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Virginia Tech Postdoctoral Fellowship Community Thrives | VTX

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Producing cutting-edge research, mentoring other researchers, and expanding knowledge and ideas, postdoctoral associates are essential to Virginia Tech’s vibrant research ecosystem and represent the next generation of diverse research leaders at universities, universities, and universities. industry and the public service.

Amid the pandemic, the Office of Research and Innovation brought together stakeholders from across campus to explore ways to further enhance the postdoctoral researcher experience and provide more support through a combination community building, mentoring and professional development.

Launched most recently this spring, the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program aims to prepare postdocs from a variety of fields and disciplines for the next stage of their careers, offering them a two-year appointment with competitive salaries and benefits at Nationally, $10,000 for training and professional development. expenses to be used on the two-year fellowship, in addition to mentorship and professional development support. The first cohort of fellows will begin this fall, with application cycles available throughout the academic year.

In January, the Office of Postgraduate Affairs was created and Chris Smith was appointed Program Administrator. Over the past several months, Smith has led the development of new postdoctoral associate career programs and held town hall meetings. Early program topics focused on career exploration, creating an individual development plan, and job search resources. Future workshops focused on promoting the well-being and advancement of the postgraduate population are planned for the fall semester.

“One thing that became clear from listening to our postgraduate community at town halls in March and from a postgraduate climate survey is the desire for more connection among this population,” Smith said. “We plan to launch a new quarterly orientation program coupled with a larger postdoc community gathering event to facilitate connection and community for our postdocs in Blacksburg. Plans are also underway to offer options in Roanoke and virtually for our postdocs located throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In addition to the new office, Cristina Miliano, postdoctoral associate in the College of Science’s School of Neuroscience and postdoctoral representative on the Research Commission, spearheaded the creation of the Virginia Tech Postdoctoral Association (VTPA), established in April 2021.

The association has started to communicate the opportunities to postdocs through a newly created platform which includes a list server, the Slack group, Twitter accountFacebook page and updates available on a Google calendar.

Providing a deeper connection to the wider network of postdocs, Smith is also a board member of the National Postdoctoral Association, where he engages with a variety of stakeholders who represent postdoctoral communities across the country, and locally. as Chair of Campus Association Strategic Planning. Committee.

Celebrating its first anniversary in May, the association’s mission is to create a postdoctoral community to improve postdoctoral life at Virginia Tech and to advocate that postdoctoral fellows have the resources they need to achieve their career goals. Currently, more than a third of Virginia Tech’s postgraduate population has joined the association with a desire to grow this community of members.

New VTPA leaders were announced this summer. They understand:

  • Megan Vogt, Co-Chair, Postdoc in Biomedical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Sina Niazi, Co-Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering Postdoc, College of Engineering
  • Alex Cumbie, Communications Officer, Postdoc in Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Petar Mlinaric, secretary, postdoc in mathematics, College of Science
  • Nico Naus, International Support Chair, Postdoc in Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Karthikeyan Chandrasegaran, Chair in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Postdoc in Biochemistry, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences