Postdoc Career Prep Seminar–Invention Disclosures and Your Career!

Submit invention disclosures to obtain patent applications, enhance your CV and open opportunities

The Postdoctoral Program and the Technology Commercialization & Partnership (TCP) division invite you to attend the next Invention Disclosure Lunch & Discussion for postdocs on Wednesday May, 16 at 11:45 AM in Building 446 Auditorium. Lunch will be provided.

Are you in the process of publishing your research? You think you don’t have time to pursue a patent?

Join us! Drs. Martyna Michalska (BIO) and Priscilla Antunez (TCP) will share their experiences navigating the process both at Argonne and industry (IBM TJ Watson Research Center).

Points to be discussed:

  • Critical steps before public disclosures
  • What are the benefits for you and Argonne?
  • How to include an invention disclosure in your CV
  • Invention disclosures in 5 slides

Set your calendars now. Prepare for the upcoming IP Symposium by joining us on at the next Invention Disclosure Lunch & Discussion for postdocs on Wednesday May, 16 at 11:45 in the Building 446 Auditorium. Graduate students and interested staff are welcome to attend.

Please RSVP by May 14th through the registration link.

For a preview of the Invention Disclosure Process and why it’s important, visit the Invention Disclosure site on Inside Argonne.

Postdoc Career Prep Lunch: Launching Your Career with LinkedIn

Which one are you?

We all know that part of a postdoc’s job is to get a job, right? How do you do that in today’s hectic world where so much of our interactions happen online?

A key first step is getting LinkedIn!

The Postdoctoral Program Office in the Argonne Leadership Institute is hosting a workshop on using LinkedIn to advance your career. Lunch will be provided.

This workshop will cover topics such as creating your personal brand, discovering your professional “you” and creating a profile that meets your goals. We’ll also talk about how to use LinkedIn strategically to make connections that could lead to your next career path.

Two of Argonne’s in-house experts on these topics will be our featured presenters. Justin Breaux, Digital Media and External Communications Specialist with the Communications and Public Affairs Division, and Harrell Townsend, Outreach Specialist with the Human Resource Services Talent Acquisition Team will guide you through creating a profile and advancing your network in an interactive session.

Date and Time: April 3rd, 11:00 – 2:00
Lunch will be provided at Noon.
Location: Building 240, Room 1416 (TCS Conference Center)

11:00 – Noon: Winning at LinkedIn with Justin Breaux
Noon – 12:30: Networking Lunch
12:30 – 1:30: Connecting to a Career with LinkedIn with Harrell Townsend
1:30 – 2:00: Profile “clinic” time. Participants can work on their profiles and get instant feedback.

Please register by Friday, March 30th at:


NPA Annual Meeting Supports Professional Development, Fosters Networking

Four Argonne Postdoctoral Researchers and Fellows attended the 2017 NPA Annual Conference, held in San Francisco, March 17-19. The NPA Annual Conference is the largest national conference and networking event dedicated to the postdoctoral community. Conference attendees – postdoctoral scholars, administrators, faculty, and representatives from disciplinary societies, industry, and corporations – are provided with the opportunity to gather and enhance their professional development and leadership skills.

Postdocs and Fellows interested in attending the 2018 NPA Annual Conference need to complete the Interest Survey by January 10th. Questions should be addressed to

What benefit do postdocs gain from attending the Annual Meeting? Read on! Attendees were asked why they wanted to attend the conference, what they gained from attending and what was their favorite part. (Some content edited for clarity and length).

Aaron Oaks (NE), Muge Acik (NST), Ying Li (LCF) and CK Kaligotla (GSS) at the 2017 NPA Annual Conference.

Aaron Oaks (NE, 2017 PSA Vice-President)

“I was originally interested in attending the NPA conference to meet postdocs from other institutions, learn what other postdoc societies were doing for their membership, and hear what the NPA leadership would recommend to attendees for career development. The highlights of the trip were probably the plenary talk on career navigation and the talk on exploring organizational culture. The talks themselves were good, but what was most interesting to me was what were essentially data dumps on the topics that I often just hear bits and pieces about. It was nice to have someone collect all the details and just make a digestible list of topics related to postdoc development like useful/transferable skills, personal qualities, and key points of organizational culture to consider when applying for permanent positions. Although it wasn’t really “presented” at the conference, learning that about the NPA Core Competencies list was definitely something I think all postdocs should know. That certainly helps me know which competencies I need to develop.”

Muge Acik (NST, Joseph Katz Named Fellow)

What were your reasons for wanting to go to the NPA conference? “I wanted to enhance my networking skills with a group of postdocs that were not from the same major. It is always easy to get connected with colleagues from the similar work environment, but networking with non-major colleagues may not be as easy as we think. The NPA meeting brought the opportunities to build connections with other women in science (STEM), to improve career connection skills particularly with non-scientists from industry, and to train personal skills for career development. The meeting also helped strengthen the communication skills that we mostly ignore to improve in our routine work life. One of the major focus was available onsite trainings for both academic and industry job applications in a diverse team environment. This meeting also provided networking with the resume builders, faculty members as well as industry affiliated scientists/engineers all over the world from both national and international institutions.”

