What is the Faculty of Health Sciences Postdoctoral
Association? A common misconception that I hear
from postdocs is that we are ‘some kind of union’. On
the contrary, we are a group of postdocs who share a
common vision of improving the postdoctoral experience
through collaboration with McMaster’s School of Graduate
Studies and Faculty of Health Science Graduate Studies.
What has the FHS PDA accomplished in 2015/2016?
Our major emphasis was to build a tight-knit postdoctoral
‘community’ and to improve the employability of postdocs
as they transition into the next stage of their career.
This year over 22 postdocs from across ten FHS
departments took part in our 2nd Annual Postdoc Travel
Award Competition, with four awards totaling $3,500 up
for grabs. Each contestant was asked to provide a 5-minute
presentation of their research in a manner that is well
understood by a ‘lay’ audience – a task that is considered
exceedingly challenging even by seasoned scientists.
Overall, our panel of 5 judges, which included both a
community representative (Mrs. Julie Whittaker) and faculty
representative (Dr. Brian Timmons, Dept. of Pediatrics),
was quite impressed by the many high-calibre talks.
Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences had a successful
year with Dustin Little (Coombes lab) and Kevin Foley
(Schertzer lab) clinching first and fourth place, respectively.
The two other awards were won by Ayesha Saleem and
Adeel Safdar from the Department of Pediatrics.
The FHS PDA recently started an initiative that offers
a set of personalized McMaster business cards to all our
members. We made this decision after hearing that many
postdocs lacked this important networking tool. This
turned out to be widely popular as nearly half of our
members have utilized this free program in May of 2016,
just prior to our Life Sciences Career Night. Given the
strong demand for business cards we anticipate that we
will continue to offer this service on a bi-yearly basis.
Of course, 2016 wouldn’t be complete without a Life
Sciences Career Night. This year we held the event at the
Faculty Club and our theme was ‘traditional’ and ‘non-
traditional’ career paths. We had eight mentors from
different science-related occupations who were willing to
share their success stories of how they built their career.
Some of these mentors, who are also McMaster alumni, are
Dr. Sean Jackson, an Intellectual property lawyer at Alken
Klee LLP; Dr. Anne-Laure Nivet, a Medical affairs manager
at EMD Serono; and Dr. Uyen Nguyen, Microbiologist at
Germiphene. The event was well attended as we had over
80 graduate and postdoctoral attendees. This meant we
had over a 10: 1 ratio between job seekers and mentors. We
are grateful to McMaster’s School of Graduate Studies and
Thermo Fisher for sponsoring this event.
I want to take this opportunity to thank our 2015/2016
executive team, Jocelyn Wessels (Vice-chair), Joyce Obeid
and Bex Sherbern (Social coordinators), Scott Walsh
(Webmaster) for their hard work and dedication. As well,
give our utmost appreciation to our administrative officer,
Ylan Nguyen, who is stepping down at the end of this
year. As of this Summer, we will be joined by Josko Ivica
(Financial officer), Janaki Iyer (Administrative officer), and
Wael Elhenawy (Postdoc advocate).
What’s the best place to meet other postdocs in
Hamilton? Our association organizes a Postdoc Breakfast
usually once a month in either MUMC or MDCL. These
breakfasts are free and the only thing we ask is that you
bring a smile. Often we will discuss on a theme that is
pertinent to most, if not all Postdocs.
I am a new postdoc, why have I not heard from you?
Due to privacy issues, we the FHS PDA are not provided
with your status by your employer. Therefore, we heavily
rely on email, word-of-mouth, and posters to inform
our members. So if you’re a postdoc who would be
interested in being added to our distribution list, please
email us at the link below. Alternatively, you can sign up
at one of our many events throughout the year and we
will ensure that you are included.
HT Law, PhD, FHS PDA Chair reports | FHSPDA
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences
Postdoctoral Association is dedicated to
enhancing the postdoctoral experience by
connecting people, inspiring minds, and
supporting career advancement in the field
of Health Sciences.”
– FHS PDA Mission Statement