National Postdoc Appreciation Week at Argonne Recap

The 2023 National Postdoc Appreciation Week (September 18th – 22nd ) was a huge success, special thanks to co-chairs (Jessica Jones and Barnali Chowdhury) and the whole planning committee, (Adarsha Balaji, Claire Wei-Ju Chang, Tyra Chenice Douglas, Mark Du, Rakesh Kamath, Pedro Mercado Lozano, Francesco Salucci, Kumar Neeraj, and Chuyuan Zheng).  This year’s celebration featured a range of engaging events, including favorites from years past and a couple of fresh entries. 

Planning committee members and leadership team at the “Lunch with Paul Kearns” event.  From left to right: Lee Zachos, Adarsha Balaji, Kumar Neeraj, Claire Wei-Ju Chang, Barnali Chowdhury, Paul Kearns, Jessica Jones, Tina Henne, and Rakesh Kamath.

Brian Van Acker exhibiting the drones and robots used at Argonne and showing footage of their different applications to Mustafa Unal, Jessica Jones, Paul Kearns, and Lee Zachos.

The week started with an event where postdocs came together and had an informal lunch with laboratory director Paul Kearns.  This gave postdocs a chance to chat with laboratory leadership and share their research with an eager Paul Kearns. Through a concurrent “Technology Showcase”, postdocs (and the entire lab community) also got exposure to some of the amazing robotics used around the lab, including drones that have been used to improve safety through surveying roofs and high-voltage supplies. Postdocs were able to handle and pose with some of the drones, which was a very fun experience.  

Paul Kearns sitting down to lunch with a group of postdocs.

Brian Van Acker exhibiting the drones and robots used at Argonne and showing footage of their different applications.  Foreground: Paul Kearns deep in discussion with a group of postdocs.

Paul Kearns interacting with a group of postdocs over lunch.

Jessica Jones and Barnali Chowdhury posing with drones.

On Tuesday, Sept 19th,  a two-day site-wide scavenger hunt was organized for postdocs to discover the “hidden gems” on the Argonne site with current and historical significance. An interlaboratory elevator pitch competition, organized on Wednesday, saw many postdocs from ANL, ORNL and LANL join in to cheer for their fellow postdocs. This event has been highlighted in a different blogpost. See detail here. About 40 postdocs were also given an opportunity to get their professional headshots taken on Tuesday and Wednesday.  


Pedro Mercado Lozano asking questions to the early career staff panelists Aleena Rafique, Alex Grannan, Ana Suzana, Ashley Bielinski, David Lenz with Chuyuan Zheng (far right) mediating the discussion.

(In-person and virtual) Room full of postdocs discussing their immigration/visa queries with Michelle Leisten.

The immigration panel was held by Michelle Leisten on Friday (Sept 23rd), the immigration services lead at Argonne and proved to be very informative for the postdocs interested in visa transitions and immigration opportunities. The week concluded with a picnic at Argonne Park, where families could attend together. This brought postdocs from divisions across the lab together to network and allowed for some much-needed decompression time.  Multiple postdocs brought their partners and children, and it added dimension outside of the working environment for postdocs to see each other as more than just scientists.    

Picnic pavilion full of postdocs enjoying interacting outside of work at Argonne Park.

Children that were brought to the postdoc picnic running in the grass while parents watched on.

Sixbert Muhoza enjoying the picnic.

Postdocs laughing at toddler antics. Our (Toddler) engagement officer, JacJac Jones, busy engaging postdocs and bringing a smile on their faces after a long week of research

Postdocs enjoying conversation.

Overall, this year’s National Postdoc Appreciation Week activities were a success and brought postdocs from around the lab together in a variety of ways.   

This entry was posted in Events. Bookmark the permalink.