Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Image of Dr. Paola Cepeda. She is smiling and wearing glasses with a flower-patterned blazer.

Dr. Paola Cepeda is the Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a national leader and expert on issues related to the training and employment conditions of postdoctoral researchers, with specific focus on international scholars, postdoctoral policy, postdoc mentoring, and gender representation in science. Dr. Cepeda also has a strong record of designing successful career and professional development programs for postdoctoral researchers as well as mentor and advising training for their faculty supervisors.

Dr. Cepeda currently serves in the Postdoctoral Section Steering Committee of the Group on Research, Education and Training (GREAT) of the Association of American Medical Colleges. She has previously served as the International Officer of the National Postdoctoral Association and the Chair of the Committee on Gender Equity of the Linguistic Society of America. In these capacities, Dr. Cepeda leads the advancement of interventions and policies to retain and engage underrepresented identities in academia (in particular, women, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ scholars) and to educate international scientists about their career options in the United States.

Dr. Cepeda’s work has received funding from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. She is an inaugural Fellow of the Professional Development Hub (pd|hub), a project funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Dr. Cepeda has been recognized with the Linguistic Service Award by the Linguistic Society of America, the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by Stony Brook University, and the Drum Major Award by Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Cepeda holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stony Brook University and a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Andean Studies from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru.


P. Cépeda, A. Antonenko, M. Aronoff, R. Christensen, A. De Santo, J. Jaiswal, J. Y. Kim, M. Mayro, V. Miatto, & L. Repetti (2023). ‘Language in the United States’: An innovative learner-centered, asynchronous general-education course in linguistics. Language 99(2), e86-e107. DOI:10.1353/lan.2023.a900095

P. Cépeda & N. Chernets (2022). Setting up international Ph.D.s and postdocs for success. Inside Higher Ed, October 17. [opinion piece]

P. Cépeda, H. Kotek, K. Pabst, & K. Syrett (2021). Gender bias in linguistics textbooks. Has anything changed since Macaulay & Brice 1997? Language 97(4). DOI:10.1353/lan.2021.0061

P. Cépeda & S. Cyrino (2020). Putting objects in order: Asymmetrical relations in Spanish and Portuguese ditransitives. In Dative constructions in Romance and beyond, ed. by A. Pineda & J. Mateu, 97-116. Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI:10.5281/zenodo.3776539

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