Berkeley Lab

New Postdoc Association Announces Inaugural Board Members

boardThe newly launched Berkeley Lab Postdoc Association (BLPA)  officially appointed new Board Members on April 5, 2016:

  • Chairs: Antoine Wojdyla (Materials Sciences), Cameron Coates (Joint Genome Institute),  Jing Xu (Energy Storage and Distributed Resources), and Valentine Trotter (Env. Genomics and Systems Biology)
  • Secretary: Greg Su (Advanced Light Source)
  • Treasurer: Hang Deng (Energy Geosciences)
  • Historian: Nils Zimmerman (Computational Research)
  • Public Relations Officer: Sinead Griffin (Molecular Foundry)
  • Internal Relations Officer: Julianne Mueller (Computational Research)
  • Outreach Committee Chair: Sinead Griffin (Molecular Foundry)
  • Sports & Activities Committee Chairs: Cameron Coates (Joint Genome Institute) & Antoine Wojdyla (Materials Sciences)
  • National Postdoc Association Liaison: Robert Streubel (Materials Sciences)

blpa01Following BLPA’s kick-off mixer on March 28, a general meeting was held to nominate and elect new Board Members.  Attendees discussed future goals, strengthening relationships with senior management, assigning roles, joining the National Postdoc Association (NPA), creating a network of alumni, and the potential challenges for the association (e.g. postdoc turnover rate).  Members also put forward some new ideas, such as: pairing up new postdocs who arrive at the Lab with a current postdoc (as a “buddy”) in order to enhance inclusion efforts and make new employees feel welcome; and inviting high-profile speakers to share their own experience as postdocs, including their career trajectory.  There was also discussion of monthly social events and creating some content for a potential postdoc orientation.

Future goals include: creating a postdoc network (past and present), increasing collaborations between postdocs, engaging scientists to participate in public events and activities, be recognized nationally as an association, and creating content to be shared with the wider community (e.g. videos of talks, exhibitions, etc.)  These goals will be developed and accomplished in partnership with BLPA’s Executive Sponsor, Lab Deputy Director Horst Simon.

For more information, please visit the BLPA Website or check out BLPA on Facebook.


blpa13Quotes from BLPA members:

“When I arrived at the lab, I met many of my friends by chance, which later evolved to collaborating on various projects more or less related to the science we were doing.  Being able to connect with others truly enhanced my experience as a postdoc.  What drives the association is the need to create opportunities for people to meet and a structure to help them do things that go beyond their research.”

“When the steering committee first started the association, we didn’t expect to receive so much support from the postdoc community and Lab senior management.  Even former postdocs reached out to us to propose their help in federating a community!”

“BLPA’s ambition is to address the postdocs’ issues, which can be difficult to tackle due to their short-term appointments.  Nonetheless, we also want to make sure that the time they spend in Berkeley will be beneficial on a personal and professional level.”

“We have formed a Board of fantastic people across all disciplines and cultures, and I am very enthusiastic about it!  Who knows what you can achieve when you have young scientists collaborating with Nobel prize-winning researchers?  The possibilities are limitless.”

“All things considered, the Lab was founded by a postdoc (E.O. Lawrence) who brought in his peers to create the most exciting science of that time.  A very different context of course, but an association of postdocs always seemed to be in the genes of the Lab, just waiting for the right moment to be expressed!”