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UWPA: Postdocs are not invisible at UW


We are happy to report that a postdoc-friendly resolution was officially approved on March 2nd by the UW faculty senate. The resolution recognizes the UWPA as the body that represents postdocs at UW, acknowledges the university commitment to support and respect the independence of UWPA, establishes the office for postdoctoral affairs as a permanent office, and enacts a cross-disciplinary task force that will address several problems that affect postdocs.
Although it is an advisory resolution, it's an important step to address many of the problems that we have been hearing from postdocs throughout our university. These problems include the (1) absence of structured mentorship programs and coordinators within departments, (2) very limited resources and time available for independent research and personal development, and (3) lack of complete and accurate information provided by offer letters. This resolution would not have been possible without the active advocacy from UWPA and other postdocs that collaborated with the UW leadership to move us forward. But let's not forget this is just a first step. We all have a lot of work ahead of us and we need your feedback and help more than ever to implement these and other changes.

Congrats to Jessica Arbour of the Santana Lab in the Department of Biology for her recent publication, "A major shift in diversification rate helps explain macroevolutionary patterns in primate species diversity." Now available Epub ahead of print

Upcoming Events: 

Set Up For Success in Academic Careers: Finding Funding for Your Research Program

     When: Thursday, April 6, 9 AM – 12PM
     Where: @ HUB 332, UW Seattle Campus
Free Breakfast Provided

In this workshop, postdocs are invited to hear from a keynote speaker and panelists who have been successful with early career funding and managing diverse funding portfolios including industry and foundation funding. We are showcasing NSF funded faculty from Colleges of Engineering and Environment, but all postdocs are welcome. The workshop will include small group time guided by a faculty or staff expert on different aspects of the grant writing and funding process. The workshop is co-sponsored by the College of Engineering, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and the UW Postdoctoral Association.


              Jim Pfaendtner, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering


              M. Claire Horner-Devine, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Aquatic & Fishery Sciences 
              Jonathan Posner, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

              Daniel Ratner, Associate Professor, Bioengineering
              Chelsea Wood, Assistant Professor, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Fred Hutch First Friday Event: A series about research related careers
     When: Friday, April 7, 12-1PM
     Where: Sze East (D1-084)

     Ujwal Sheth, PhD, Associate Director BIO Ventures for Global Health

Ujwal was a postdoc at the Fred Hutch prior to joining BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH). In addition to her graduate work and postdoc, she has a UW certificate in Biotechnology Project Management. She is now Associate Director at BVGH, which facilitates cross-sector global collaborations to develop new biomedical products. Sponsored by SPAC and OSCD- Questions? Contact Karen Peterson at


Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati - Career in Patent Law

   When: April 13, 5:30-7:30 PM
UW Career & Internship Center, 134 Mary Gates, Seattle Campus

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is hosting a "Careers in Patent Law" presentation at UW. The purpose of this event is for graduate and postdoctoral students in engineering, the life sciences, and other technical fields, to learn more about career opportunities in intellectual property and patent law. Topics addressed will include:


     • What is patent law?


     • What is a scientific advisor/patent agent and what qualifications are required to become one?


     • How can I become a patent attorney?


      Presenter- Melissa Harwood: Senior Associate in the Patent Prosecution Group and UW alumna                  (J.D. '09, Ph.D. Chemistry '06, B.S. Chemistry)


From NPA: A Strong CV is Not Enough: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

At the NPA conference, Mary Mitchell explained the importance of face-to-face communication and gave several tips on improving it. Whether during interviews or while attending conferences, this form of communication is key to our success as postdocs.

Like other skills, this is a skill you can train -- don't make the mistake of thinking that those that are good at it were born that way! Practice is the secret to improve your communication skills but there are two key principles that are worth pointing out:

Ensure you feel comfortable. During the workshop, Mitchell repeatedly and half-jokingly offered power bars to attendees to convey the message that feeling comfortable during social occasions is vital for effective communication. One of the reasons for this is that the other person can perceive our discomfort and become uncomfortable himself or herself. The other reason is that being uncomfortable or stressed reduces our capacity to be aware. Ensure that you prepare, rest, sleep and eat enough before attending social events!

Be aware of yourself and others. The other principle is to explicitly pay attention to others and yourself. This does not just refer to what people say. Instead it refers to how they say it, their posture, their gestures and their position. Mitchell gave numerous bad examples of behaviors that she personally saw at conferences: getting too close; having a closed body position or trying to touch and hug others! Some of these aspects are culture dependent. Given that we, postdocs, often work in cross-cultural environments being consciously aware of others is particularly important. But even within a given culture, different people have different personalities and comfort zones: we should adjust our behavior so that others feel comfortable when we are communicating with them (and so should they).

Related to this topic, the TED talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy on body language has a good mix of entertainment and information and is well worth watching!   
Countdown to Science March- 18 Days!


The Science March's platform is simple: "Science is the best method we have for understanding the world." Join the anti-alternative fact brigade and march to show your support this Earth Day, April 22nd. 
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Sign up for myPostdoc Monthly Webinar 

The new webinar series is a great program with informative topics that can support and enhance your postdoc experience. Beginning in April, the webinar will take place on the first Wednesday of each month. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity and allow the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) to assist in accomplishing your goals. 

Get Involved with UWPA


Is that service section of your CV looking a little thin?


There are many ways to help the Postdoc Association and add some experience to your CV without taking much time away from research.

Join the social media committee and share your academic posts, promote our happy hour (may as well come too!), or help with the newsletters.

Become a department liaison and forward UWPA news and events to your
department administrator and be sure all the postdocs in your field are informed.

Got kids? Join the parenting group and organize postdoc parents for kid-friendly outings around town.

Contact the UWPA for more info!

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