Vanderbilt-Fisk Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunity

Fellowship Program

The Vanderbilt-Fisk Postdoctoral Fellowship has been designed to offer opportunities for Vanderbilt PhDs to build their teaching and scholarship portfolios, while simultaneously offering fellows the opportunity to receive dedicated mentoring from faculty at both institutions. Two fellowships will be available for the 2023-2024 academic year, beginning in the Spring 2024 semester.

Each fellowship will be for a period of 24 months and allow time for publishing from the dissertation and the preparation of other research papers. The program will allow Fisk University to consider each fellow for a faculty position, with the goal of leading to a tenure-track position.

Fellowships will be open to all disciplines, but those with backgrounds in Biology, Mathematics, or History are strongly encouraged to apply.

Fellows will be Vanderbilt employees and Vanderbilt will provide salaries and benefits to Fellows. The salary for each Fellow will be $65,000 plus benefits. Fellows will receive the comprehensive benefits package offered to Vanderbilt University employees, including but not limited to health, dental, and vision insurance, a 403(b)-retirement plan, short-and-long-term disability coverage, and life insurance.

The deadline to apply for 2023-2024 fellowships beginning in Spring 2024 is October 31, 2023. The selected 2023-2024 Fellows will be announced on November 15, 2023.

Questions? Email Annie Evans, Program & Communications Manager, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

  • Eligibility
    • Candidates will be a Vanderbilt Ph.D. who is two years or less from the date of award or a graduate student who has completed all Vanderbilt Ph.D. requirements at the time of fellowship (January 2024).
    • Due to the possibility of moving into a faculty position at Fisk following the fellowship, only U.S. Citizens are eligible to apply at this time.
  • Application Requirements
    • Research Interests (one page)
    • Long-term Career Goals (one page)
    • Teaching and diversity statement (one page)
    • Current CV

    All applicants will be required to have two to three reference letters.

    • One reference letter must be from a Vanderbilt faculty member that has agreed to be your mentor if the fellowship is awarded.
    • One reference letter must be from a Fisk faculty member that has agreed to be your mentor if the fellowship is awarded.

Vanderbilt-Fisk Postdoctoral Fellows

The first cohort of the Vanderbilt-Fisk Postdoctoral Fellowship program has been announced. The fellowship appointments will begin August 1, 2023, and last until July 31, 2025.

  • Meet the 2023 Vanderbilt-Fisk Postdoctoral Fellows
    Velia Garcia
    Velia Garcia

    Velia Garcia is a structural biologist interested in the fundamental mechanisms of structure-function relationships of proteins involved in inflammation. Her current research is focused on understanding cell signaling interaction at the host-pathogen interface.

    Garcia earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Texas Pan American, a Hispanic-serving institution, where she was awarded a Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Undergraduate Training Fellowship in 2014. She began the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Damo at Fisk University. Upon completing her master’s thesis, she transitioned into the chemistry department at Vanderbilt to pursue her Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Walter Chazin.

    Garcia will complete her doctorate this summer. Through her experiences with minority-serving institutions, she understands how instrumental these institutions are in training the next generation of students. Garcia aspires to become a professor at a minority-serving undergraduate institution.

    While in her postdoctoral fellowship, she will be mentored by Dr. Jennifer Gaddy, associate professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Dr. Steven Damo, chair of the Department of Life and Physical Sciences and assistant professor of chemistry at Fisk.


    Meagan Rainock
    Meagan Rainock

    Meagan Rainock is a sociologist investigating three lines of inquiry: the social determinants of health, racial and ethnic inequality and empowerment, and deviance and social control. Her research aims to illuminate the role of racial stratification in the criminalization of mental illness.

    Rainock earned her undergraduate degree in sociology from Brigham Young University, where she also received her master’s degree in sociology. She entered Vanderbilt to pursue her Ph.D. under the mentorship of C. André Christie-Mizell and wrote her dissertation, titled “Race-Gender Differences in Medicalization and Criminalization: The Consequences for Criminal Justice Involvement and Mental Health Treatment.”

    Rainock completed her doctorate in spring 2023. Her long-term career goal is to become a tenured professor of sociology at a university where she can pursue both teaching and research. She will specialize in the study of racial disparities in health and criminal justice involvement in the hopes of making a significant contribution to this social issue through research that has a tangible community impact, and through mentoring students in the pursuit of solving social problems.

    While in her postdoctoral fellowship, she will be mentored by Dr. Jonathan Metzl, Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor, professor of sociology and psychiatry and director of the Department of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt, and Dr. Shirley Brown, dean of the School of Humanities and Behavioral Social Sciences and professor of sociology at Fisk.


    Anne Taylor
    Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor is a neuroscientist studying addiction. Her goal in this research is to uncover the neurophysiological mechanisms of short- and long-term drug use and its relation to negative affective behaviors. She wants to use her work to create and disseminate educational tools for the broader community. She believes, as part of her duty as a scientist, that she should enrich the lives of individuals who have experienced adversity to minimize their risk for future negative health outcomes.

    Taylor completed her undergraduate degree at Binghamton University, where she completed a research project with Dr. Christopher Bishop that was published in Neuroscience. She was awarded a National Institute on Drug Abuse fellowship, which allowed her to continue research during the summer of 2016 in Dr. Paul Meyer’s lab at the University of Buffalo. The experience with Meyer encouraged Taylor to apply for graduate school to pursue a career in the field of addiction research.

    Taylor will complete her doctorate this summer. She aspires to be a leading expert in her field, with a particular focus on the plasticity mechanisms that underly the transition from alcohol use to abuse. She is committed to creating a supporting and inclusive learning environment and instill a love of lifelong learning in the students she teaches and mentors.

    While in her postdoctoral fellowship, she will be mentored by Dr. Danny Winder, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research and Bixler-Johnson-Mayes Professor and professor of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt, and Dr. Brian Nelms, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and associate professor of biology at Fisk.