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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.



In spring semester 2018, the BRET Office of Career Development is offering the module Business and Management Principles for Scientists. It is ideal for trainees interested in:

1.       independent research careers in industry or academia (running a research lab in academia is often compared to owning a small business).

2.       scientific or management careers in academic core facilities or contract research organizations.

3.       any career outside the lab which requires business acumen!

The module will run Wednesdays from 8:00-10:00 a.m., January 17-April 18, 2018. The first few weeks of the module is interactive and didactic. In the second part of the module, participants will break into small teams to consult with the director of a VU Core Facility and develop a solution to a business or management challenge faced by the core. This project-based approach will give participants the opportunity to put course principles into practice.

Applications are open now! The deadline is December 4th. See the module website for more information.

Questions? Please contact Angela Zito.

Thursday, January 18, at 2:30 PM
214 Light Hall

The topic is Scientific Communications and Marketing, featuring Melissa Vaught, PhD, Science Editor at Medical Science & Computing, LLC, (MSC), contracted to the National Institutes of Health. Register here.

These events are sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development.

Thursday, January 18, 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Wilson Hall, 103

Are you a graduate student or postdoc with tax questions? Unsure of how your fellowship is taxed? Wondering about which tax credits and deductions should you can take advantage of this tax season? This event is for you!

Come and have your tax questions answered by CPAs Briana Mullenax and Cindy Anderson, senior managers of Lattimore, Black, Morgan, & Cain. They will address common tax filing issues for both domestic and international students. Sponsored by the Graduate School Career Development Office .

Please register here.

Friday, January 19th at 9:00 AM
419 Light Hall

Dr. Vaught will talk about social media as a resource for scientists in The Long Game: Finding meaning of social media in scientists’ lives.  You can register for this event here.

Event  sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development.

Wednesday, January 24, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
201 Alumni Hall

The office of postdoctoral affairs will offer a leadership-based lunchtime series this spring that will be kicked off by Dean Mark Wallace on Jan 24th. The session will focus on academic leadership roles, and the opportunities and challenges that accompany such roles. The session will be part biographical, describing lessons learned during one academic journey, and will also focus on strategies for leading effective academic teams. 

Other sessions will be held Feb 21st, March 21st and April 24th and will cover conflict resolution, leading by example - fostering an inclusive environment, and strategies for effective mentoring.

Please register here for the Jan 24th event.  Lunch provided.




Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 3:00 to 4:00 PM
Alumni Hall, 2nd floor.

Are you a humanist or social scientist in need of some career direction? Have you reflected on the skills you have? Or what values are meaningful to you in a workplace?Come learn about this new career planning & exploration tool for the Humanities & Social Sciences.

ImaginePhD is a free and confidential career exploration and planning tool for humanities and social science PhD students and postdocs designed to help bridge the knowledge gap between doctoral education and the realm of career possibilities. 

ImaginePhD provides a unique opportunity for you to:

  • Explore the many career paths available to PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Assess your skills, interests & values, and map those onto various career paths
  • Create an individual development plan (IDP): setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based goals that will help you advance in your graduate program and your career.
  • Define and measure your progress while preparing for a wide range of careers.
  • Contextualize your research and its intrinsic value beyond the academic realm.

Sponsored by the Graduate School Career Development Office.

To assist us in planning we request that you RSVP for this event.

Thursday, Janaury 25th, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM
419 Light Hall

Join Kathy Gould, Ph.D., Louise B. McGavock Professor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences as she shares tips and strategies for how to negotiate.

Sponsored by the BRET Office of Career Development

Monday, January 29th, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM
Alumni Hall

The Celebration of learning will be an exhibition of students as producers featuring posters, presentations, and performances by students from all over campus, sharing what they have learned, created, designed, and discovered. This event will serve as a picture of immersive student learning across the colleges and schools at Vanderbilt.

Sponsored by the Center for Teaching

Tuesday, January 30 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Sportsman's Grille

Come eat, drink, and socialize with your fellow postdocs!

Sponsored by the VPA and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Student Life 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

Thursdays 9:00 - 10:00 AM,
Center for Student Wellbeing

This workshop series 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 - 1/18: Perfectionism and the Impostor Syndrome
  • Week 2 - 1/25: Motivation and Mindset
  • Week 3 - 2/1: Performing Under Pressure
  • Week 4 - 2/8: Managing Conflict and Relationships
  • Week 5 - 2/15: Effective Goal Setting
  • Week 6 - 2/22: Fighting Procrastination/Increasing Efficiency
  • Week 7 - 3/1: Finding Work/Life Balance

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 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

Sponsored by thed 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 at, 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
Alumni Hall, Room 202

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:


  • January 16 & 30
  • February 13 & 27
  • March 13 & 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.

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