ATLANTA—Georgia State University held its inaugural Postdoctoral Research Symposium on Sept. 23, a first-of-its-kind institutional event aimed at recognizing and celebrating the contributions of postdoctoral researchers to the university community.
The event offered a mix of traditional poster presentations, speeches and lightning talks, as well as an opportunity for postdocs to connect with each other and with students, faculty, staff and administration. A group of judges were also on hand to award prizes based on both posters and on the presentations given at the event. In all, about 85 people representing more than a dozen departments, centers and offices on campus were in attendance.
“When we put out the call, the community came. I’m happy we were able to do this and highlight the work of so many departments,” said postdoc Jordan Ross, co-chair of the Georgia State University Postdoctoral Association who helped orchestrate the event along with fellow co-chair and postdoc Matthew Kirchner. Says Kirchner, “We have some really good ideas for next year.”
In addition to the presentations from postdoctoral researchers, Dr. Jennifer Leavey, Assistant Dean for Faculty Mentoring at Georgia Tech’s College of Science and former faculty member at Georgia State, delivered a keynote that encouraged researchers to strive for a healthy work-life balance and to “bring their whole selves to their work.” She proved her point by sharing a music video she starred in with some fellow colleagues that merged her passion for science and her love of music.
Dr. Tim Denning, Georgia State’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development, wrapped up the event with some heartfelt comments to the crowd.
“I am so happy with the leadership not only of the Graduate School but of the Postdoctoral Association, and the faculty, staff and students for making this symposium a reality,” he said. “It starts with a culture and with getting people together to talk about research and be creative together. This is an important moment for the university, and I am so pleased that it’s the first of what’s likely to be many postdoctoral events to come.”
The symposium was a multidisciplinary effort made possible not only by the Postdoctoral Association but by support from the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at the Graduate School, the Neuroscience Institute, the Department of Chemistry, the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and the Department of Biology.