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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.



RSVP, Workshops are limited to 15, with a waitlist


ASPIRE Cafe for Postdoctoral Fellows: Writing the Science of a Grant

Wednesday June 5, 9:00am
Light Hall 306A&B


Featuring C. Michael Stein, Professor of Medicine, Director of Fellowship Program, Division of Clinical Pharmacology

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Parenting Group

Thursday, June 13 12:00-1:00 PM
Buttrick 123



The Parenting Group offers parents a space to connect with and learn from other parents in the Vanderbilt community. Please RSVP


Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

Career Chat:  Q&A with AAAS Science & Technology Fellows

Thursday, June 13 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Alumni Hall Café area
RSVP Here:

Vanderbilt alumnus Joseph Rustick will share his personal experiences at the EPA as a AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Executive Branch fellow. Come learn about the opportunities, process, and outcomes provided by this storied program.  He will be joined by Teddy van Opstal, alumnus and current postdoc at Vanderbilt, who was recently selected as an AAAS Fellow.

This unique fellowship allows participants to learn about policymaking and implementation while contributing their knowledge and analytical skills to policymakers. The Fellowship is open to those with doctoral degrees in STEM and social science disciplines, and the application window for 2020 - 21 is open now. Learn more about the fellowships.

Dr. Joseph Rustick is currently an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow hosted by the EPA Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, Radiation Protection Division (RPD). As a fellow, Dr. Rustick has been working on an individual project involving the creation of a stakeholder decision support framework to help determine the informational and input needs of various stakeholder groups in response to a radiological dispersal incident. He is interested in developing a greater understanding of the role and influence of science within policy making in relation to risk assessment and stakeholder participation, and has been working with RPD staff as an observer related to regulation of transuranic waste disposal and emergency radiological response. Prior to this fellowship, Dr. Rustick served as a subject matter expert investigating retrieval technologies and methods, best practices, worker protections, and lessons learned from current and past exhumation campaigns of disposed radioactive waste. He received a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Vanderbilt University, and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Rensselaer.

Dr. Teddy van Opstal will begin his AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship this fall. He will be a Biotechnology Fellow at the Department of Defense as part of the Human Systems Directorate.  Dr. van Opstal completed his PhD in Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, an MSc in medical biotechnology from Wageningen University, and a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Virginia.

Sponsored by the Graduate School Career Center


Thursday, June 20 10:30–11:30 AM
Center for Student Wellbeing Meditation Room


Join us in the Center for Student Wellbeing for a 30-minute meditation practice. With practice, meditation helps to quiet the mind, build resiliency, reduce stress, and enhance attention - all of which contribute to better learning.  Meditation sessions are open to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students as well as faculty and staff. Please RSVP.

Sponsored by the Center for Student Wellbeing and the Student Care Network

Volunteer at Nashville Pride

June 22-23 10 AM – 9 PM
Public Square Park


Calling all Volunteers for Nashville Pride! Vanderbilt University is proud to announce its sponsorship of the 2019 Nashville Pride Festival on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23 at Public Square Park, in front of City Hall. We have 2 exciting ways for you to get involved. 

Sign up to volunteer at the Vanderbilt University booth. Vanderbilt University will have 2 booths this year at the festival (Athletics, and one for EDI, HR and LGBTQI Life).  We need volunteers to help cover shifts throughout the 2 day festival.  Hours of operation are 10am-9pm on Saturday, June 22 and 12noon-6pm on Sunday, June 23.  If you would like to volunteer, please send an email with your availability to Jay Bohanon.

For more information about the festival, go to the Nashville Pride Website.

You can get the latest information by downloading the Nashville Pride app on your smartphone:

Sponsored by VU Event Volunteers

Employer Info Session: McKinsey

Thursday, June 27 12:00-1:00pm
Light Hall 214


McKinsey brings together an outstanding group of colleagues from a wide variety of backgrounds to help leading organizations tackle their most complex challenges. We have long been a leader in strategic management and our work in healthcare is growing rapidly.

