Preparing for an Academic Career Short Course

Argonne’s Postdoctoral Program Office is pleased to host Dr. John Sowa, Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Biological Sciences at Governors State University, to teach a three-part short course on Preparing for an Academic Career. Dr. Sowa was here previously to deliver a workshop on Best Practices for an Academic Job Search and will go further in depth in this upcoming series.

This course will consist of three 2-hour sessions and will cover:

  • July 13th:        The job search –> where to look, types of institutions, the application process, phone interviews
  • August 10th:   From interview to faculty –> Interviewing, getting the job, getting started as a new professor
  • August 17th:   Succeeding in academics –> getting tenure, teaching well, service, grantsmanship

Each class will run from 11:00 AM  – 1:30 PM. Lunch will be provided.

Locations are:
July 13th:       Building 241, Room D172
August 10th:  Building 446 Auditorium
August 17th:  Building 241, Room D172

Please indicate the sessions you will be attending through the registration page.

About the speaker:

John%20SowaJohn Sowa is Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Biological Sciences at Governors State University. His research interests are in the areas of organic and organometallic chemistry, homogeneous catalysis, stereochemistry, sustainability and environmental chemistry. He edited the 20th volume of Catalysis of Organic Reactions, has published 35 peer-reviewed articles, and is co-inventor on 3 U.S. Patents. He is a member of the ACS, AAAS and Sigma Xi.

Prof. Sowa obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Manhattan College. His Ph.D. was obtained from Iowa State University with Prof. Robert J. Angelici and he was a postdoctoral associate with Profs. Paul G. Gassman and Kent R. Mann at the University of Minnesota. His previous appointments include: Professor of Chemistry at Seton Hall University, Associate Scientific Director at Gibraltar Laboratories, and Visiting Scientist at The Scripps Research Institute. Prof. Sowa was a participant in the original Academic Career Workshop developed by Prof. Pete Carr at the University of Minnesota. He has also served as panelist and a planning committee member for approximately a dozen Academic Career Workshops based on Carr’s original program.

Science Policy Trek to Washington DC

Argonne’s Postdoctoral Program Office is partnering with the University of Chicago Graduate Office and myCHOICE program to offer 2 postdocs an opportunity to visit Washington, DC from September 7-10th. Travel expenses will be supported by the Postdoctoral Program and the Argonne Leadership Institute. The objective of this trip is for postdocs and grad students to learn about careers in science policy and network with professionals in various governmental and non-governmental agencies.

A description of the trek and tentative agenda may be found at the MyCHOICE site.

In addition to the scheduled visits, there may be opportunities to meet with advisors and professionals in your area of interest. This opportunity was initiated and proposed by the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne. Please thank your officers!


1. Complete all fields in the application form
2. Email your CV and cover letter to with the subject line “DC Trek Application”
3. Address the following in your cover letter:
a. Your career goals related to science policy
b.  How the trek will further your career goals
c.  Any science policy experience


Tentative schedule of site visits

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
4:30 pm   — UChicago Office of Federal Relations, Pre-reception networking with State Department staff/alumni
5:00 pm   — UChicago Office of Federal Relations, Alumni reception

Thursday, September 8, 2016
9:00 am   — UChicago Federal Relations Staff
10:30 am — Association for Psychological Science
12:00 pm — Lunch
1:30 pm   — Environmental Protection Agency
3:30 pm   — Food and Drug Administration
5:00 pm   — Happy Hour with former and current Hill staffers

Friday, September 9, 2016
10:00 am — National Institutes of Health
11:30 am — American Association for the Advancement of Science
12:30 pm — Lunch
1:30 pm   — National Academies
3:00 pm   — National Science Foundation
5:00 pm   — Informal alumni gathering

Saturday, September 10, 2016
3:30 pm — Return flight to Chicago

Two-Part Career Skills Event: Job Seeker Skills for the Private Sector and the Scientific Approach to Investing


As reported in “Harnessing Postdoc STEM Talent to Strengthen Illinois’ Innovation Ecosystem,” October 2015 ISTC Catalyst Newsletter.

