UW Graduate School

October 24, 2018

Postdocs, Start on the Right Foot at UW!

The OPA had the pleasure of welcoming a group of new postdocs to the UW at our orientation on September 20, 2018. It was great to spend time with everyone at both the orientation and professional development sessions, as well as the Taco Bar to celebrate National Postdoc Appreciation Week. We truly value your role at the UW and want to help you achieve your professional and personal goals as you move toward an independent career.

For those who could not attend, or have maybe been at the UW for a bit but still have questions about resources and opportunities, we share some highlights of the resources and career development thoughts here:

  • The mission of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) is to holistically support postdocs throughout the UW. Our website provides resources for all aspects of your professional development: career exploration, skill building, writing productivity, grant writing, mentoring and support networks. In addition, you can schedule an appointment for a one-on-one discussion of your pathway to independence, strategies for managing conflict and career exploration.
  • The UW Postdoc Association (UWPA) works to establish and support a committed network of UW postdocs and provide professional support (e.g. career seminars, research symposium). The UWPA works to support postdoc parents with an innovative Postdoc Parent Group! Postdoc leaders are creating opportunities to improve postdoc experience at the UW.
  • A newly formed Diversity Postdoc Group is starting off this week, recruiting new members.  Thanks again to postdoc leaders for stepping forward to create this group aiming to provide community building, mentoring and targeted professional development, and improve research and training culture. See announcement below for contacts and information on the first meeting.
  • If you are interested in an academic career, please look for upcoming announcements from the Future Faculty Fellows workshop and the Science Teaching Experience for Postdocs (STEP) program; both are open to all UW postdocs. We recommend attending the Future Faculty Fellows early in your postdoc experience as it helps you plan for your future.
  • The UW Career & Internship Center provides downloadable guidance documents focused on the job search for academic careers and diverse career pathways. Be sure to check out the 2018/19 Career Guide.
  • If you find yourself in a difficult situation and would like some advice, you likely know that you can reach out to your mentors, department chair and administrators, and us at the OPA. An additional resource is the Office of the Ombud, where you can receive confidential, neutral and informal guidance concerning job security, career advancement and research collaborations, and planning for difficult conversations.
  • The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) provides access to funding (e.g., KL2) and workshops focused on career development and grant writing.
  • Finally, when looking to unwind from a long day of research, make your way to the Intramural Activities Building (IMA) or the Waterfront Activities Center (WAC) where, for a reduced rate, you can access the pool, fitness classes, workout facilities, and boat rentals. There really is no cheaper gym membership in town, and they have a Gear Shed where you can check out outdoor gear for your next adventure.

We closed with a brief workshop sharing tools and strategies for making the most of your postdoc experience. It is important to start planning your career progression, build your mentor team (individuals that are invested in YOU), set goals that are attainable and specific, explore diverse career pathways, and learn how to network more effectively. There are some great planning tools that can help you, such as ImaginePhD.com. Importantly, be open to new ideas and don’t be afraid to jump in a new direction. Keep a look out for our OPA professional development programming and e-newsletters where we will take a deeper dive into: Effective Individual Development Plans; Pathway to Independence; Careers in Industry; Diversifying Your Funding Portfolio, and much more. We want you to enjoy your time as a postdoc at UW, so let us know how we can help you be successful and feel supported.