The 16th Annual Postdoc Symposium

Balancing Career and Well-Being

Virtually on September 21, 2020. With Career Panels September 22-25 and Resource Fair on Friday, September 25.

16th Annual Postdoc Symposium
Registration is closed email: with questions. 

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 year’s symposium was moved to coincide with National Postdoc Appreciation Week, Sept 21-25. This annual event is sponsored by the WashU Postdoc Society, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. (Photo from 2019)

2020 Faculty and Postdoctoral Mentor Awardees

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
CEO and Founder of PhD Balance

Susanna L Harris, PhD, believes in building communities through communication. As a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Susanna works in science marketing and engagement. Susanna founded PhD Balance to break the stigma around mental illness in higher education and create spaces where grad students can have open conversations around their most difficult challenges. She hosts and presents public speaking events about mental health, academic support, and science communication. Susanna can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @SusannaLHarris while PhD Balance can be found at @PhD_Balance and at PhD Balance

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

1:00 pm          Welcome and Opening Remarks

1:15 pm           Keynote Address, CEO and Founder of PhD Balance, Susanna L. Harris, PhD –

  • The keynote will be live streamed to our YouTube channel for postdocs outside of WashU

2:15 pm          Presentation of Outstanding Faculty Mentor and Postdoc Mentor or Teacher Awards 

2:30 pm           Break

3:00 pm         Postdoc StoryTellers – training provided by Campfire STL

      • David Alvarado, PhD, Department of Medicine – Gastroenterology, School of Medicine
      • Florence Flick, PhD, Dept of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, McKelvey School of Engineering
      • Nicole Leitner, PhD, Dept of Biology, School of Arts & Sciences
      • Sara Norton, PhD, Dept of Psychology, School of Arts & Sciences
      • Sarah Rosen, PhD, Department of Medicine – Infectious Disease, School of Medicine

4:30 pm         Social Hour with StoryTellers

Career Path Panels

This year the career path panels will be hosted via Zoom Tuesday through Friday from 12-1 pm. 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. The panels will be moderated by members of the WUPS Career Development subcommittee.

Our round table discussion panelists:

  • Careers in Academia – September 22, 12-1 pm
    • Jessica Hutchins, PhD, Director of Curriculum and Graduate Programs, DBBS
    • Thi Nguyen, PhD, Consultant
  • Bio Industry Pharma / Startup – September 23, 12-1 pm
    • Kunal Rehani, PhD, Director of Marketing, PERCAYAI
  • Postdoc to Faculty – September 24, 12-1 pm
    • 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
  • Journalism – September 25, 12-1 pm
    • Talia Olgiore, MS, The Record
Resource Fair

The Resource Fair features a variety of campus groups open to postdocs as well as offices with resources available to postdocs. Short videos from each group will be posted to a Box folder. Some resource groups and offices will be available for 1:1 or small group meetings on Friday.

Here are our partners for the 3rd Annual Postdoc Resource Fair:

If you would like to have a table at the resource fair, contact us.