required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption from this requirement as a condition of employment. Additionally, VUMC has updated their masking requirements for all VUMC employees.


Stay in the Loop!

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA)

Events for Postdocs


Vanderbilt’s Health and Safety Protocols

Postdoc Spotlight: Joanna Huh, PhD and ReAnna Roby, PhD

Drs. Joanna Huh and ReAnna Roby will serve as the postdoc representatives on the 2021-22 University Diversity Council. Dr. Huh is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of English at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Roby is a postdoctoral scholar at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

NIH Loan Repayment Programs
Awardees can receive up to $100,000 of qualified educational debt repayment with a two-year contract. The application cycle closes November 18, 2021. Learn more.

Vanderbilt-Emory-Cornell-Duke (VECD) Fogarty Global Health Fellowship
The application portal is now open for the Vanderbilt-Emory-Cornell-Duke (VECD) Fogarty Global Health Fellowship 2022-2023 cohort. This outstanding program offers a year abroad opportunity for US and LMIC postdocs and US doctoral students to develop research skills in a global health setting. The application deadline is November 1, 2021.

NIH MOSAIC Postdoctoral Career Transition Award
The MOSAIC program is designed to facilitate the transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds into independent, research-intensive faculty careers. Please note, the MOSAIC K99/R00 award is limited to US Citizens and Permanent Residents. The application deadline is October 27, 2021. Learn more.

VKC Science Day – Call for Abstracts

The 2021 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day will take place virtually on Friday, Nov. 5. The Call for Abstracts and attendee registration for 2021 Virtual VKC Science Day are now open – click here.

Academic Life Coach Corner

The Fall Peak Performance Series is underway. All sessions are offered on Fridays from 12-1pm. More info here.

Managing Up: Postdoc Edition will take place on October 12, 2021 from 12-1pm. Register here.

Join the BCC Hot Topics and KCPC Cafe as they lead discussions on navigating graduate school and the postdoc experience and host coffee breaks through the fall semester. More information here.

Academic Life Coaches offer coaching sessions in Alumni Hall, Eskind Library, and via Zoom. Schedule an appointment here.

Career Coaches Corner

Meet the Coaches: Christina Keeton and Kayla Broom are now available to meet with postdocs! Read more about our new collaboration with the Career Center.

CV/Resume Virtual Drop-In hours: Senior Career Coaches, Christina and Kayla, are available on Fridays from 11 am – 1 pm via Zoom to review your resume, CV, or cover letter. They can also answer any quick questions you might have regarding next steps in your career journey. Drop-ins are 20-minute sessions. Join Zoom Meeting (Meeting ID: 950 4609 0342; Passcode: 998569)

Fall Workshops: view upcoming programming here.

Intellectual Nourishment

Rediscover Joy at Work! A year and a half of the Covid pandemic has left many of us bereft of the joy we once felt at work. Psychologist and leadership coach Rebecca Newton describes four steps to take to rebuild our sense of professional joy. Read more.

Graduate Leadership Institute Fall Workshops

The Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Institute (GLI) fall workshops are open to postdocs.

Women’s Center Fall Workshops

The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center has announced their workshops for the fall semester.

Data Science Institute Fall Workshops

Workshops are open to the entire Vanderbilt community. View workshops here.

Job and Funding Opportunities

Looking for funding or searching for your next position? Check out our current funding and job opportunities page.

NPA Affiliate Memberships available to all postdocs

Are you interested in becoming a member of the National Postdoctoral Association? Use this link to become a Vanderbilt Affiliate Member.

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.