National Postdoc Appreciation Week 2022 Activities

Did you know there are around 70,000 postdocs nationwide? Postdocs at Argonne and across the nation celebrate National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW)! Join the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne (PSA) as we host and share several events during NPAW 2022.

This year we are excited to present the following events –

  • Monday (09/19):
    • 4:00PM-5:00 PM: The PSA present: “Services Available to Postdocs at ANL”
    • 5:00PM-6:00 PM: Personal professional development session (work on what you like! LinkedIn Learning course, research statements, CV etc.)
    • Both events will be hybrid: Microsoft teams and building 201 room 346 (sign-up sheet for in-person attendance)
  • Tuesday (09/20):
    • 2:00PM-3:00 PM: Career Panel: “Transitioning from PhD to Postdoc and From Postdoc to Staff Scientist”
      • Panelists: Argonne Staff Scientists
        Thomas Gage (CNM), Phay Ho (CSE), Zachary Hood (AMD), Tanwi Mallick (MCS), Mark Wolfman (XSD)
    • The event will be held virtually on Microsoft Teams
  • Wednesday (09/21):
    • 2:00PM-3:00 PM: First session of a pilot proposal writing workshop (organized by Tina Henne)
      • Fully booked, join the waiting list
  • Thursday (09/22):
    • 9:30AM-10:30 AM: “Immigration Services Overview” by Michelle Leisten, new IS Lead
      • Event will be held virtually on Microsoft Teams
  • Friday (09/23):
    • 12:30 PM-01:30 PM: PSA Forum on: “Challenges Adjusting to the Argonne Postdoc Role”
      • Open discussion on issues with understanding and meeting the expectations of being an Argonne postdoc/scholar

This year’s activities included professional headshot photo sessions from Argonne Creative Services. 4 session are running on 10:00am:12:00pm on 9/7, 9/9, 9/14 and 9/23. Places are fully booked, if you can’t make you session, please let us know we can try fill the space! Contact [email protected] to join the waiting list or cancel your booking.

Results of PSA Special Election

The Postdoctoral Society of Argonne is pleased to announce the results for the PSA Special Election for Vice President and Social Liaison, on behalf of the PSA Board. Congratulations to our newly elected officers-

  • Vice President: Joshua Christopher (ES)
  • Social Liaison: Claire Chang (CSE)

The elected officers will assume their respective roles immediately and serve until the next general elections in December 2022. Thanks to everyone who participate in these special elections, and we hope for your continued support in upcoming PSA activities.

Cast your vote for the PSA Special Election!

The voting has started for the Special PSA election for Vice President and Social Liaison. You can cast your link using this link ( until 6th of June, 11.45 PM. To prevent casting multiple votes you need to sign in with your organization, however, your information is not recorded. Thank you all in advance for participating in the election!

You can find the short bios of our candidates below.

Vice President

  • Progna Banerjee
    Progna Banerjee is currently a NST division-center postdoctoral appointee at Argonne National Laboratory, working on the experimental materials chemistry and physics aspects in high-throughout nanomaterial synthesis aided by AI/ML theory collaborations. She formed and lead the 2015-2017 Dean’s Graduate advisory sub-committee on mentoring at her doctoral institute UIUC, volunteered for panelist and judge services in several Universities and currently through the Argonne Educational outreach office. She was chosen as the TECHWOMEN mentor in 2019 and 2021 through the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and she advised female emerging tech leaders in STEM who were chosen from a global pool to participate in this program and advance as tech leaders. Her work in post-synthetic ion exchange induced design of emergent physicochemical properties in nanomaterials has garnered international recognition (2022 CAS Future Leaders) and numerous national (India, US) awards and fellowships throughout the years.
  • Sixbert P. Muhoza
    Sixbert Muhoza was born and raised in Rwanda. Obtained his BS in Chemistry at Belhaven University (Jackson, MS) and PhD in Materials Chemistry at Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC). Currently, a Postdoctoral Appointee at ANL and envisions using his ANL training to grow into a scientist who develops solutions to society’s most pressing challenges. Passionate about advancing green energy-related technologies and envisions empowering Rwandan STEM students and professionals to develop high-quality research, technologies, and products so to
    strengthen the manufacturing industry there. Likes sports, comedy, and booze.
  • Joshua Christopher
    I joined Argonne as a Postdoc in December of 2021, and have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at the various PSA events. I want to ensure that the PSA continues to provide the support you need during your time as a postdoc at Argonne, from providing a support group to new members of our community, to assisting with the transition to a career. My primary interests within PSA are to create networking and collaboration opportunities for you and ensure that the PSA supports your career development through workshops, seminars, and connections with employers. Lastly, a big concern I have heard from several postdocs is in the visa policies of Argonne. To remedy this, I would like to see Argonne extend its support to postdocs with applying for and obtaining the visas they need to visit their families abroad and re-enter the United States.
  • Pawan Chaugule
    I joined Argonne as a postdoc in January 2022. Prior to joining I graduated in December 2021 from Texas A&M University with a doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering. During my graduate studies, I have been a teaching assistant for a couple of years which has been an experience in responsibility and leadership. Whereas in my undergrad program, I had taken up positions of responsibility while organizing cultural and technical festivals. On joining Argonne, and getting in touch with the President and members of the PSA, I have attended a PSA Board meeting, an immigration help session, and social meets, and realized the ways in which PSA helps out postdocs all over the lab. Getting involved with the PSA members and other postdocs has been one of the most fun parts of my experience at Argonne. Hence, I intend to continue being involved and supporting the duties and activities of the group by nominating myself for the post of Vice President of the PSA. I intend to commit to the position by regularly attending the PSA meetings, contributing my time, ideas, and opinions to the ongoing tasks, helping the President and Secretary with their duties, and interacting with postdocs whenever I get the opportunity.

