Past Events

11/13/17 Nov Science & Social Hour: Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan

Oct 26th - Nov 21st is the open enrollment period for benefit plans when participants can make changes to their plan. Therefore it is very important for the postdocs to understand these plans so they could make the best decision for themselves and their family


Mr. Steve Johnson, VP of University Services at Garnett-Powers & Associates, joined us to discuss the insurance plans available to postdocs. Steve provided lots of information that the postdocs did not know, such as the difference between different plans, and benefits included in the plans.

10/19/17 Oct Science & Social Hour: Understanding and Saving for Retirement

Laura from Fidelity met with the postdocs and discussed the postdoc retirement benefit program and how we can make use of it to save money for the future.

9/21/17 Sep Science & Social Hour

The postdocs had lunch and had fun with ping pong!

9/12/17 Off-campus Social Hour

Happy Hour with the Postdoc Union at Surf City!

7/24/17 Grant Writing Workshop

More than 50 postdocs, grad students and scientists attended our Grant Writing Workshop!

The first speaker, David States, works at the office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. He has many years of experience in proposal writing and has been giving workshops on proposal writing for students and postdocs. He talked about the basic principles of proposal writing, such as how to clearly state the research goal to make the reviewers interested and the format that the reviewers expect to see. He went over most of the sections in NIH application and used proposals written by faculty and postdoc as examples.

After the attendees enjoyed a lunch and chat with David, Professor Carrie Partch gave a presentation titled "How to win grants and influence reviewers". Carrie is an associate professor at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She is a successful proposal writing who has won multiple grants scoring top percentile. Carrie gave an overview of NIH funding mechanisms and an inside look of the NIH reviewing process. She also provided useful suggestions on choosing the institution, getting help from program officers and maximizing the chance to get funded. Her slides are available here: (UCSC account required for access).

The workshop concluded with an informal discussion with Professor Jordan Ward. Jordan was awarded a K99/R00 grant as a postdoc and is now an assistant professor at the Department of MCD Biology. Many postdocs are interested in K99 award, especially those who would like to pursue a career as PI. He shared his experience and tips on preparing K99 application. If you are interested in this award program, check out Jordan's blog where he discussed his experience in detail.

Thank you to everyone that participated! We hope this workshop is helpful to your current or future application! If you are looking for funding opportunities, we have listed some writing tips and postdoc grants (including for international, women and minority postdocs) on our Resources page.

We greatly appreciate the speakers taking time from their busy schedules and sharing their knowledge and experience!

We also thank the sponsors, without whom the event would not have been possible! They are: Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, Biomolecular Engineering; Division of Physical and Biological Sciences; Dovetail Genomics; SGI-DNA.


7/11/17 Science and Social Hour

Starting from July we invite postdocs and guests to give either formal or informal talks at the social hour to communicate science or other aspects of the postdoc life. This month our own representative Shankar gave a presentation on probing the structure of telomerase RNA using FRET, then our chair Hanh talked about her experience as a postdoc and her ongoing project.


6/15/17 Happy Hour
The postdocs gathered at Olitas on the pier for tacos and margarita, generously sponsored by the postdoc union UAW5810!


6/14/17 Postdoc Mixer
The newly expanded USPA team met with campus postdocs for the first time! Faculty advisors Carrie Partch and Fitnat Yildiz joined us and generously sponsored food and drink. The representatives each introduced themselves. The postdocs networked and provided their suggestions to the team.