Where do postdocs go? Everywhere! It is important to be prepared to enter diverse career paths and be aware of opportunities that await you. To help get started, you’re invited to a special two part workshop presented by RA Capital and hosted by the Leadership Institute at Argonne National Lab. The workshops will cover job seeker strategies in the private sector and introduce you to RA Capital’s scientific approach to investing.

RA Capital Management is a crossover fund manager dedicated to evidence based investing in public and private healthcare and life science companies that are developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics. RA Capital researches high interest therapeutic areas and identifies all the relevant technologies on the market or in development, and uses this understanding of a competitive landscape to produce a vision of how the market will likely unfold, determine how companies are positioned to perform, and convey relevance of data to our investment team.

Target Audience: Postdoctoral researchers, Fellows, Graduate Students are welcome to attend. In addition, mentors and supervisors who seek to improve their skills in advising mentees in the job search and career exploration are invited to attend.

Event Information:

Date: Tuesday, April 19th

11:00 AM to Noon: Job Seeker Strategies in the Private Sector.

Noon to 12:30 PM: Lunch and Informal Networking

12:30 to 1:30 PM: Career Path to RA Capital Management

Location: Building 203 Auditorium

Please Register Here  to confirm your attendance. Attendees external to Argonne will be asked to complete a visitor request form to process site access.

For more information on this event, send inquiries to For more information about RA Capital Management visit

About the Speakers: Stephanie Moore, Director of Human Resources, RA Capital Management Stephanie Moore is the Director of Human Resources at RA Capital Management, a crossover fund manager dedicated to evidence based investing in healthcare and life science companies. Her responsibilities include talent assessment and acquisition as well as managing organizational growth and development. Prior to joining RA Capital, Stephanie led recruiting efforts at Aileron Therapeutics and was a Principal at J. Robert Scott Executive Search. She earned her Masters degree from the University of Rochester and Bachelors degree from Boise State University.

Agustín Mohedas, PhD, Associate, RA Capital Management Agustín Mohedas is an Associate at RA Capital Management, a crossover fund manager dedicated to evidence based investing in healthcare and life science companies. He conducts research and analysis of drugs and medical devices for diseases, including Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, and for capabilities such as antibiotics and vaccines. He holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from Harvard/MIT. In his graduate research, he developed small molecule compounds to treat the rare genetic disorder fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive.

Postdoc Skills Lunch: Writing Winning Proposals

Whether you are applying for an external grant, fellowship, or submitting a proposal to the LDRD program, communicating effectively is key to securing funding. Join us on February 17th as Dr. Fred Stafford, University of Chicago, will lead a workshop on writing winning proposals.

This workshop will help postdocs answer some fundamental questions about their research so you can better articulate:

  • What you want to do
  • Why it should be done
  • Why you should be the one to do it

We will cover fundamentals of writing, the meaning of excellence in research, giving and receiving feedback and a “think like a reviewer” exercise.

Participants will be provided the opportunity to sign up for future small group sessions focused on individuals actively writing proposals.

Date: Wednesday, February 17th

Time: Lunch at 11:45 AM; Program from Noon to 1:30 PM

Location: Building 446 Auditorium (Behind the APS)

Please reserve you seat through the Postdoc Program RSVP link.

In preparation for the workshop, please complete this brief exercise that asks you to consider the most important questions reviewers might ask. We will discuss the data during the “think like a reviewer” session of the workshop.

About the Speaker:

FredFred Stafford serves as a consultant for conceptualization and preparation of center-type, multi-disciplinary, multi-investigator, career development proposals, or graduate fellowship applications.

Fred came to the University of Chicago from the National Science Foundation where he spent 12 years as the founding program director for the Solid State Chemistry Program. A hallmark of this program is its cross-disciplinarity and collaborations. Prior to that, he spent 14 years on the chemistry faculty, and a member of the Materials Research Laboratory, of Northwestern University.

