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Office of Postdoctoral Affairs: Events

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs sponsors many events on campus, including grant writing workshops, tips for applying for faculty positions, and other career development activities.  To discover some of the many resources available, select an event below to learn more or search the OPA's Google Calendar .

View OPA's archive of past events.



VPA Book Discussion

Tuesday, December 4th, 12 – 1PM
Wyatt Center 223

Are you interested in having critical and thoughtful discussions? Come break out of your Silo! The VPA Diversity Committee is facilitating a book discussion open to all postdocs. We will read the book, “Racism Without Racists” 5th edition by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva prior to discussion. It will be an open discussion-based forum. Please see attached flyer for more information on how to download/read the book and register here.

Sponsored by VPA

Faculty Writing Session

Friday, Dec 7, 8:30-11:00 AM
Kissam 210

The Office for Inclusive Excellence is hosting a series of Faculty Writing Sessions. The sessions are part of a community building initiative targeted towards female faculty to open up a space where colleagues can enter into freely, dedicate personal time towards scholarship, and build a peer network across campus that can have a great impact on faculty engagement over time. Faculty are invited to use this time to as motivation to work on personal projects that may be at any phase.  

The format includes time for light breakfast / networking and a short welcoming message before dedicated writing time (the main focus of these sessions).

Registration not required but appreciated. Register here.

Sponsored by the Office for Inclusive Excellence.

Publishing for Postdocs

Tuesday Dec 11, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Alumni 201

Want to learn about writing a book proposal? Hear from the Vanderbilt University Press about modifying your thesis to a book, writing the book proposal, and navigating the publishing world. Please RSVP, lunch provided.

Sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Lab to Lunch: Business Savvy for Scientists

Thursday Dec 13, 11:30-1:00PM (please arrive no later than 11:25)
Student Life Center

 “May we take you out to lunch?”

 Interviews for professional, faculty, and postdoctoral positions often take place over a meal. Would you be ready for the meal interview? 

 Well, let us be the first one to ask you that question… Practice with us!

The BRET Office of Career Development invites you to dine with us on Thursday, December 13, over lunch. While enjoying a 3-course meal, you — along with a small group of biomedical science PhD students and postdocs — will hear from business-savvy expert Malika Williams, founder of Excuse Me, Please Etiquette. Ms. Williams will give tips on professional dining situations like meals and networking receptions. Additionally, Ashley Brady and Kate Stuart from the BRET office will briefly add in some additional networking tips for a dining setting.

This is a program is for a small group of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows… only 60 to be exact! So spots are very limited. 

To reserve your spot, email Kate Stuart to verify your interest, confirm your availability, and hear more about how to hold your spot.

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

VPA Holiday Luncheon

Thursday Dec 13, 12:00 – 2 PM
Student Life Center Board of Trust Room

‘Tis the season of festivity. Join us for VPA Holiday Luncheon. Please RSVP so we can accommodate any dietary restrictions and make sure there’s enough food.

Sponsored by the VPA

ASPIRE Cafe for Postdoctoral Fellows: How to Give a Chalk Talk

Thursday, December 13 3:00pm
Light Hall 419

Bring your questions and hear from a panel of faculty members: Ron Emeson, Ph.D., Ann Richmond, Ph.D., and Chris Wright, D. Phil.

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Parenting Group: Navigating School Choice

Thursday Dec 13, 12 - 1 PM
Sarratt 112

Representatives from the Office of School Options at Metro Nashville Public Schools will talk about the school choice application process for the 2019-2020 school year. Lunch served on a first-come basis.

Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center.

Registration is now open to postdocs for the Tiered Mentoring Program (TMP). The TMP was developed in conjunction with the Evidence Based Teaching Workshop to find new ways to provide support for our current and future STEM faculty. The TMP focuses on helping participants navigate issues of identity and authority in a variety of teaching contexts, including classroom instruction and one-on-one mentoring in the lab or office. Each TMP cohort is comprised of senior faculty members, junior faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from differing academic departments.  

Each cohort meets monthly over the course of a year to discuss and learn about various topics pertaining to success in teaching within a faculty career. Topics addressed include self-presentation in the classroom, documenting teaching effectiveness, establishing relationships with undergraduate and graduate student mentees, time management, and self-advocacy. Additionally, there are several peer to peer meetings for the faculty group and grad student/post doc group which wll allow for discussion of level specific topics.

