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Postdocs form professional development and networking group

Andrea Gibson | Feb 10, 2017

Ohio University postdoctoral scholars have organized a new group to share information about professional development opportunities.

The group is hosting events during Spring Semester to learn about topics such as pursuing careers in academia or industry, mentoring students and grant writing.

The first event will be held at noon on Thursday, Feb. 23 in 231 Baker Center. Toufiq Reza, an assistant professor in the Ohio University Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, will discuss how to publish prolifically while in a postdoctoral position.

In addition, a webpage on the Research Division site now features information about the events and opportunities, as well as a listing of postdoctoral scholars currently involved in the group: https://www.ohio.edu/research/postdoctoral.cfm. The page has an archive of stories and Q&As with current and past postdoctoral scholars, published for the annual Postdoctoral Appreciation Week in September.

Dora Lopez of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, Lucas Vázquez Besteiro of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Reetobrata Basu of the Edison Biotechnology Institute organized the group to help postdoctoral scholars network and share professional development information.

“Interdisciplinary networks have become increasingly important to compete in science, and forming the postdoctoral group was key to providing OHIO postdocs with the opportunity to interact,” Lopez said.

There are approximately 30 employees at Ohio University in postdoctoral scholar positions across various academic colleges, departments and schools, according to the trio’s research. Postdoctoral positions allow recent graduates of doctoral programs to gain more experience with research, teaching, laboratory or project management, grant writing and supervision of graduate and undergraduate students before seeking faculty or industry positions. These employees help faculty members advance research and scholarship.

At a kickoff event at Baker Center Jan. 20, the Ohio University postdoctoral group attracted 16 participants from departments, schools and institutes in the disciplines of engineering, medicine and science. They discussed a schedule of professional development opportunities such as seminars or volunteering as judges at the upcoming Student Research and Creative Activity Expo.

“My hope is that all postdoctoral scholars have the opportunity to interact, exchange their research, identify more ways to serve the university and find a supportive community at OHIO,” Lopez said.

Vázquez also sees many potential benefits of the new group.

“Many successful scholars are able to collaborate broadly, not only with different groups in their discipline, but also across fields,” he said. “I believe that an interacting network of scholars within a university can increase their research output and their service to the community.”         

For more information about the group, contact Lopez at lopezd3@ohio.edu. The group also has a LinkedIn account at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13400011.

The postdoctoral group is sponsored by the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity.