Those who earn their Ph.D. say the achievement is a glorious moment in their lives. Mysterious to many, after obtaining this prestigious doctor title, many want to know what’s next? The next step is usually followed by an important and rather stressful training phase for young scientists, known as the postdoctoral (post-doc) period.
With Clemson University’s growing commitment to research development, Clemson employed 104 post-docs in the 2016-2017 academic year. Because not all laboratories have a post-doc, and with starting and ending dates of post-doc appointments varying, there is a need to connect new post-docs to their peers, so they can grow together and advance professionally during their time at Clemson. The Post-Doc Advisory Committee has been set up specifically for this purpose.
The committee includes Tonyia Stewart, asst. dir. graduate studies and post-doc affairs, Tia Dumas, asst. dean for professional development and inclusive excellence, Lesly Temesvari, interim associate dean for research, College of Science, Bryony Higgins, international services advisor, and Vera Chan, elected post-doc representative. The advisors meet monthly to address research needs and identify resources for current and future post-docs.
This month, the new Clemson University Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (CUOPA) was established. The office supports postdoctoral training and career development, builds community among postdoctoral scholars, serves as a resource to post-docs and to the Clemson community.
Although post-docs are independent researchers, peer support and mentoring are very essential to maximize research productivity, and to prepare them to enter a competitive career in science. Toward that end, the Clemson University Postdoctoral Association (CUPDA) was founded three years ago. The CUPDA is affiliated with the National Postdoctoral Association and is also a recognized organization by Clemson’s Graduate Student Government.
CUPDA works with the new CUOPA to connect and unify Clemson University’s population of postdoctoral scholars by facilitating friendships and exchanges between post-docs to improve their cultural and academic experience, along with sponsoring professional development activities.
The CUPDA organizes a number of events to foster career development and mentoring needs. Examples in the past year include sponsorships of a national lab symposium, a post-doc development workshop and the annual Postdoctoral Summer Seminar Series. In addition, social activities are organized such as bowling and board game nights, and other special events throughout the year.
In addition to professional and social events, the CUPDA also sponsors travel awards, which are available to post-docs at Clemson to help cover some of the cost of attending a conference to present. The Distinguished Post-Doc Award recognizes an exceptional post-doc at Clemson every year. The new monthly newsletter sent out to our post-docs will include fellowship and award opportunities to encourage post-docs to get the training and recognition required to advance their science careers, information about upcoming events and new opportunities for professional and personal development.
Meet some of Clemson’s post-docs and learn about their important research here.