What was the highlight of the trip for you? “Other than the postdoctoral fellowships at Argonne, there are various fellowship programs with mentorship and training opportunities focusing on specific career majors. For instance, for those who work in the areas of medical or biomedical for clinical research can apply fellowships supported by AACR (American Association for Cancer Research), which also encourage career development awards and grants for independent investigators. For biomedical professionals, the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) supported by the NIH offer grant writing programs, and mentorship with national workshops to engage postdocs into competent NIH grant success. The SciPhD certificate program makes academic scientists “business-ready” for professional positions, particularly in academia, government or industry. This program teaches leadership, networking, communication and negotiation skills, and project management for scientists as a part of their professional career development.”

What were the major take-aways that other postdocs should know about? “Building a CV or a resume can never be the [only] major goal for a postdoc to search for job opportunities. Networking is critical to get to know people who work in the area with better one-on-one interactions which is a key factor in order to understand the job opportunities out there. Interview skills can be developed by practicing in person activities which the postdocs need to spend time to reduce such skill gaps from their career plans. These skill gaps include improvement of effective communication skills by gaining experience from the career development events such as social activities in networking workshops. The postdocs need to spend extra time on their own personal development by saving some of their volunteer time for networking with professional societies at the local events. The postdocs need to improve their leadership skills by strengthening communication skills in order to facilitate a healthy career future, specifically for industry job environment, before getting out to start hunting jobs. Indeed, mentoring increases the faculty job opportunities for those postdocs who consider to pursue an academic career.”

Amy (Ying) Li (LCF)

“The main reason for me of wanting to go to the NPA meeting is to get more connection with the postdoctoral society outside of Argonne. I have been at UCLA for three months as a postdoctoral researcher in the year of 2016, where the postdoctoral community is a bit of different from a national lab setting. For example, as in a university, there might be activities/mixture with graduate students more than in a lab. For me, I feel it is important to acquire that information to help better navigate the research and life for postdocs from a higher perspective. I got to know Muge, Aaron, and CK from Argonne. I am happy to know them better, because we are often caught up with our busy life as a postdoctoral researcher. It is a good chance to have known colleges outside our division who does entirely irrelevant research of our own.

“The major takeaways vary for different postdocs. As a female and foreign named postdoc from Argonne, I have many viewpoints from which to reflect on the NPA. I learned that Argonne postdocs have more benefits, including health insurance, sick leave, holiday breaks, etc. compared to other places, which makes me appreciate the experience as a postdoc here more. As a postdoctoral researcher in a National Lab, we are often surrounded by intelligent people similar to us. However, this does not reflect overall society. We have to be mindful of differences in experience when communicating with family members, neighbors, or to any people encountered in daily life.

Postdocs are transitioning from a student to an independent researcher. The postdoc period can be very good, as you are funded to do what you are good at and not worrying about funding, resources. However, we need to let ourselves learn from mistakes and be proud of our accomplishments, regardless of our future career decisions.

CK Kaligotla (GSS, 2017 PSA Liaison Officer)

What were your reasons for wanting to go to the NPA conference? “To meet with postdoc association officers from other labs and universities, learn about their activities and experiences.
To learn about the most critical challenges faced by Postdocs in general, and actions being taken to mitigate them. Learn best practices or ideas of what we can do differently at the PSA.”

What was the highlight of the trip for you?”The Keynote speech by Peter Fiske– it was pretty eye opening. Dinners with  other postdocs / postdoc officers. A chance to learn more about their experiences and connect.”

What were the major take-aways that other postdocs should know about?
Most Postdocs share the same fears , challenges and also deal with it in very similar ways.
Postdocs need to network, a lot, to figure out available options and opportunities, especially outside of academia. Avoid being shut into you bubble.Learn to communicate your research and your skills effectively to a very general audience.

If there is one thing you learned that you’d like to see happen here, what would it be? “Increase interaction between postdocs and scientists at Argonne, across divisions and years, including alumni. A joint strategy and more regular touchpoints on options after the post-doc at Argonne – maybe not  a complete placement office, but a collection of best practices for CVs, interviews and companies Argonne Postdocs have placed in.”

Anything else you’d like to share? “It seems postdocs everywhere like to stay in their bubbles and don’t socialize outside of their regular lab groups.  Increasing regular interactions with new people will help improve networking skills, and we need to think of ways to do this at Argonne.”


The Next PSA Leader Could Be You!

Do you have what it takes to be a leader? See ten tips at


Do you know what December is best known for at Argonne?!? Holiday parties, the Lab shutdown, and… the Postdoc Society elections!

The Postdoctoral Society of Argonne is seeking candidates for office for 2018. If you’re thinking of running for a position, we ask that you give us a bio and candidate statement describing your intended plans for your position (nothing crazy long, just 2-4 sentences) by Noon on December 14 (candidate statements may be sent to Noah Van Dam at with “Candidate Statement” in the subject). The submitted statements will be made available to all postdocs with the official ballot on the 14th.

