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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.

View OPA's archive of past events.



2018 BRET Annual Career Symposium - R3: Research and Research-Related Careers in Academia, Government, & Nonprofits

Friday, June 1, 2018, 9:00am-5:00pm
Student Life Center

Registration now open!

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development and the Training Grants in the Biomedical Sciences

Friday, June 1
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

The Society of Postdoctoral Scholars at the University of Kentucky is organizing its fourth annual Research Symposium. They are inviting our graduate students and postdocs to present their work in posters (both) or oral presentations (postdocs only), with cash prizes for best poster and presentation! For more information visit their website.

If you have registered to attend, please let us know at, we can try to organize some carpooling with other postdocs!

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

June 21st 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Wyatt Center 223

This interactive mini workshop focuses on exploring the benefits and barriers to intersectionality as a theoretical and analytical framework in education research. Through critical dialog participants can expect an environment to discuss race, gender, and socio-economic among other identities and how these identities can be marginalized by power structures.

Register here.

June 25th 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Alumni 201

Facilitator, Allison Elias, Owen School of Management.

You are a negotiator, whether or not you want to be.  Negotiations occur during formal meetings, but also they happen each day when building relationships or engaging in informal conversations.  Becoming a better negotiator is a useful skill to have regardless of job, industry, or life circumstances.  This session is designed to provide you with the tactics and strategies needed to approach negotiations with confidence.  You will leave this session with practical advice about preparing and conducting job negotiations as well as with greater insight into your own negotiation tendencies.

*Strict registration policy.  Deadline for registration: Monday, June 18th. Register here.

**Please note that if you sign up for this session, it is mandatory that you attend.  Please arrive on time.  We will be running a job offer simulation and each person will be assigned to a different role.  If you sign up and do not attend, you will negatively impact the learning of others.  Everyone else in the session will be aware of your absence.

About the facilitator: Dr. Allison Elias is a postdoctoral research scholar at the Owen Graduate School of Management.  Before attending graduate school, she worked to resolve interpersonal and community conflicts as a court-certified mediator, completing training as outlined by the Supreme Court of Virginia.  Her forthcoming book explores workplace conflict, the employment relationship, and social mobility.  She is currently conducting experimental research about negotiation outcomes and perceptions of negotiators.

Sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Tuesday, June 26, 4:00pm
202 Light Hall

Join the Vanderbilt University Advanced Degree Consulting Club and the BRET Office of Career Development for an Employer Informational Session featuring management consulting company BCG (Boston Consulting Group).

Registration strongly recommended.

BCG will provide an info session/Q&A specifically for postdocs and advanced degree candidates, then leave the rest of the evening for any interested students or postdocs to network to discuss careers, open opportunities, and beyond. The info session will feature BCG current consultants Peter Dewey and Glenn Newman as well as provide info on the BCG Summer Internship Program and their recruiting processes.

For more information, please contact Kate Stuart, Siwei He, or Aparna Shekar.

Co-sponsored by the Vanderbilt University Advanced Degree Consulting Club and the BRET Office of Career Development


Tuesday, June 26th, 5 to 7 PM Location to be determined.

Thursday, June 28th, 3-4pm
350 Light Hall

Join Vanderbilt's Corporate and Foundation Relations team from the Development and Alumni Relations office to learn how use a Vanderbilt resource, SPIN, to find funding for your endeavors. Learn how to establish your personal profile, do funding searches, set up saved searches to receive weekly updates, and use SPIN to manage your applications.  We will also (1) share other online resources available to you to identify and maximize your funding searches for federal, non-profit and corporate mechanisms, and (2) discuss best practices for private grant applications.

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development


July 16, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Alumni Hall, 201

This interactive workshop is designed to assist participants in considering how to enhance their teaching competency over the course of their post-doc. Participants will assess their current skills and create a tailored professional development plan to achieve their goals. The session will also address how to reflect teaching competence as a job candidate, in application materials, interview questions, and on-campus visits.

Led by Cynthia Brame, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching.

Lunch will be provided at 11:30. Register here.

Sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

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

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

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 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.


Summer dates: 

  • June 4, 12, 19, 26
  • July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

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

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 now for summer Sprint #2 which will meet virtually Wednesdays from 4:00p-5:30p via conference call beginning June 27.

Email Aimee Edgeworth to sign up for a sprint. Please include your general area of research and a draft title or your manuscript.

Sponsored by the Office of Clinical and Translational Scientist Development

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



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.