Social Liaison

  • Claire Chang
    I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Chemical Science and Engineering Division. My research focuses on fundamental mechanisms for solar energy conversion in photosynthesis and biohybrid complexes for solar driven fuel production. I received my PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of Illinois at Chicago, working on crosstalk between transmembrane proteins and inflammation-related diseases. As your social liaison, I will be dedicated to help our postdoctoral community navigate career and life choices. I will organize career networking events and bring in past postdocs to share their insight and experience. Also, it is important to improve communication skills, overcome language barriers, and encourage collaboration. Therefore, we will support each other through regular communication workshops and social gatherings. While I was an ORISE research fellow at the FDA, I was in a social committee and organized several events with 50-100 attendees. I am ready to bring my experience to serve the PSA.
  • Sydney Lavan
    Hi PSA Team! My name is Sydney Lavan. I am a postdoctoral appointee in the MSD/JCESR division under Dr. Justin Connell. I am excited about these openings/opportunities to join the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne. I am specifically interested in the Social Liaison position. I have a tremendous passion for science, and connecting/socializing with others. In my everyday life I take value in providing a space for others to be heard and seen. This has allowed me to develop phenomenal relationships throughout my entire life. I also was a student athlete growing up and played soccer in college as well. This has well-rounded me not just in the science community but personally as well. I have gained leadership skills, communication skills, time-management skills, team skills, social skills etc. This opportunity is of high interest to me and I would love to be a part of the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne Team!
  • Tyra Douglas
    My research as Postdoctoral Appointee in the X-ray Science Division focuses on developing methods to analyze high-temperature reaction kinetics at beamline 11-ID-C at the Advanced Photon Source. I received my Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Alabama, where I investigated connections between structural and electronic properties of inorganic compounds. During this time, I served as the President and Secretary of the Chemistry Graduate Student Organization and Vice President of the Student Chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. Experiences throughout my career have shown that proactive reach out to the community, and the provision of social support are vital for success in STEM. Currently, I am leading the Community Engagement Committee for the 2022 Postdoctoral Research and Career Symposium. As PSA Social Liaison, I would use the knowledge gained from these experiences to organize social events to foster community engagement among our diverse postdocs.

2022 Postdoc Symposium : Call for Volunteers

The Postdoctoral Society of Argonne (PSA) holds a Postdoctoral Symposium every year. The 2022 Symposium will be held in November. This is a great opportunity to share your research with your fellow postdocs, P.I.s, and representatives from companies, national labs, and universities. Helping the postdocs to grow their network and making new connections is one of our top priorities.

As one 2019 participant noted, “…thanks to a contact I made at the 2019 postdoc symposium, I was offered and accepted a job opportunity…I wanted to thank [the PSA] for organizing this event and providing an amazing opportunity for me and other postdocs to make good contacts and showcase our skills. It would have been very hard for me to make this contact through a different route.”

To make this event possible, we need your help. We need you to share your talent and energy as part of the symposium organizing committee.  You will enrich your leadership skills, meet like-minded people, make new connections and have an incredible amount of fun while doing it. The effort required would be a couple hours a month at most. Areas of participation are included but not limited to the following:

  1. Invited Speakers and Panel: set the theme for the career panel, identify and recruit panelists
  2. Marketing and Publications: advertising for the event e.g. making flyers, ads, preparing the symposium book etc.
  3. Technical Programs: organizing the poster event, collecting all the abstracts for poster, recruit poster judges
  4. Companies outreach and Networking: contacting individual companies, in coordination with the Postdoctoral Program Office
  5. Community Engagement: conduct post-symposium survey, summarize data to discuss with symposium committee, support on-the-day logistics
  6. Co-Chairs: assist Postdoctoral Program Office with post-symposium communications, including notes of appreciation to speakers and volunteers, communicate meeting notices, activity announcements, and meeting agenda via email.