Register here.

Sponsored by VU-CIRTL, VU-WISE, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Graduate School

Thursday afternoons, beginning September 13, 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Alumni Hall Cafe (formerly Bamboo Bistro)

Come for coffee, cookies, colleagues and board games – just a relaxed space.  The Graduate Life Coach will host and campus colleagues will also hang out on occasion to chat. 

Sponsored by Vanderbilt Graduate School Career Development Office


The purpose of the Certificate in College Teaching, co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching and the Graduate School, is to assist Vanderbilt graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who wish to gain a clearer, deeper, more active approach to teaching and learning in higher education. The certificate focuses on the research on learning and best teaching practices, and supports the university’s pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning. The certificate is ideal for graduate students and postdocs whose goals are to become more effective educators and who want to prepare for future careers in higher education teaching.

To receive a Certificate, participants must complete the following:

  • Seminar in College Teaching. A one-semester seminar which explores and develops teaching skills. Participants attend 8 group sessions, complete a microteaching experience and develop a philosophy of teaching statement with feedback provided by a private 1:1 consultation. Additionally, participants may attend an optional  teaching visit.
  • College Teaching Practicum. A one-semester practicum in which participants enhance the effectiveness of their current teaching and assessment practices. Participants complete an observation of their classroom teaching. Additionally, participants will refine their philosophy of teaching. 

The Certificate in College Teaching Program is highly popular and now maintains a wait list with no less than a semester wait to get in.  Wait list applicants are considered on a first come first serve basis till all sections are full. If you do not get into the upcoming semester for the Seminar, your position on the wait list will be maintained for the next cohort by the date you applied.

More information and a link to seminar sign up can be found here.

Peak Performance Workshop Series

Starting Friday, October 5, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Center for Student Wellbeing

This workshop series is designed to promote expert performance by exploring common issues impacting graduate and professional students and postdocs. During each session, we will briefly cover theory and research on the topic and provide a space for attendees to discuss their related experiences and to gain support and consultation.  Sign up required (, space is limited to 20 people/session


Oct. 5: Session 1: Perfectionism and “Imposter Syndrome”
Oct. 12: Session 2: Motivation and Mindset
Oct. 26: Session 3: Performing under Pressure
Nov. 2: Session 4: Managing Conflict and Relationships
Nov. 9: Session 5: Effective Goal Setting
Nov. 16: Session 6: Fighting Procrastination/Increasing Efficiency
Nov. 30: Session 7: Finding Work/Life Balance

Sponsored by the University Counseling Center and the Graduate School.

While all postdocs are welcome to visit the Graduate School Career Development Office, two offices collaborate to provide career and professional development opportunities for postdocs. Postdocs in the natural sciences, engineering, nursing, business, education, social sciences, or humanities receive their primary career services from Dr. Ruth Schemmer . To make an appointment with Dr. Schemmer, call 615-343-0844 (Sheri Kimble, Administrative Assistant). Dr. Schemmer’s office is in 010 Alumni Hall of the Graduate School.

Postdocs in biomedical departments and programs** (see list below) should email Dr. Kim Petrie if you wish to make an appointment. Dr. Petrie’s office is in the BRET Office of Career Development, 340 Light Hall. Visit the career development page on the BRET website, and the BRET programs for postdocs.

**Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care
Biomedical Informatics
Cardiovascular Medicine
Cancer Biology
Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Cell and Developmental Biology
Clinical Pharmacology
Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism
Endocrinology and Diabetes
General Internal Medicine
Genetic Medicine
Health Policy
Hearing and Speech Sciences
Infectious Disease
Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Pediatric Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Infectious Disease, and Nephrology
Radiation Oncology
Radiology & Radiological Sciences
Reproductive and Development Biology
Rheumatology & Immunology
Section of Surgical Sciences
Surgical Oncology

Summer schedule, June 5 through August 10

Thursdays from 2:00 to 5:00 PM
Fridays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
1801 Edgehill Ave., Suite 112

Sponsored by the Graduate School and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Much like our Dissertation Writers’ Retreats, writing groups for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows provide participants with loosely-structured time to work individually in a quiet, supportive atmosphere. A Writing Studio administrator will be present as a guide and a participant, facilitating brief check-ins at the beginning and end of each session. You may sign up for one of our 3-hour sessions on a weekly basis, every other week, or as needed based upon your project deadlines and goals. Light refreshments will be provided.

