Postdocs are a significant portion of Berkeley Lab’s workforce, and the same is true at the ALS, where 42 postdocs are currently employed by or receiving a stipend from the ALS. To provide a forum and resources for this large contingent at the Lab, The Berkeley Lab Postdoc Association (BLPA) was recently established by a small group of postdocs, including ALS postdoc Greg Su and MSD/ALS postdocs Robert Streubel and Antoine Wojdyla. The association’s primary goal is to enrich postdocs’ scientific careers through social and professional events, advocate for postdocs and provide peer support, and partner with Lab senior management and human resources to help address postdoc concerns.
“There’s a postdoc association on [the UC Berkeley] campus, but we felt it was important to have one on site specifically for Berkeley Lab postdocs,” says Antoine Wojdyla, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for X-Ray Optics (CXRO). “There are so many issues that postdocs face, from housing to career development to management support, that we felt like it would be beneficial to have an official group that could engage and advocate for them and bring young scientists on the hill together.”
The BLPA held its kickoff event in March, a social mixer that drew 100 early career researchers. Since then, they’ve elected a board and held monthly meetings, numerous social events, and career workshops.
In honor of the upcoming annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week, BLPA has planned a number of events, including a joint ALS/Molecular Foundry postdoc “science slam” on September 20. Food will be served, and postdocs across divisions will have a chance to meet. During the science slam, selected postdocs will present their research in a three-minute talk. More information about the event can be found on BLPA’s website.
BLPA plans to regularly provide postdocs with professional development and networking opportunities, social events, and public outreach for promoting STEM, creating a growing network of association alumni, and strengthening ties with UC Berkeley and local and national postdoc associations. BLPA is part of the National Postdoctoral Association. Check out their upcoming events and learn more about the group at postdoc.lbl.gov.
Starting next month, ALSNews will feature a monthly “Postdoc Profile” that sheds light on our ALS postdocs and their research.