"The mission of the UVM Postdoctoral Association (UVM PDA) is to facilitate professional development, broaden the training experience, and foster a vibrant, open, and collaborative community for all Postdoctoral Scholars at UVM."
The unprecedented and tremendous impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives and livelihoods of so many around the world. From across the globe to here in Vermont, academic research is also likely to be permanently impacted by current events. In the face of COVID-19 — the uncertainty, stress, and unfathomable tragedy for many — the UVM community has stood strong and accepted the challenges that we have been presented with.
The difficult decision to cease all nonessential research activities on UVM's campus has deeply impacted postdoctoral scholars, but has also led UVM postdocs to explore new avenues of research, analysis, grant writing, and professional development as they work from home. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all — and UVM postdocs have used this time to the utmost to further their careers and research throughout this tumultuous period.
Second Biannual Survey
The UVM PDA has continued to hold regular virtual socials, monthly meetings, and discussions with UVM leadership to address concerns and questions from the trainee community. To use this time "away from the bench" as effectively as possible, the PDA and the UVM Office of Institutional Research successfully administered our second biannual Institutional Postdoc Survey.
This survey provides the PDA and UVM leadership with vital feedback regarding the postdoc experience at UVM, and allows us to craft our professional development activities and policy initiatives to the needs of our group. Continued improvement of the postdoctoral experience at UVM stands to not only improve satisfaction and research productivity, but also to make UVM a more attractive place for postdocs to train and do research in the future.
New Executive Committee
Thanks to our institutional access to virtual tools, the UVM PDA was able to hold its annual election for the executive committee, and right on schedule! We are very excited to announce some changes to our group: Brandon Bensel and Michelle Kloc will serve as co-chairs; Kirsten Tracy as secretary; Shana Adise as webmaster; Friederike Uhlig as Treasurer; and Nick Farina will serve as our postdoc-at-large.
The new PDA executive committee will face the challenges of our collective "new normal" in the coming fiscal year as we prepare to deal with the lasting consequences of the pandemic lockdown, both on the University and our individual research projects. This accomplished group is up to the task of leadership within our vital research trainee community, and are all the more motivated by this year’s events to push the PDA mission forward.
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Although our scheduled spring and summer professional development events were postponed, we look forward to roaring back into a strong professional development program once we are able.