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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.



ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows "Mastering the Art of Being Interviewed"

Wednesday, April 3 9:00 AM
407 AB Light Hall


Join us as we use Story Mason(TM), an interactive tool developed to help you prepare for interviewing. Learn through peer-to-peer feedback how to instantly connect and develop rapport, handle unexpected disruptions, decode questions, and distinguish yourself with memorable answers. Find out how to turn intimidating one-way interviews into interesting two-way conversations, and how to close with purpose


Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

From Cloning Insulin to Engineering for Cell Therapy

Monday April 8, 6 - 7 PM
Wond'ry Room 044

Join the Wond'ry to welcome guest lecturer Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a pioneering scientist who helped discover how to synthesize insulin in the 1970s... and that was just the beginning.

Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff is a molecular biologist, executive, and diversity advocate. She is a consultant and speaker, founder of Intersections, SBD and founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Her storied career will be a message for all to see!


Sponsored by the Wond'ry

TEDxVanderbiltUniversity Speaker Application Open

Wednesday April 10


TEDxVanderbiltUniversity will celebrate its 5th year on Sunday, November 10th! Speaker Application. Questions? Contact Krystal Clark, Director of Student Leadership Development

Follow @tedxvandy on Twitter, @vandyleads on Instagram and @vuleads on Facebook for more information.


Sponsored by the Dean of Students

Prevention Procession and Survivor Speak Out

Thursday April 11, 8 PM
Student Life Center Board of Trust Room


The Prevention Procession is a time to bring awareness to sexual assault, as well as a chance to show solidarity with survivors of sexual violence. All survivors, as well as any supporters are welcome to join. After the procession portion, survivors will have the opportunity to share their experiences and the impact violence has had on their lives. This is intended to be a safe space for all and Project Safe Staff will be on hand to support anyone who may need it. Please consider bringing your friends and members of your organization to hold a sign, show support, and bring awareness to Sexual Assault Survivors. 




Sponsored by Project Safe

PhD Career Connections: Bioinformatics

Friday April 12, 10:00am
Light Hall 214


Featuring Akshata Udyavar, MS, PhD Senior Scientist Bioinformatics Arcus Biosciences, Inc.


Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows Securing and Maintaining Collaborations

Wednesday April 17th, 9 – 10 AM
Light Hall 411CD


A necessary skill for postdocs to have for career advancement is learning how to collaborate. In this session, a panel of faculty members will discuss ways to secure and maintain collaborations.


Co-sponsored by BRET Career Development Office and ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows.

Parenting Group: End of Year Lunch

Thursday April 18, Noon
Buttrick 123


End of the Year lunch for the Women’s Center Parenting Group.

 RSVP here

Sponsored by Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

Survival Guide for International Postdocs

Wednesday April 24, 12 - 1 PM
Alumni 206


Are you new to the US? Want to learn some tips on how to understand and work in the US university system? Need to work on your academic writing in English? This event will discuss some basics of the US university system and how things may differ from your home country. Carrie Cargile, a Language Teaching Specialist at the English Language Center, will also talk with you about some things that you may need to know about communicating in English but do not currently know to ask. And for further help, we will discuss how to utilize the programs and resources at the Vanderbilt University English Language Center.


RSVP by April 19


Sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

IMPACT Leadership Development Workshop

Friday April 26, 10 –  Noon
Kissam 216


IMPACT Faculty (and Postdoc!) Leadership Development Workshop: “Building Professional Relationships: Cultivating your Network of Mentors, Sponsors, Collaborators”

The mentoring relationship requires participation by both those mentoring and those needing mentorship. This session will focus on giving guidance to those seeking skills and strategies for engaging mentorship. Do you have a reliable and strong network of mentors? Are you struggling to cultivate mentoring relationships? Do you know the difference between a mentor and a sponsor? Are you moving to a new stage of your career and wondering how to find new mentors and sponsors that are appropriate to the next level? In this workshop, participants will examine their current mentoring network and engage in tangible strategies and skills for enhancing networking skills.


RSVP by April 17th


Sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence

ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows Writing Diversity and Teaching Statements

Wednesday, May 1, 9:00 AM
306 Light Hall


Co-Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development and the VPA

ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows Critical Conversations: Dealing with Conflict

Wednesday May 15, 9:00 AM
350 Light Hall


You may encounter difficult times in your postdoc term – sometimes this leads to conflict with your faculty supervisor or colleagues in the lab. In this session, we will talk about how to deal with these situations skillfully so that you can continue to work together and resolve the conflict. Avoidance is not the answer – conversation is key. Stacey Satchell, Graduate Life Coach, will share tips for working through discord in this interactive session.


Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

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.

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

Grad/Postdoc Writing Group

Thursdays 2-5 pm and Fridays 9-12 pm

1801 Edgehill, Suite 112


The Writing Studio offers writing groups for Graduate and Postdoc students throughout spring semester (with the exception of university holidays and breaks).  Much like our Writers Retreats, these writing group meetings are an opportunity for graduate students and postdocs to come and write alongside others in a quiet, supportive atmosphere. To sign up for these sessions, please visit the Writing Studio website and click the “Schedule an Appointment” link to access the online schedule. Thursdays and Fridays include the “Grad/Postdoc Writing Group” which allows up to eight people to schedule. Questions? Please contact Beth Estes


Writing groups will be closed on March 7-8, and final groups for Spring 2019 will be April 25-26.


Sponsored by the Writing Studio

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

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.

Faculty (and Postdoc) Writing Sessions

Fridays Monthly, 8:30 – 11 AM

Kissam MPR 210


The Office of Inclusive Excellence is hosting a series of Faculty Writing Sessions. The sessions are part of a community building initiative targeted towards 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, a brief welcome from the Inclusive Excellence Office, and writing advice from a senior faculty member before dedicated writing time (the main focus of these sessions).

Registration not required but appreciated.


Friday, February 1

Friday, March 1

Friday, April 5

Friday, May 3


Registration link:


Sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence

Office of Inclusive Excellence Webinars

Monthly, 12 – 1 PM
Sarratt 363


Wednesday, January, 30 | “How to Develop a Daily Writing Practice”

Thursday, February, 21|“How to Engage in Healthy Conflict”

Tuesday, March 26 | “Mastering Academic Time Management”

Monday, April, 15 | “Overcoming Academic Perfectionism”


Registration link:


Sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence

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.