More than 380 attendees, including postdocs, institutional postdoc office administrators, and policy makers convened at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the 14th Annual Meeting of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA). Participants discussed strategies to master core competency skills, ways to enhance career development resources through inter-institutional collaborations, and challenges and opportunities faced by international postdoctoral scholars. The NPA meeting is unique in that its educational sessions are interspersed with networking breaks, themed lunches, an active poster session, and a reception.
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s Jennifer Zeitzer (Deputy Director of the Office of Public Affairs) and Yvette Seger (Director of Science Policy) teamed up with the leaders of NPA’s Advocacy Committee to host the Innovation in Action session, “Developing an Effective Advocacy Strategy for the Postdoc Community: Tools for Involvement at the Local and National Level.” During this interactive workshop, participants learned how to develop strategies to address issues of common concern to postdocs and institutional postdoc offices using a tool called the Midwest Academy Strategy chart. Small groups worked together to determine short- and long-term goals for their particular issues; assess organizational and resource constraints; identify constituents, allies, and opponents; establish targets; and discuss tactics to yield a successful advocacy campaign. Feedback from this session will be used to inform future NPA advocacy resources.