Skip to main content
Vanderbilt Background Photo

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.



An Evening with Terry Crews: Reframing Masculinity and Gender Equality

Monday Sept 9, 6:30-7:30 pm
Langford Auditorium


As part of the Chancellor’s Lecture Series 2019-2020 Terry Crews will be discussing his work in reframing masculinity and gender equality. Keynote and Q&A moderated by William H. Robinson, interim vice provost for strategic initiatives. Hosted by Interim Chancellor Susan R. Wente. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Non-ticketed and open to the public.


Sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor

ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows: Preparing a Faculty Application Package

Wednesday Sept 11, 2 pm
Light Hall 407


Please join our faculty panel as they share their tips and strategies for preparing a faculty position application package that will make you stand out in a positive way. They will share their perspective as a newly hired faculty member who has recently been on the job search and a full professor who has served on multiple search committees and has reviewed many application packages over his tenure at Vanderbilt. More information here.


Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Coffee Chat with Alumna Abby Olena, Ph.D.

Friday Sept 13, 9-10 am
350 Light Hall


If you have ever considered a career in science writing and communication, we encourage you to come visit with alumna, Abby Olena, Ph.D., over coffee to hear about her career as a science communicator.  Abby completed her PhD in Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University in 2015. During her PhD training, she was awarded a coveted AAAS Mass Media Fellowship where she spent the summer at the Chicago Tribune reporting and writing science, health, and environment stories.   She also served as an editorial intern with The Scientist writing science stories for online and print media, as well as managing the magazine’s Facebook and Twitter presence.

After completing her PhD, she went on to a science communication postdoctoral fellow in Science & Society at Duke University where she worked to help scientists gain the communication skills they need to share their work effectively with journalists, policymakers, and the public. Among other endeavors, she developed and taught “Communication for Scientists,” a semester-long, professional development course in communication for graduate students in the sciences.

Most recently, she has been working as a freelance science writer for the last three years from her home base in the Raleigh-Durham area.  You can read more about her and browse her writing and workshops at her personal website:

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Postdoc Appreciation Week Events

Building Stress Resilience
Monday Sept. 16 12-1 pm
Alumni 206

The Postdoc years are particularity demanding and challenging. By developing strong personal resilience skills, we can arm ourselves with the right strategies to respond to the pressures we face in our personal and professional lives. When we are equipped with a positive attitude, an enhanced skillset and a healthy lifestyle, we can build up our resilience, allowing us to turn challenges into success, increase our personal happiness and overall productivity. Presentation from Jim Kendall from the EAP. Lunch provided, please RSVP.


Professional Portraits for Postdocs
Wednesday Sept. 18
Loews Photo Studio

We have arranged a day with a Professional Photographer for postdocs to get professional portraits (headshots) taken.

Sign up now  - only 36 spots available. Please only sign up if you are certain that you can attend


Annual Postdoc Appreciation Picnic at Dragon Park
Thursday Sept. 19, 5-7 pm
Fannie Mae Dees Park

Bring your family and come celebrate the Postdoc community! We will have BBQ from Corky’s as well as lawn games and some fun things for kids! Please RSVP

Peabody Dean’s Diversity Lecture

Monday Sept 16, 12 pm
Wyatt Rotunda

Keynote and book signing with Dr. Arun Gandhi, socio-political activist, journalist, author, philanthropist, motivational speaker Arun Manilal Gandhi, the fifth grandson of the venerable “Mahatma” Gandhi, has propagated his grandfather’s principles of nonviolence (ahimsa) throughout his career as a socio-political activist, journalist, author, philanthropist and motivational speaker. Arun’s grandfather was foundational in teaching him the transformational power of channeling one’s anger into an agent for doing good. Arun espouses and promotes “being the change we wish to see in the world,” and challenges each of us to do the same. In recognizing and eliminating violence perpetrated mentally, verbally, and physically against ourselves and others, we too can plant seeds of peace and cultivate a life and global community enshrined in love.

The keynote lecture is a ticketed event and RSVP is required.  RSVP here. Free and open to the public

Sponsored by the Peabody Dean’s Office.

Crafting an Effective Teaching Statement

Monday Sept 16, 12:30-2 pm
CFT Classroom



In this workshop, we will address best practices for writing a teaching statement/philosophy for the academic job market. This workshop is open to Vanderbilt graduate students & Postdocs from across the disciplines who want to improve their teaching portfolio materials. All teaching experience levels are welcome. Open to Vanderbilt Graduate Students and Postdocs. Led by Chad Carpenter, CFT Graduate Teaching Fellow.


Sponsored by the Center for Teaching

ASPIRE Job Search Series: Preparing a Teaching Demo

Wednesday Sept 18, 2 pm
Light Hall 407

Presentation by Cynthia Brame, Ph.D. Asst. Dir. , Vanderbilt Center for Teaching. How do you put together an effective teaching demonstration for a job interview? How is it different from a research seminar and how can you link the two? Come learn about key considerations for developing this important piece of your interview portfolio. More information here.


Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

To Thine Own Self Be True: Advocating for Yourself at Work and in Life

Thursday Sept 19, 12-1 pm
Sarratt 216/220


Join the Women's Center for the first Work-Life Workshop of the 19-20 academic year! Presented by Diana Morris, Assistant Director, Student Accountablity, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity Lunch is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

Teaching 101

Monday Sept 23, 1-2:30 pm
CFT Classroom



Have you been thrust into an instructional role for which you feel unprepared? Are you a multi-semester teacher who wants a refresher on some of the basics? Regardless of your teaching experience, this workshop will provide practical, concrete guidance on the mechanics of teaching and classroom presence, with an eye towards small tweaks and adjustments that can have large impacts on classroom dynamics, student learning, and instructor confidence. By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • organize and structure class sessions to maximize student understanding.
  • describe and implement techniques to speak more confidently and present more effectively for student engagement.
  • design and put into practice classroom activities that increase authentic participation and meaningful conversations.


