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Enrich your portfolio through conferences

Since spring 2016, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs has supported the professional and career development needs of postdocs towards independence through quarterly travel grants. To date, we have funded 66 postdocs to travel to regional, national and international conferences. Travel grant recipients kindly shared their conference experiences, and we are highlighting several of them here. We encourage you to check out what your fellow postdocs’ experiences have been and think about how attending academic and professional conferences can enrich your portfolio and move you one step closer to your career goals. Conferences not only provide you with an opportunity to get feedback on your work or to be inspired by others’ work, but also to network and build meaningful relationships that might lead to new collaborations or a future job.

During the meeting, I was able to meet with co-authors to discuss plans for a manuscript on continuation of the work I presented. Additionally, I am starting a position as a postdoctoral fellow in the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University later this year and was able to meet with my future supervisor and colleagues about my new role and research plans. It was a very productive meeting for me.”
– Pamela M Barrett, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Fall 2017 Postdoc Travel Award Winner

It was a truly wonderful professional opportunity to be able to attend this meeting. I also had the opportunity to discuss ongoing work with two collaborators who were also at the meeting. In particular we started exploring a promising idea to tackle an obstacle we have been facing in our project, something which was much easier to do in person!
– Mariana Smit Vega Garcia, Mathematics, Winter 2018 Postdoc Travel Award Winner

Perhaps most importantly, attendances of this small conference were also afforded with ample opportunities to network with one another. I met many leading psychologists and early career researchers who gave me advice on the upcoming job market season. Although the idea of going on the academic job market is terrifying, I am heartened and encouraged by the support network I have developed in this conference.”
– Jin Xun Goh, Psychology, Spring 2018 Postdoc Travel Award Winner

My original work was well received by the international community and more importantly, I left with a sense of reassurance that my research approach and results will help further the field of microbial proteomics. The conference provided a great platform to network with other early career scientists as well as facilitated meaningful discussions with professors. I met several young professors from smaller institutions in the US who provided encouragement and mentorship and I also made connections to professors at international institutions who introduced me to several early career funding opportunities abroad targeted towards future leaders in environmental science.”
– Rachel Lundeen, Oceanography, Spring 2018 Postdoc Travel Award Winner

As an early-career member of the society’s Council, I attended council and business meetings, which afforded a view into the inner workings of running a society and planning a large international conference. I would love to help shape the future of this society and take a part in modernizing its web and social media presence. To this end, I am running for Secretary of the society and my candidacy was announced on the last day of the conference.”
– Gabriella H Wolff, Biology, Spring 2018 Postdoc Travel Award Winner

Another great benefit I received during the meeting was to meet several senior researchers and discuss my future research plan, as well as my plan of applying for a faculty position. I contacted them by email before the meeting started. I was able to meet with the people I contacted while I was at the meeting. The feedback I received from them help me plan for my job application.”
– Ping Chao Mamiya, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, Summer 2018 Postdoc Travel Award Winner

We appreciate past postdoc travel award winners sharing their insights, and highly encourage you to visit our website and learn more about the Postdoc Travel Grants. We look forward to receiving your applications and please send any questions you may have to uwopa@uw.edu.