2022 Chicagoland Diverse STEM Postdoc Recruitment Initiative
The Graduate School’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) created and co-hosted the second annual Chicagoland Diverse STEM Postdoc Recruitment Initiative on October 20–21, 2022. This collaborative initiative is part of a shared institutional commitment to increase representation across the academic fields of science, technology, engineering, and math at the postdoctoral level within the three largest research universities in the Chicago area – Northwestern, the University of Chicago (UChicago), and University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).
Prospective postdoctoral candidates attended two days of virtual professional development programming that outlined the process for becoming a postdoc and highlighted the importance of building a strong mentoring network. Fifty-five participants were selected from 99 applicants to attend.
Participants met with more than 150 faculty volunteers (62 from Northwestern) from a range of disciplines at each institution. Faculty advised and contributed to the development of these early-career researchers through virtual informational interviews. This year, faculty had the option to participate in an optional training session on informational interviewing, led by Heather Brandt, PhD (St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital). Participants attended sessions with faculty and staff from Northwestern, UChicago, and UIC, as well as workshops with Thi Nguyen, PhD and Byron Stewart. Levon Esters, PhD (Purdue University) delivered the keynote presentation on finding mentorship as an underrepresented or minoritized postdoc.
The OPA annually recruits participants for this initiative from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and through other organizations that serve underrepresented and minoritized graduate students. This is the second year that the initiative has provided an opportunity for advanced PhD students, recent PhD graduates, and early-career postdoctoral scholars in STEM fields who identify as being from an underrepresented racial and/or ethnic background, the disabled community, the LGBTQIA+ community, or first-generation low-income communities.