Fred received his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley, and his A.B. from Cornell University. The French government has accorded him the rank of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques. He has served as vice-chair of the board and chair of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Board for the Chicago Unit, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

Innovate with Lab-Corps!


The next Postdoctoral Career Exploration Lunch will provide a chance for postdocs to learn about entrepreneurship, innovation and how the Lab-Corps Program can help launch ideas and broaden your career outlook. Please join us for lunch, learning and networking!

Date: February 18th

Time: Lunch served at 11:45 AM; Program from 12:00-1:30 PM

Location: Building 203 Auditorium

Please confirm your attendance through Postdoc Event RSVP Page.


  1. David McCallum (Argonne Strategy and Innovation Office):                 Welcome and introduction to Argonne Lab-Corps/Chicago Innovation Exchange Collaboration
  2. Wolfgang Connell (Chicago Innovation Exchange): Lab-Corps training methodology and results
  3. Cathy Milostan (ES): Lab-Corps experience and Entrepreneurial Lead for SonicLQ: The Sonic Leak Quantifier
  4. Elina Kasman (XSD): Lab-Corps experience and Entrepreneurial Lead for Dynamic Aperture
  5. Panel Discussion featuring guest speakers and Diego Fazi (Argonne Strategy and Innovation Office, Postdoctoral Alumnus and 2015 Lab-Corps team Entrepreneurial Lead for Frequency Based-Demand Response) and Andrew Senesi (Postdoctoral Appointee, XSD, 2015 Lab-Corps team Entrepreneurial Lead)

About the Speakers:

WolfgangWolfgang Connell is the Assistant Director of Programming with the Chicago Innovation Exchange and a key collaborator with the Lab-Corps Program.


DiegoDiego Fazi is the Innovation Program Coordinator with the Office of Strategy and Innovation at Argonne. The Strategy and Innovation Office is tasked to find new ways for Argonne to attract clients and additional sources of revenue, commercialize lab-developed technology and ultimately benefit the U.S. society and economy. As a postdoctoral appointee, Diego served as the Entrepreneurial Lead for the team, Frequency-Based Demand Response in the 2015 Lab-Corps competition.

ElinaElina Kasman is an X-Ray Optics Fabrication Specialist at Argonne National Laboratory, where she is responsible for crystal optics fabrication activities of the Optics Group, primarily for use in the Advanced Photon Source. Elina has extensive industry experience in manufacturing and start-up environments and has co-founded and led an early Cleantech start-up.  Elina holds an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Elina served as the Entrepreneurial Lead for Dynamic Aperture in the 2015 Lab-Corps competition.

DavidDavid McCallum is a Business Capture Manager with the Strategy and Innovation Office at Argonne and serves as the Argonne Lab-Corps Program Manager.


CathyCathy Milostan is an Energy/Environmental Policy Scientist with the Energy Systems Division. Cathy served as the Entrepreneurial Lead for SonicLQ: The Sonic Leak Quantifier in the 2015 Lab-Corps competition. SonicLQ is a revolutionary technology that uses sound waves to both locate and quantify leakage of air through a buildings envelope.  SonicLQ combines the leakage quantification and all season testing capabilities of blower door testing with the leakage location and flexibility of building size capabilities of thermal imaging.

AndrewAndrew Senesi is a postdoctoral appointee in the X-ray Science Division, and completed his PhD in chemistry and nanotechnology at Northwestern University. His current research interests involve understanding the assembly of nanoparticles into hierarchical structures, and the use of X-ray scattering to characterize nanoscale systems. Andrew participated in the Lab-Corps pitch competition in 2015, working with a team to develop the next generation of energy efficient windows incorporating nanoparticle composite films, which would allow solar heat penetration into a building at during cold weather, but would reflect the heat as the ambient temperature increases. More recently, Andrew has worked with the UChicago CIE Innovation Fund as an IF Associate.