Reflections Newsletter

Issue 17, September 2022

This newsletter is typically distributed the last Thursday of the month and contains a variety of resources, links, and reflections on graduate-level career & professional development, higher education, and an occasional detour into neuroscience topics, the area I formally trained in as a graduate student and postdoc.

Missed the inaugural newsletter from January 2021?

Read it here


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Reflections Blog: September 2022 


What Impact Do Postdocs Make?

Did you know last week, September 19-23, was National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW)?

In this piece I highlight some data on the work postdocs do for their institutions and the relationship between postdoc population size and research expenditures at institutions in the United States. The data highlight the impact postdocs can have on the research enterprise. However, more data and studies are needed to better demonstrate the critical role postdocs play at their institutions and their undoubtedly large contributions to the advancement of knowledge, training of the next generation, and communication of critical insights and breakthroughs in our understanding of the world to the public. 

Worthy Reads

Quantifying hierarchy and dynamics in US faculty hiring and retention

An extremely important paper from Daniel Larremore's group at the University of Colorado. As summarized in a piece on Inside Higher Education, the study found that nearly 80% of faculty members with Ph.D.s in the United States trained at just 20% of universities. These data highlight potentially massive inequalities in who gets hired as faculty at doctoral-degree-granting institutions in the US. The findings raise questions about how feasible the "traditional" path many Ph.D. students seek - faculty roles - is for those students not at "elite" (highly productive) institutions. 

See this August 2022 talk by Dr. Larremore for more on the analyses and findings.

Explore Faculty Hiring DYnamics Data

Programs Worth Promoting


NIH Becoming a Resilient Scientist Series

The NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education offers a series of webinars and small group discussions to help students and postdocs develop the confidence and resilience needed to navigate challenging situations in school, work, and life. Separate cohort groups for graduate students, postdocs, and neurodiverse trainees are offered. 

Programming began September 8th

The workshops and group discussions in the series are:

Unit 1. An Introduction to Resilience and Wellness 

Unit 2. Exploring our Self-Talk: Cognitive Distortions and Imposter Fears

Unit 3. Self-Advocacy and Assertiveness for Scientists

Unit 4. Developing Feedback Resilience

Unit 5. Managing Up to Maximize Mentoring Relationships

See the full schedule and register to attend!


SmartSkills Series

Revisiting Past Postdoc-Related Blog Posts (in honor of NPAW)

I discuss a strong need for institutions to rethink what a postdoc is for to make it a more appealing choice for recent Ph.D. graduates.

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I share my own journey from being a postdoctoral researcher to working to support postdocs, now at two different institutions. The story reflects the winding nature of career pathways and how you sometimes are surprised (but not surprised) where you end up in your journey. 

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In this piece from 2020 I discuss some of the challenges in measuring the impact of postdocs. Many of these challenges still remain but need to be addressed if we are to truly advocate for this critical population that drives research and innovation. 

Read More

Is pursuing a postdoc a good idea? It can be if you use the postdoctoral period strategically. 

Read More

More to Explore - Resources for Trainees & Those Supporting Them

Explore Job Search & Funding Resources On My Website

For Further Reading & Exploration

More About Me
Carpe Careers Column
National Science Foundation Data
Data on PhD & Postdoc Training: NGLS 
GCC Professional Development Webinars
Career & Professional Development Research

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