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The 15th Annual VPA Symposium

Thank you to all those who attended the 15th  Annual VPA Symposium on November 1st, 2021.

This interdisciplinary one-day conference highlights postdoctoral research as well as provide a venue for networking and professional development. 

Postdocs have the opportunity to present their research through either a lightning talk (brief oral presentation) or a poster presentation. Best presenters in both categories received prizes to be presented at the closing event.

Schedule of Events (Central Time)

  • 10:00-10:15          Welcome Remarks by Vice Provost André Christie-Mizell
  • 10:15-11:15          Poster Session & Coffee
  • 11:30-12:45          Keynote Speaker by Dr. Adia Harvey Wingfield  & Lunch
  • 01:00-01:30          BRET Career Advising Session by Dr. Ashley Brady
  • 01:30-02:30          Poster Session & Coffee
  • 02:45-04:15          Lightning Talks
  • 04:30-05:15          Cocktail Hour, Awards, & Closing Remarks

Keynote Address

Dr. Adia Harvey Wingfield


Vice Dean of Faculty Development and Diversity
Professor of Sociology
Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Arts & Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis

Professional Work in a ‘Post Racial’ Era: Black Health Care Workers in the New Economy

What happens to black professionals when work transforms? In an era of rapid technological change, shrinking protections for workers, and growing income inequality, work is no longer the secure, stable, predictable path to economic stability that it once was for some segments of the population. Instead, organizations today focus on shedding labor, cutting costs, and increasing shareholder returns. At the same time, however, many organizations also profess an interest in meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse population. How do they manage the tensions of adapting to these neoliberal ideals in a more multiracial society? 

This research study focuses on black professionals in the health care industry to answer this question. Using in depth interviews, field observations, and survey data analysis, I show how work transformation fundamentally changes the labor black professionals do within and outside of organizations. This labor varies by occupational status and gender, leaving black men and black women with divergent responsibilities depending on their position in the organizational hierarchy. Ultimately, this research identifies new challenges for organizations and reveals an additional way that racial inequality gets perpetuated in the new economy.

BRET Career Advising Session

Dr. Ashley Brady


Assistant Dean of Biomedical Career Engagement and Strategic Partnerships
BRET Office of Career Development ASPIRE Program
Assistant Professor of Medical Education and Administration
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Career Development for Postdoctoral Fellows and the ASPIRE Program at Vanderbilt

Click here to view slides from the Career Development session!

What are your career plans? What should your next steps be to get you there? If these questions overwhelm you, or you just want to be more strategic in preparing, then join Ashley Brady, PhD, as she shares ideas to help you make a plan and maximize the resources available to you, both on campus and elsewhere. Your postdoc years are an excellent time to explore career options, build skills and network to help you make the most of this important stage in your training.


Symposia websites from previous years: 2017, 2019, 2020