NPAW Recognizes Needs and Contributions of Postdocs Beyond Research


The third week of September is National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week (NPAW). This week celebrates the contributions of postdoctoral scholars to the research enterprise here and around the world. The efforts of postdocs were considered so important that the U.S. House of Representatives codified NPAW in House Resolution 1545, which passed in 2009. You can read the full text of the resolution, but in summary, the measure:

  1. supports the designation of “National Postdoc Appreciation Week”;
  2. recognizes the accomplishments and contributions postdocs make to relevant departments, institutions, fields, and communities around the United States and the world;
  3. recognizes the career development and other professional needs of postdocs in every field of study; and
  4. encourages the improvement of training and career opportunities in various research fields at all levels of training and stages of all research careers.

What contributions do our postdocs make to the Argonne community? In a word, many. Argonne postdocs volunteer for outreach activities, serve as mentors to middle school, high school and college students through the various Educational and Outreach Programs and Employee Resource Group efforts. They serve on committees and focus groups that aim to improve the way we work.

The Postdoctoral Society of Argonne (PSA) builds community through social and collegial activities. They help lead efforts to meet the third and fourth goals of HR 1545. They are active participants in the vibrant community of Employee Resource Group leaders. They keep the Postdoctoral Program Office and laboratory leadership informed of issues of greatest concern to the postdoc community. Their efforts to bring postdocs together are especially important this year, in the “new normal” we find ourselves.

What can we do to celebrate postdocs in the spirit of the original resolution that established NPAW? Acknowledge and express appreciation for their contributions to our research missions and beyond. Find ways to meet the career and professional development needs that are inherent in their positions. And finally, provide both the structural and moral support needed to help them get to the next stage of their promising careers.

The PSA is hosting two events this week to celebrate NPAW. The first is a career advice panel featuring Argonne postdoctoral alumni on Thursday, September 24th at 2:00 PM. The second is a special keynote address on Friday, September 25th at 12:30 PM, which will feature Stephen Streiffer, deputy director for Science and Technology, interim associate laboratory director for Photon Sciences, and director of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne. All postdocs are encouraged to join these events.

About Kristene Henne

Kristene “Tina” Henne is Argonne’s Postdoctoral Program Lead for the Argonne Leadership Institute. In this role, she facilitates the postdoc appointment process, postdoc career development, mentoring, advises the Postdoctoral Society of Argonne and serves as a navigator for postdoctoral issues.
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