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Dr. Tanya Paes, Purdue postdoctoral researcher Pictured: Dr. Tanya Paes, Purdue postdoctoral researcher

April 26, 2022

Dr. Tanya Paes wins NPA Impact Fellowship, leads 'Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academia and Beyond Postdoc Workshop Series’ for Purdue Postdocs

Postdoctoral scholars engage in research-focused training after completing their Ph.D. and prior to the start of their careers, making professional development and career planning essential during this transitional period. However, international postdocs, and those from diverse backgrounds, often face challenges when seeking out career-centric resources and professional development opportunities, like visa status concerns and cultural workplace adaptation. Luckily, Purdue postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Tanya Paes, developed a workshops series that will help her address this very issue and help support the professional development of all postdocs.

There are over 500 postdoctoral scholars at Purdue who train in research to prepare for careers in industry, government, nonprofits, and academia. Approximately 90% of the Purdue postdocs are international.

Dr. Paes, in partnership with the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) and the Purdue Postdoc Office, is leading a ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for Academia and Beyond Postdoc Workshop Series’ to help Purdue’s postdocs prepare for the job market and thrive in America’s dynamic cultural landscape. Her workshops will be offered alongside the 25+ postdoc professional development workshops currently offered by the Purdue Postdoc Office, as well as their grant writing support and online career development resources.

Dr. Paes’ motivation for the workshop series stemmed from her personal career development journey. In her experience, diversity, equity, and inclusion topics in the United States have not addressed the breadth of DEI and communicating it to an international audience: “I resonate with DEI, but I had trouble seeing the breadth that exists within it, and actionable efforts that can be undertaken to support these concepts in postdocs’ research and teaching commitments”, said Dr. Paes.  

Dr. Paes’ passion for DEI and career development was recognized in September 2021 when she was awarded an inaugural NPA IMPACT Fellowship as one of six awardees out of over seventy applicants. The IMPACT Fellowship, which stands for inclusivity, mentoring, peers, awareness, connection, and transition, is a program that provides cohort-based skill development with accountability groups and career opportunities discussion along with support for fellows to lead DEI initiatives in their communities. The ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academia and Beyond Postdoc Workshop Series’ is Dr. Paes’ DEI program that was supported by her IMPACT Fellowship.

The workshop series encompasses the input and needs of various postdoctoral scholars. “The core goals are to provide professional development to postdocs at Purdue that complement existing ones from the Postdoc Office while addressing gaps based on my own postdoc experience”, said Dr. Paes. These needs consist of DEI-related information for academic and industry workplace preparation, development of transferable skills and knowledge of career diversity, as well as wellbeing for postdocs to enjoy their postdoctoral training experience.

Specific workshops in this series will include postdoc alumni career panels; a DEI information session hosted by Dr. Chris Munt in the Purdue Office of Inclusive Excellence; an Equity-based Transferrable Skills session by Dr. Don Gillian-Daniel (U. Wisconsin Madison) an Intercultural Communication and Teambuilding session hosted by Dr. Sina Safayi at Rush University; an allyship session led by Dr. Byron Stewart at Northwestern University; and Building Mentoring Relationships session by Dr. Chiara Bertipaglia at  Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute for Mind Brain and Behavior. 

Dr. Paes said she recognizes that “…each person can take away information to apply to their own career because the workshops cater to a wide range of postdocs – not a specific group.”

Through the ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Academia and Beyond Postdoc Workshop Series’ the Purdue postdoc community will strengthen its resources and prepare for future career successes. Purdue postdoctoral scholars and senior graduate students are encouraged to participate in the seven-session series, which will be held from April to June. Additional workshops and events for postdoc professional development are offered by the Purdue Postdoc Office in conjunction with the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development.

 

Writer: Dr. Lisa Nielsen

Source: Dr. Tanya Paes

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