3:00 PM December 14, 2017. Building 203 Auditorium. There will be democracy and food available. Hope to see everyone there!

The final voting will be online and closed ballot. The link to vote will be emailed to all postdocs after the election meeting and official candidate announcements on December 14.

Position Descriptions:

President: The President shall preside over and set agendas for the monthly Board and quarterly General Assembly meetings. The President shall serve as the point of contact for Laboratory Management and organizations outside the Lab, and shall authorize Society activities. In addition, the President shall serve as the Policy Committee Chair, and shall recruit additional Committee members from the ranks of the Board and General Members as needed.

Vice President: The Vice President shall support all of the duties of the President and assume those duties, or those of the Secretary, in their temporary absence. The Vice President will summarize the activities and plans of the Society in a report to the General Assembly during the GA meetings. The report shall include completed business, ongoing business, and plans for the subsequent three months, with addenda as needed. In addition, the Vice President shall serve as the Career Committee Chair, and shall recruit additional Committee members from the ranks of the Board and General Members as needed.

Secretary: The Secretary shall communicate meeting notices (see Article IX), activity announcements, and meeting agendas via e-mail, and keep records of monthly Board and quarterly GA meetings. If the Secretary is absent from a meeting, an alternate must be identified. The Secretary shall distribute monthly newsletters outlining Society news and events. In addition, the Secretary shall serve as the Communication Committee Chair, and shall recruit additional Committee members from the ranks of the Board and General Members as needed.

Liaison: The Liaison shall serve as the point of contact for Lab Divisions and Units other than Lab Management, e.g., the Argonne Club. The Liaison shall also maintain the waiting list for Board seats (see Article IV, Section 1). In addition, the Liaison shall serve as the Social Committee Chair, and shall recruit additional Committee members from the ranks of the Board and General Members as needed.

*Postdoc Symposium Chairperson: The Symposium Chairperson shall organize and plan the annual PSA symposium and head the planning committee. The Chairperson shall decide, and have final say, over the guest list and theme of the event. Updates of the event planning shall be given to the board at all general meetings. The Chairperson is the main point of contact for related parties such as invited guests and caterers.

*Note that this is an unratified position but it was a great success this year and the Chairperson was able to pull off an amazing symposium by giving it her main focus and not balancing the role with other PSA duties.

Publishing Ethics and Integrity Workshop

Elsevier Publishing Campus Presents Publishing Ethics & Integrity

Sharing your research through publishing is essential to advancing your career. As an author you will have to make decisions about where, how and when to publish. Authors also have the responsibility to understand ethical boundaries and maintaining integrity in reporting your research findings.

This workshop will address several topics related to publishing ethics and integrity such as conflicts of interest, plagiarism, ownership of content, responding to and serving as peer reviewers and making decisions about where and when to publish your work.

Course Objectives: This course is a partnership with Elsevier Publishing Campus. Participants will gain an understanding of basic ethical standards and receive guidance on how to make sound decisions when faced with common challenges in sharing research findings.

Registration Information:

Date: November 28th
Time: 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Building 446 Auditorium
Refreshments will be served.

Please register at

Guest Speakers:

Dr. Harold H. Kung is Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University.  He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. His research interest focuses on heterogeneous catalysis, but includes energy materials, synthesis of nanostructured materials, global energy supply and consumption, and sustainability.  He is the author of “Transition Metal Oxides: Surface Chemistry and Catalysis,” (1989, Elsevier Science Publ.), co-inventor of 6 patents, an editor of 5 monographs, and has published over 270 journal articles in catalysis and energy storage.  A Fellow of AIChE and AAAS, his other recognition include the W.H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering (AIChE), Gabor A. Somorjai Award in Creative Research on Heterogeneous Catalysis (ACS), Ernest Thiele Award (AIChE Chicago section), Robert Burwell Lectureship and Paul H. Emmett Award of the North American Catalysis Society.  Presently, he is Editor-in-Chief of Applied Catalysis A: General.

Dr. Robert Weber is a Senior Scientist and the Sector Manager for Commercial Business in the Physical and Computational Science Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. His activities include research on heterogeneous catalysis for fuels and chemicals. Previously he was CTO of Sunrise Ridge Algae, a startup company that attempted to commercialize the production of fuel precursors from aquatic biomass. Before that, he was the director of the chemical engineering practice of TIAX, the successor to the technology and product development division of Arthur D. Little and a member of the chemical engineering faculties of the University of Delaware and of Yale University. At Yale he served for two years as an associate dean of the graduate school. Currently he serves as an associate editor of Energy & Fuels, as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Tianjin Engineering Center for Biomass Gas/Oil Technology and on the boards of directors of Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International and Palo Verde Ridge Scholarship Fund. He holds a BA from Cornell University and a PhD from Stanford University, both in physical chemistry.

Target Audience: This course is intended for Postdoctoral Researchers, Students, Early Career Staff, Postdoc and Staff Mentors and Principal Investigators. Anyone interested in the publishing ethics and publishing with integrity is welcome to attend.