Led by Chelsea Yarborough, CFT Graduate Teaching Fellow. Open to Vanderbilt Graduate Students and Postdocs.


Sponsored by the Center for Teaching

#AcademicTwitter?: Building a Social Media Presence

Wednesday Sept 25, 12-1:30 pm
Buttrick 123

Panelists include: Erin Calipari, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology; Lisa Fazio, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Development; Beth Fox, Director of Social Media Strategy, Office of Strategic Communications; Nicole Joseph, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education

This program coordinated by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center and sponsored by the Graduate School offers Ph.D. students and postdocs a chance to reflect on the ways that gender affects their experience as they begin their professional journey in the academy.

Questions? Please contact Rory Dicker, Director, Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center (

Cosponsored by the Graduate School and the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows: Grant Resources at Vanderbilt

Wednesday Sept 25, 2 pm
Light Hall 350

Please join Abigail Brown Ph.D., BRET, Director, Outcomes Research to learn how Vanderbilt can help you write your grant: a focus on resources for writing career development or R grants. Will cover the many grant writing resources available to Vanderbilt researchers to help produce strong grant applications.


Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Critical Conversations

Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29 12-1 pm
Alumni 010 Conference Room


The Critical Conversations series covers discussion of topics important to your success as a supervisee and supervisor in your career. The sessions are led by Stacey Satchell, Graduate Life Coach. Lunch will be provided by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.


*It’s not necessary to attend the entire series, RSVP to the desired sessions individually

*To RSVP – click through the date on the calendar and select 12:00!


Aligning Expectations

Tuesday Oct. 8, 12-1 pm

Alumni Hall 010

            The most important conversation between supervisor/supervisee is the expectations talk – and it is a living breathing agreement that should be revisited, clarified, and changed over time. Clear specific expectations are the key to any academic relationship. This session will focus on discussing how best to talk to your supervisor about expectations, no matter where you are in your academic relationship. We will also discuss how to have the conversation AS the supervisor as you move into this role.



Addressing Conflict

Tuesday Oct. 15, 12-1 pm

Alumni Hall 010

            What happens when expectation are unclear, unmanaged, or not upheld? Conflict of some shape or form – whether voiced or just felt – can make academic relationships difficult if not openly hostile. This session will address options for addressing, managing, and attempting to resolve conflicts with supervisors, colleagues, and ultimately supervisees as you navigate your career in academia.



Giving, Receiving, and Responding to Conflict
Tuesday Oct 22, 12-1 pm

Alumni Hall 010

            Feedback and criticism are an inevitable part of the academic relationship. This session focuses on the messages that we receive from our supervisors and how we respond to that feedback. In addition, we will dive into how to give feedback to peers and supervisees in a way that is constructive and humane.



Time Management and the Perfectionist-Procrastination Cycle

Tuesday Oct 29, 12-1 pm

Alumni Hall 010

            “If I could only solve my time management problem!” But what is that isn’t actually the problem? Do you find it difficult to start or make progress on projects? Is it really that there isn’t enough time or could perfectionism and fear of failure be your real obstacle? In this session we will discuss the perfectionism-procrastination cycle and devise strategies to interrupt it.



Sponsored by the OPA, VPA, and Graduate Life Coach

ASPIRE Café for Postdoctoral Fellows: K Awards: Which One is Right for You?

Wednesday Oct 9, 2 pm
Light Hall 350


Please join Abigail Brown Ph.D., BRET Director of Outcomes Research, to learn the basics about the different types of K awards, from institutional (K12) to K99 awards


Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

3rd Annual March for Black Women in STEM

Saturday Oct 12, 10 am – Noon
Wyatt Center



            Join in Supporting Black Women in STEM

ASPIRE Job Search Series: Writing a Better Cover Letter

Wednesday Oct 30, 2 pm
Light Hall 407


Presented by Kate Stuart Assistant Director, BRET Office of Career Development. Learn cover letter basics such as general cover letter structure, what should be/should not be included, & what it means to tailor your letter to the position.  We will explore tips for polishing your cover letter, look at some examples of good and not-so-good cover letters, and discuss strategies for making your cover letter stand out.  If you dare (!), feel free to bring along your own cover letter, and accompanying job description, to share with the group.

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

Single Parent Group

12-1 PM
Buttrick 130

The Single Parent Group is an affinity group that offers support for single parents in the Vanderbilt community. Sessions allow participants to share information and build community with each other. Feel bring to bring your lunch!

Meetings this semester:

  • September 5
  • October 10
  • November 7
  • December 5

Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

Parenting Group

12-1 PM
Buttrick 123

The Parenting Group is a lunchtime program for the Vanderbilt community that addresses a range of topics, such as school choice, screen time, and gender socialization. Most meetings feature a guest who leads a discussion about a topic of interest to group members. Lunch is provided on a first-come basis.

Meetings this semester:

  • September 11 – Gender Socialization RSVP
  • October 3 – Kids and Social Media
  • November 21 – Books and Games for Kids
  • December 12 – Navigating School Choice

Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

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

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.