The 16th Annual Postdoc Symposium  (Photo from 2019)

September 21, 2020 in the Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC) Location

The 16th Annual Postdoc Symposium was postponed to September 21 following university policy regarding COVID-19

Nominate Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award – Deadline Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Nominate Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor/Teacher Award – Deadline Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Register to attend the 16th Annual Postdoc Symposium
Registration closes 3:00 p.m. Friday, September 11, 2020

Balancing Career and Well-Being

The Postdoc Symposium is our annual opportunity to recognize the important contributions of postdocs to the university’s research and teaching mission. The 2020 Postdoc Symposium will focus on how to balance postdoctoral training, career planning and personal well-being. This annual event is sponsored by the WashU Postdoc Society, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

Keynote Speaker: Susanna Harris is CEO and Founder of PhD Balance

Susanna L. Harris, CEO and Founder of PhD Balance Bio

Susanna L. Harris
PhD Candidate Microbiology UNC at Chapel Hill
CEO and Founder of PhD Balance

Susanna L. Harris is a PhD student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where she studies how different types of bacteria stick to the roots of plants. Susanna started PhD Balance to empower academics during and after Grad School, with a special focus on supporting academics’ mental health. Susanna can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @SusannaLHarris while PhD Balance can be found at @PhD_Balance and at

PostDoctoral Talk: Building Communities to Support Yourself and Help Others Succeed

  • Postdocs walk into a new space as a beginner while carrying with them the weight of being a leader. They have to balance learning skills, integrating into a different environment, and mentoring others as they go – often, almost totally on their own. Many will become group leaders, charged with guiding the next generation of researchers. Through supporting themselves and others by opening discussions and building communities, these daunting tasks don’t have to be nearly as hard as they would be alone. This talk will focus on preparing for success by practicing active awareness of both self and others, as well as identifying common pitfalls of mental health challenges in academia.

Symposium Schedule

10:45 am          Registration Opens 2020 Postdoc Program Book

11:00 am          Career Forum Round table, EPNEC Great Rooms

12:00 pm          Lunch and afternoon registration 

12:45 pm          Welcome Remarks, EPNEC Auditorium

1:00 pm            Keynote Address, CEO and Founder of PhD Balance, Susan L. Harris

2:00 pm            Postdoc StoryTellers

3:10 pm            Faculty Mentor and Postdoc Mentor or Teacher Awards Presentation

3:30 pm            Closing Remarks

3:45 pm            Postdoc Resource Fair and Reception, EPNEC Great Rooms

5:00 pm            Symposium ends

Career Forum Round Table Information

This year the career forum will be a round table discussion format featuring panelists from a range of careers to discuss our theme on the importance of postdocs. Upon registration select attendance to this event and your topics of interest. Speakers confirmed so far are listed below, new speakers will be added as they are confirmed.

Our round table discussion panelists:

  • Bio Industry Pharma / Startup
    • James Sorrell, Assistant Director of Venture Development, Skandalaris Center
    • Kunal Rehani, PhD, Director of Marketing, PERCAYAI
  • Careers in Academia (non-faculty)
    • Jessica Hutchins, PhD, Director of Curriculum and Graduate Programs, DBBS
    • Thi Nguyen, PhD, Consultant
  • Careers in Teaching, Writing, Advocacy (Humanities)
    • TBA
  • Consulting
    • Oliver A. Prince, PhD, Research Analyst at Numerof & Associates
  • Journalism
    • Talia Olgiore, MS, The Record
  • Policy / Community Work (Humanities)
    • Mike Jones, PhD, Associate Director of Community Science, Race & Opportunity Lab, Brown School 
  • Postdoc to Faculty
    • Yao Chen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology, and Biomedical Engineering
    • Diana Parra Perez, PhD, Assistant Professor, Program in Physical Therapy, School of Medicine and Institute of Public Health

Resource Fair