To sign up, visit our website, click on “Schedule an Appointment,” at the top of the right-hand sidebar, and look for a sign-up box labeled “Grad/Postdoc Writing Group.”

Space in each session is limited to 8 participants.

Questions? Contact Beth Estes.

Tuesdays, 8:30 to 10:30 AM
LOCATION CHANGE:  2525 West End Avenue,

6th floor Boardroom* on 1st Tuesday
6th floor EPC Conference Room other Tuesdays


You know that paper that won’t get finished?

You need Shut Up and Write (SUAW) to get dedicated writing time to finally do it. SUAW groups provide a time and place to show up, shut up, and write your grant or manuscript. Learn more here.


Summer and Fall 2018:

  • July 3*, 10*, 17, 24, 31
  • August 7*, 14, 21, 28
  • September 4*, 11, 18, 25
  • October 2*, 9, 16, 23, 30
  • November 6*, 13, 20, 27
  • December 4*, 11, 18

Spring 2019:

  • January 8*, 15, 22, 29
  • February 5*, 12, 19, 26
  • March 5*, 12, 19, 26
  • April 2*, 9, 16, 23, 30

Let us know if you can be there so we can have your seat and coffee ready. RSVP to Aimee Edgeworth

Shut Up & Write! is sponsored by Edge for Scholars and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Drop in on Tuesdays from 9:00 AM to noon
The Women's Center

Questions?  Contact Rory Dicker.

Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center

Whether you’re having trouble breaking out of the block or want a few colleagues to run alongside, now is the time to join a Manuscript Sprint, coordinated by the Office of Clinical and Translational Scientist Development. Sprint Teams of 3 to 5 authors who have at least one previously published paper form small groups of investigators from across public health, psychosocial, clinical, translational and basic sciences.

Sign up  September 5 to start writing in September 2018. Sprints will run until early November.

  •  Fall Sprint #1, Tuesday afternoons from 1:00-2:30 PM in Light Hall 419A, beginning September 18
  •  Fall Sprint #2, Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:00 AM in Light Hall 415A beginning September 19

If you can't make either of these times but still want to sprint, let us know.  If there is enough demand, we will organize a third sprint at another time and day of the week.

Email Rebecca Helton to sign up for a Sprint. In your email, please let us know:

  1. Your general area of research and
  2. Draft title of your manuscript

Sponsored by the Office of Clinical and Translational Scientist Development

Creative Coping

Tuesdays 5-6
Project SAFE

The Project SAFE Center offers a free, guided, low-stress approach to building support, resiliency, and cultivating self-expression. No skills or experience needed. Participants will be guided through simple activities, creating with variety of materials and media that are easy to use. Themes explored include building confidence, prioritizing self-care, channeling courage, trusting in self-knowledge, and identifying coping skills. All supplies provided. The activities offered are designed to help you to process feelings, thoughts, and events. Participation in the guided activity is always optional. Curriculum varies. Sample activities include: Abstract painting, Guided mindfulness practice, Writing prompts, Trauma-informed yoga, Assertiveness training, Jewelry making.

Sponsored by Project SAFE.

Yoga for Trauma Survivors

Fridays 9:30 – 11 am
Center for Student Wellbeing

In collaboration with the Center for Student Wellbeing, Project Safe offers this 90-minute program for Survivors of Trauma. The first 30 minutes will be an informative session about the ways trauma impacts the body and the benefits of yoga practice. The last hour will be an opportunity for students to practice newly learned skills. Students of all levels are welcome to join. Contact Project SAFE to learn more.  Sign up via Anchor Link.

Sponsored by Project SAFE and the Center for Student Wellbeing.

From their website: ImaginePhD is a free online career exploration and planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Humanities and social sciences PhD students and their mentors have long recognized the need for more resources to help bridge the knowledge gap between doctoral education and the realm of career possibilities. ImaginePhD is designed to meet this need by allowing users to:

  • assess their career-related skills, interests, and values
  • explore careers paths appropriate to their disciplines
  • create self-defined goals
  • map out next steps for career and professional development success

Create your account and begin using this tool at



Visit the Edge Bulletin Board to check their current list of national research funding opportunities with upcoming deadlines, updated often.

To submit national opportunities, email Edge for Scholars.



Learn more about the L'Oréal USA for Women in Science Fellowship.