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:
- What was the most memorable part of your postdoc experience at Argonne?
- If you could go back in time, what would you tell your past self?
- What advice do you have for current postdocs at the lab?
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.