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.

Postdocs Continue to Connect with Research Talks, Industry Networking, and Career Advice at the 2021 Virtual Postdoctoral Research and Career Symposium

The Postdoctoral Society of Argonne (PSA) held the Annual Postdoctoral Research and Career Symposium on November 4th and 5th, 2021.  This virtual event had a great turnout where 163 postdoctoral researchers from Argonne as well as from universities across the nation registered to attend the event.  Additionally, 56 postdoctoral researchers from 14 divisions presented their research via recorded presentations followed by live Q&A sessions on Teams. The symposium highlighted research performed at Argonne as well as at partnering institutions. The symposium also allowed participants to network with representatives from industry and research institutions, giving them the opportunity to understand different career paths and engage in long-lasting professional relationships.

Symposium Co-Chair Prajay Patel (Chemical Sciences and Engineering) opened the event, and the welcome remarks were given by Laboratory Deputy Director Stephen Streiffer. Streiffer highlighted the importance of postdoctoral researchers for enabling world class science at Argonne and encouraged postdocs to build networks, explore careers, and learn from the Argonne Alumni who participated in the symposium as company representatives and career panelists.

The announcement slide for the keynote presentation with Dr. Linda Horton.

Our Keynote Speaker this year was Dr. Linda Horton, the Associate Director of Science for Basic Energy Sciences in the Department of Energy Office of Science. Dr. Horton spoke about her career path and current work as the Associate Director of Science and featured some of her important mentors. She noted the wide expanse of resources available to current postdocs ranging from digitally accessible research articles to virtual conference attendance to facilitated networking. Dr. Horton also highlighted the many funding opportunities for Basic Energy Sciences currently available, as well as career opportunities for current postdocs interested in Department of Energy leadership.

Postdocs had the chance to interact and network with 13 different companies and national labs: Aramco Americas, Bruker Nano Science, Cerebras Systems, Corning Inc., General Motors, Hewlett Packard Labs, Honeywell-UOP, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Lam Research Corporation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Phillips 66, and Spectral Sciences Inc.There were three career panels featuring some Argonne alumni working in DOE/National Labs, “traditional” academia/industry R&D, and “nontraditional” PhD level science careers. The panels were:

DOE/National Lab Panel

  • Giselle Sandi, Deputy Division Director, Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Argonne National Lab
  • Ashley Head, Associate Scientist, Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Lab
  • Anibal Boscoboinik, Staff Scientist, Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Lab
  • Paulina Rychenkova, Business Development Executive, Argonne National Lab
  • Paul Albertus, previous Program Director, Advanced Research Programs Agency – Energy, US Department of Energy

Academia/Industry R&D Panel

  • Kiran Sasikumar, Researcher, Avant-garde Materials Simulation
  • Matt Smylie, Assistant Professor of Physics, Hofstra University
  • Sarah Phan-Budd, Associate Professor of Physics, Winona State University
  • Santanu Chaudhuri, Professor of Materials Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Badri Narayanan, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisville

Nontraditional Career Panel

  • Aaron Fluitt, Senior Manager, Initiative Development, Argonne National Lab
  • Aeraj Haque, Senior Patent Agent/Patent Law Clerk, Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Jenny Morber, Freelance Science Writer and Journalist
  • Joseph Barforoush, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Avium LLC
  • James Dolan, Science Communicator, King’s College, University of Cambridge
  • David Nackashi, Chief Executive Officer, Protochips


These panels focused on the differences in between academia and national lab environments, development strategies for current Argonne postdocs, the hiring process for academic institutions with an emphasis on researching the institution for academic job applications, as well as the necessity for an open mindset and short-term goals while traversing and planning the career path. All the panels discussed developing a high-quality professional network and how their network helped shaped their career paths, whether for asking for reference and recommendation letters or hearing about job positions via word-of-mouth. One of the key takeaway messages as stated by Nackashi during the nontraditional career panel was that “picking a career where I could surround myself with mentors and colleagues who constantly challenged my understanding of things was very important.”

Research presentations at the symposium gave participants the opportunity to showcase their research to a wider audience and provided an opportunity to practice valuable communication skills. Presentations were judged for overall appearance and quality, topic organization, and clarity. Additionally, the question answer (Q&A) component of presentation was evaluated based on the presenter’s expressed knowledgeability and communication skills. This year, six individuals were selected to receive awards for outstanding virtual presentations. The works also demonstrate the wide diversity of research conducted by Argonne postdocs and visiting postdocs/graduate students:

  • David Lenz (Mathematics and Computer Science Division) “Improving Scientific Data Analysis with Functional Approximations​”
  • Rakesh Krishnamoorthy Iyer (Energy Systems Division) “Vehicle-cycle and life-cycle analysis of Class 6 vocational trucks: Conventional, hybrid and electric​”
  • Ethan Kamphaus (Materials Science Division) “Site-Selective Atomic Layer Deposition On Rutile TiO2 Via Selective Hydration​”
  • Daniel Trainer (Nanoscience and Technology Division) “Manipulating topology in tailored artificial graphene nanoribbons​”
    Michael Ricketts (Environmental Science Division) “The Biofuel Crop Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Genot
  • ype x Environment Interactions and Soil Bacterial Community Associations​”
  • Lily Robertson (Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division) “Dimeric Redoxmersthat Self-Report Flow Battery State of Health”

The CrowdCompass app provided a landing point for Postdocs to interact with others’ virtual presentations and industry representatives.







The CrowdCompass app provided a landing point for Postdocs to interact with others’ virtual presentations and industry representatives.

After the closing remarks made by Symposium Co-Chair Pallavi Bobba (ES) and Deputy Director Stephen Streiffer, a trivia social hour took place where Carla Mann, Tony Montoya, and Lily Robertson received prizes for being the top scorers.

