Vanderbilt Graduate School Background Image

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.



Tuesday, April 17th and Wednesday, April 18th, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Meharry Medical College, Cal turner Center for Student Education
1005 Dr. DB Todd Jr. Blvd, Nashville, 37208

Learn full details here.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs has contracted VU Creative Services to provide headshots to the first 36 Postdocs that sign-up at no cost to the postdoc.

Signup required and will be posted early April.

Wednesday, April 18th, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
201 Alumni Hall

Join the discussion with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Alyssa Hasty, the Associate Dean for Faculty Development in the Basic Sciences in the School of Medicine.  The Leadership Lunch Series is open to all postdocs.

Sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Register Here

Thursday, April 19, 2018, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM
350 Light Hall

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

Thursday, May 10, 2018
350 Light Hall

Have you ever heard of an informational interview?  Come learn about one the most powerful, yet underutilized, networking tools available to you.  Find out what an informational interview entails, how to set one up, what questions you should be asking, and how this type of activity can help you explore career options while also growing your professional network.  (Led by Ashley Brady)

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Thursday, May 24, 2018
350 Light Hall

Maureen Gannon, Ph.D., Professor, Deptartments of Medicine, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University

You will learn to recognize Imposter Syndrome in yourself and others and how to deal with this issue. Impostor syndrome describes people who are unable to internalize their accomplishments despite external evidence of their competence. Impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achievers. Those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Instead success is dismissed as luck, timing, quotas, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. 

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Thursday, June 14, 2018
306 Light Hall

Oral presentations are a critical part of the scientific enterprise. The ability to deliver an effective and clear scientific talk is thus a critical career skill, yet many people struggle with preparing and delivering an on-point and engaging presentation. In this session, William Tansey, Ph.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and Professor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology will present a five-step method for preparing a scientific talk. I will discuss how to structure a presentation, how to design clear and compelling slides, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to capture—and keep—the attention of an audience. 

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

Thursdays 12:00 - 1:00 PM,
Law School:  Bass, Berry & Sims Room (2nd floor)

This workshop series, led by David Sacks, PhD, HSP, is designed to promote expert performance by exploring common issues impacting graduate and professional students and postdoctoral scholars. 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.

Topics and Dates:

  • Week 1 - 3/15: Perfectionism and the Impostor Syndrome
  • Week 2 - 3/22: Motivation and Mindset
  • Week 3 - 3/29: Performing Under Pressure
  • Week 4 - 4/5: Managing Conflict and Relationships
  • Week 5 - 4/12: Effective Goal Setting
  • Week 6 - 4/18*: Fighting Procrastination/Increasing Efficiency and Finding Work/Life Balance

* Week 6 has been moved to Wednesday, April 18th.

This is an open group, so no sign-up is necessary. Simply drop by to any session of interest to you. For more information: e-mail David Sacks or call (615) 322-2571.

Offered by the Psychological and Counseling Center, in conjunction with the Graduate School

The Vanderbilt Bar Association will be providing pizza at these sessions.



Sessions held from noon to 2:00 PM in Alumni Hall 010
Register here.

The Academic Writing Workshop Series covers writing topics especially relevant to international students and scholars.  Each session will include discussion, practice, and analysis of participant writing.  Snacks will be provided.  Workshops are FREE, but limited to 12 participants, so reserve your spot now.

  • Feb 2:  Avoiding the Pitfalls of E-mail Communication
  • Feb 9:  Enhancing your Academic Vocabulary
  • Feb 16:  Improving Writing Clarity and Flow
  • Feb 23:  Strengthening Paraphrasing/Quoting/Summarizing Skills
  • March 16:  Writing a Literature Review
  • March 23:  The Language of Effective Data Commentaries
  • March 30:  Editing and Responding to Feedback on your Writing


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

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.

  • Thursday afternoon sessions begin on January 11th
  • Friday morning sessions begin on January 12th

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 at

Tuesdays, 8:30 to 10:30 AM
LOCATION CHANGE:  2525 West End Avenue, 6th floor EPC Conference Room

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.



Upcoming dates are:

  • March 27
  • April 10 & 24

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.

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

Questions?  Contact Rory Dicker.

Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center

Second Mondays, Noon to 1:00 PM at the Center for Teaching (1115 19th Ave S)

Fourth Thursdays, Noon to 1:00 PM at The Women's Center Conferece Room

Questions?  Contact Rory Dicker.

Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center

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