/////UAMS Postdoctoral Society Offers Support, Collaborative Network
UAMS Postdoctoral Society Offers Support, Collaborative Network 2018-01-05T09:16:51+00:00

JULY 17, 2006 | Postdoctoral degree researchers and fellows now have an outlet for forging collaborations as well as a support system through the new University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Postdoctoral Society.


Angela Bodles, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow conducting diabetes research in the lab of Philip Kern, M.D., said the idea for the group was to provide a social and support network for postdocs. The group serves as part social network, part information resource to nourish and sustain an academic community for postdoctoral scholars at UAMS.


Formed about a year ago, the group has hosted a few social events and meets monthly. Bodles said there were about 80 postdoctoral fellows on the UAMS campus, with about 30 to 35 attending the two formal events so far.


“For many of us, we get isolated in our labs so it’s good to have an avenue for meeting others in the same situation,” Bodles said. “It’s also good because there’s the potential for work collaborations. We might not know some of the other research on campus that others are involved in that could relate to our own work.”


Resat Unal, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow, said another benefit of the group is functioning as a support network for new postdocs at UAMS. A native of Turkey, he arrived at UAMS about three years ago not just new to the area but also new to the country.


“I experienced everything an international postdoc might experience,” Unal said. “I had to find a place to live, so I had to get together credit information and other paperwork to buy a house. That can be hard if you don’t know what information will be needed.”


With Unal and other group members, these experiences give them the ability to help new arrivals.


“I also find it interesting to be able to meet people from different backgrounds and different cultures,” he said.


Kathleen Gilbert, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the UAMS College of Medicine, is the group’s faculty advisor. She noted that the postdocs sometimes need mentoring and support. Graduate students and full-time faculty members usually have individual mentors and/or an advisory committee with whom they meet regularly to evaluate progress and provide career support, she said.


“Postdocs sometimes fall through the cracks because there is no formal structured mentoring or support for them,” Gilbert said. “There’s a need for career help – such as advice on how to get a CV in order or how many papers one should write each year or what career paths are available.”


A research fellow’s lab offers some support but with the Postdoctoral Society, there is a group that shares many of the same experiences and situations, she said. When Gilbert was a postdoctoral fellow, she didn’t have such a network.


“I had to figure out everything on my own,” she said, “It would’ve been great to have some mentoring or career advice. It’s very easy to get isolated as a postdoc.”


UAMS also benefits by hosting the postdoctoral society, she said. A strong group will demonstrate the commitment by UAMS to nurturing and supporting those researchers, which helps recruiting efforts.


Membership in the society is open to all scholars with a doctorate degree who do not currently hold a permanent full-time faculty position at UAMS. Specifically, persons holding such titles as postdoctoral trainee, postdoctoral fellow, research fellow, research associate, or medical center fellow are eligible for membership.


For information on the group, potential members can email postdoc@uams.edu.

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