The Annual Postdoctoral Research and Career Symposium would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and participating companies.  Postdoc volunteers who served on the 2021 committee included: Pallavi Bobba (Energy Systems Division) and Prajay Patel (Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division), Symposium Co-chairs; Amanda Carr (Chemical Sciences and Engineering Divsion) and Saurabh Saxena (Applied Materials Division), Invited Speakers and Panels Co-Leads; Pubudu Walamasiri (Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division), Marketing and Publications Lead; Ganesh Tiwari (Accelerator Systems Division), Natalia Zuniga (Energy Systems Division), and Ahsan Ali (Data Science and Learning Division), Technical Programs Co-Leads; Jessica Lamb (Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division), and Mark Meijerink (Nanoscience and Technology Division), Companies Outreach and Networking Co-Leads; Sami Khairy (Mathematics and Computer Science Division) and Shishir Kumar (Energy Systems Division), Community Engagement Co-Leads. The Postdoctoral Society of Argonne issues a call for volunteers in the months leading up to the symposium starting in March/April. All postdocs interested in planning next year’s event are encouraged to contact their PSA officers.

Looking Back with Former Argonne Postdocs who Continued to Staff: Advice for Today’s Postdocs*


Top Row: Dr. Julie Carrera, Dr. Ahmet Uysal, Dr. Leighanne Gallington, Dr. Gregory Halder, Dr. Gina Magnotti. Middle Row: Dr. Stefan Wild, Dr. Alex Martinson, Dr. Giselle Sandi, Dr. Vineeth Gattu. Bottom Row: Dr. Yasaman Ghadar, Dr. Kamila Wiaderek, Dr. Lindsey Bleem, Dr. Kawtar Hafidi, Dr. Todd Munson.

This year, as part of our celebrations of National Postdoc Appreciation Week, the PSA prepared a video series featuring former Argonne postdocs reflecting on their experiences. You can watch the final version of these videos in the linked tweets, but we also wanted to provide a written summary of some common themes from all of the interviews as well.

The interviewees were asked to answer the following questions:

The most memorable experiences that people had varied from traveling for international conferences, to volunteering as a part of “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” day, to even going skydiving with their advisor! Overall, many responses echoed one common theme: working with excellent mentors and in interdisciplinary teams made their postdoctoral experience at Argonne memorable.

These former postdocs wanted to tell their past selves: take advantage of this unique time in your career – enjoy the dedicated time to develop your research, but also be flexible and get out of your comfort zone! Use the time to build both technical and leadership skills. For the former, avail yourself of LDRD funds and the impressive research facilities at Argonne. For the latter, network and build relationships in the lab, and consider developing your leadership skills by supervising summer students.

Advice for current postdocs had similar themes. These former postdocs highly recommended getting involved in the greater community at Argonne – scientific and otherwise. Get involved in committees, Employee Research Groups, and volunteer and outreach work. Take advantage of the unique and impressive resources and user facilities, such as the Advanced Photon Source, the Center for Nanoscale Materials, and the supercomputing facilities. And of course, enjoy this unique part of your career – a time where you have both the expertise and the freedom to really develop your voice and direction as a scientist.

Thank you to Dr. Julie Carrera, Dr. Gregory Halder, Dr. Alex Martinson, Dr. Lindsey Bleem, Dr. Giselle Sandi, Dr. Kamila Wiaderek, Dr. Vineeth Gattu, Dr. Kawtar Hafidi, Dr. Todd Munson, Dr. Leighanne Gallington, Dr. Ahmet Uysal, Dr. Yasaman Ghadar, Dr. Gina Magnotti, and Dr. Stefan Wild for taking the time to be interviewed for this series.

*Posted on behalf of the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne.

Postdoctoral Society of Argonne to Host NPAW Events to Celebrate Postdocs!


Did you know there are around 70,000 postdocs nationwide? Postdocs at Argonne and across the national celebrate postdocs annually during National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW)! Join the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne (PSA) as we host and share several events during NPAW 2021.

We encourage postdocs to attend a speech by our Executive Champion, Dr. Valerie Taylor Wednesday September 22nd at 11 AM Central. This past year, PSA became an Employee Resource Group (ERG), and our Executive Champion promotes our group. Check out the other ERGs here!

Join the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)!  Join 18,000 other postdocs to foster your career goals. It’s free! Sign up as an Argonne affiliate postdoc at https://www.nationalpostdoc.org/ and click on “Join” in the upper right corner. Those who join will be entered for a raffle prize for joining the NPA.

Postdoctoral Society of Argonne NPAW Events

Wednesday September 22nd 11 AM Central

PSA NPAW 2021 Keynote Speaker

Join PSA for a motivational speech from Dr. Valerie Taylor, director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division. Dr. Taylor has extensive experience in academia, national labs, and leadership. Bring your questions for a 20–30 min Q&A at the end of the speech! RSVP at https://forms.office.com/g/hj0kpDTpGz

Friday September 24th at 12 PM Central

The Versatile PhD: Exploring Diverse Career Paths

Join PSA during the Postdoctoral Appreciation Week on for an open panel discussion about diverse PhD career paths. Invited speakers from different backgrounds will join to discuss their career paths and share advice for postdoctoral researcher aiming to understand more about the versatility of the PhD degree.

Invited speakers:

Joe Grange, PhD – AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, USAID

Hal Finkel, PhD – Program Manager, Computer Science, ASCR at DOE

Azucena Rodriguez, PhD – Argonne Science Education and Outreach,

Lake Paul, PhD – Founder & President of BioAnalysis, LLC

RSVP at https://forms.office.com/g/eYieMF43k6

National Postdoctoral Association NPAW Events

Register for these events and more at https://www.nationalpostdoc.org/page/2021NPAW!