All the members will work together to put on the symposium.

Please email the PSA ([email protected]) with ‘PSA Symposium’ in the subject if you would like to be part of this exciting event.

On behalf of the PSA Board

Postdoctoral Society of Argonne Announces 2022 Officers

The Postdoctoral Society of Argonne is pleased to announce the PSA officers for 2022. The PSA Officers and Board work closely the Postdoctoral Program Office and other leaders across the lab to support their mission to provide a supportive community, facilitate career development, and create a networking platform for postdocs at Argonne.

Congratulations to our 2022 Officers! Argonne postdocs and staff can learn more about the PSA through their intranet page (login required).

President, Kevin A. Brown

I am an Argonne Scholar (the inaugural Walter Massey Fellow) in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division. In this role, I investigate new networking technologies and designs for future supercomputers to solve emerging problems in AI and Climate Science. Prior to this, I received my Ph.D. in Mathematical and Computing Sciences from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan and completed my first postdoctoral appointment in the Leadership Computing Facility here at Argonne.

In graduate school, I was President of the Tokyo Tech International Students Association for 2 years, representing 1500+ international students from 70+ countries. While at Argonne, I served as co-chair of the 2020 Postdoctoral Symposium where I worked with postdocs from across many divisions to organize our first virtual symposium. As PSA President, I aim to use these and other experiences to further increase engagement and support within the postdoc community at Argonne.

Vice President, Bulut Tekgul

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Energy Systems Division, working on Computational Fluid Dynamics and Numerical Combustion. I am originally from Turkey and received my BSc and MS from Middle East Technical University. I have received my PhD from Aalto University, Finland in 2021, working on numerical modeling of dual-fuel combustion systems as well as novel model development efforts within our group. I have been always fascinated by using computers to solve real-life engineering problems, which is the reason why I chose to work on this field and that I enjoy what I do. Aalto University has a strong multi-cultural environment, so I have been exposed to different multi-cultural work and social environments, which I believe allowed me to gain new perspectives and be open to new ideas. Hopefully with the re-opening of the lab for on-site work soon, I am hoping to promote both social and career networking activities as the Vice President of PSA to make up for the time we all spent in our home offices.

Secretary, Amanda Carr

I am currently a Postdoctoral Appointee in the Heavy Elements and Separation Science group of the Chemical Science and Engineering Division at Argonne National Lab. I study graphene-based heavy elements separations with interfacial-specific synchrotron x-ray reflectivity and non-linear spectroscopy techniques. I received my PhD in Chemistry from Stony Brook University, NY in 2020 after working with Prof. Surita Bhatia and Prof. Matt Eisaman on x-ray and interfacial characterizations of graphene and other nanocomposites. My infrared reflection adsorption spectroscopy measurements on graphene-polymer laminar composites, the first of their kind, netted me a nomination for the Physical Electronics Conference’s Nottingham Prize where I finished as a finalist in 2020. In graduate school, I was actively involved in the graduate school student government, my department’s chemistry council, and a STEM outreach group devoted to teaching science to economically disadvantaged elementary students in my hometown. I graduated from the University of Rochester, NY in 2016 with a major in Chemistry with distinction and a minor in Women’s Studies. When not thinking about science, I like to cook, go for walks, and spend time with my wife and cat.

Liaison Officer, Ahsan Ali

I am currently a postdoc appointee in the Data Science and Learning Division at Argonne National Laboratory. My research focuses on developing machine learning (ML) frameworks to improve training efficiency and alleviate the burden of developing and managing ML pipelines for users. I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Nevada Reno, where I worked on developing autonomous machine learning frameworks for robust training and adaptive serving with efficient recourse utilization. I earned my MS and BS in Computer Science and Telecommunication Engineering from KOC University in Istanbul, Turkey, and FAST National University in Islamabad Pakistan, respectively. I have also worked at Nokia Bell Labs in Stuttgart, Germany, where I focused on identifying and mitigating the key bottlenecks of ML systems in Cloud and HPC that results in suboptimal performance for applications in production. I recently served as a technical program committee (TC) member for the 2021 Postdoctoral Research and Career Symposium. I have also served in similar positions during my graduate studies. As the PSA Social Liaison, I intend to use my multi-cultural background and experiences to positively contribute toward diversifying the postdoc community at ANL.