More than 40% of our consultants have advanced degrees in fields outside of business, and as our firm continues to grow and evolve, we are looking for more people like you – experts in their fields – to join our community. We hope you will consider starting your journey with us, so you can be at your best at McKinsey.

If you are interested in getting to know more about our work and who we are, we’d love to meet you on Thursday, June 27 for a lunch and learn session with two consultants from McKinsey.

Featuring alumna Laura Terry, PhD, and other employees of McKinsey
Registration here.


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

Do You Play Fair?

Friday, June 28 9 AM OR 1:30 PM
Engineering Science Building 044, 048



Postdocs and graduate students are invited to explore how unconscious bias may impede student success in STEMM fields. Fair Play raises awareness about stereotypes and other racial biases in academia, which can inadvertently influence judgments about the behavior toward others. More information here.


Sponsored by Vanderbilt School of Medicine Basic Sciences

Parenting Group

Thursday, July 18 12:00-1:00 PM
Buttrick 123


The Parenting Group offers parents a space to connect with and learn from other parents in the Vanderbilt community. Please RSVP


Sponsored by the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

Publishing: Choosing the Right Journal

Wednesday, July 24 12-1 PM
Alumni 201

RSVP by July 19


Trying to get your latest work published? Learn from some journal editors and successful publishers about what they look for in an article. At this event you’ll hear from Ray Blind, an assistant professor of Pharmacology and Biochemistry at VUMC editor of the Journal of Lipid Research, and others about some strategies for success including what journals look for when publishing articles and how to best prepare for submission. The panelists have significant experience and have served as editors and reviewers for a number of years. Please RSVP, lunch provided.


Sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association

Day of the Documents: Spend the Day Creating Your Academic Job Market Materials

Thursday Aug 15, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Heard Library Community Room


The Graduate School and Center for Teaching invite Vanderbilt graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to attend a day-long event to help participants prepare for the academic job market. A series of mini-workshops focusing on important job markets documents will be followed by time to draft these materials and/or to make edits to existing drafts. Participants will also be able to engage in one-on-one consultations to get immediate feedback on these documents. In addition, a panel of new Vanderbilt faculty fresh off the job market will occur during lunch to talk about their experiences on the job market and give helpful advice.

The Center for Teaching will provide mini-workshops covering how to write your teaching philosophy statement, diversity statement and teaching effectiveness document. The Graduate School will provide mini-workshops covering how to format your C.V. and write your cover letter and research statement. Continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided throughout the day. Please see below for event details and to register for some or all of the day.

Schedule of Events:

  • 8:30-9:00 am - Welcome; Light Continental Breakfast provided
  • 9:00-10:00 am - 3 Mini-workshops: Teaching Philosophy Statement; Diversity Statement; Teaching Effectiveness
  • 10:00-12:00 pm - Work time and Consultations on Documents
  • 12:00-1:30 pm - Panel of New Faculty to Share Their Experience on the Job Market; Lunch provided
  • 1:30-1:45 pm - Break
  • 1:45-2:30 pm - 2 Mini-workshops: C.V./Cover Letter; Research Statement
  • 2:30-4:30 pm - Work time and Consultations on Documents; Snacks provided

Open to Graduate Students and Postdocs

Space is limited! Please REGISTER HERE for some or all of the event.

Sponsored by the Center for Teaching and the Graduate School Career Development

Parenting Group

Thursday, Aug 15 12:00-1:00 PM
Buttrick 123



The Parenting Group offers parents a space to connect with and learn from other parents in the Vanderbilt community. Please RSVP


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

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

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.

Community Writing Sessions

Fridays, 8:30 – 11 AM
E. Bronson Ingram 1003


The Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence will host Community Writing Sessions approximately every-other Friday from 8:30-11:00am with quiet writing time, coffee, tea, and a light breakfast to support writing, research, and projects. For the summer, we will be in the Multipurpose Room 1003 in the new E. Bronson Ingram college—the entrance is the archway between Alumni Hall and Kirkland Hall, and through the door to the left.


Summer Fridays: 

May 17

June 7

June 21

July 12

August 2

August 16


RSVP appreciated:


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.