VSPA Closes out NPAW 2022 with PostdocFest

September 30, 2022


Food, wine, and great music brought the UC Berkeley postdoctoral community together on Wednesday evening for a special culmination of National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) 2022. The celebration, PostdocFest, was held on September 21, 2022, at the UC Berkeley Alumni House. 

UC Berkeley student jazz band Cedar Social Club set the atmosphere with an upbeat setlist as postdocs from different disciplines across campus took a break from their incredible work to let their hair down and chill. 

The cheerful chatter was briefly on pause by a number of exciting announcements when Dr. Katherine Yelick, UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research, presented the 2022 Faculty Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring and the Postdoc Achievement Award and Berkeley Postdoctoral Association (BPA) Vice President, Dr. Israel Borokini shared updates on the group's latest efforts that benefit the postdoc community.

The recipient of the 2022 Faculty Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award was Dr. Ting Xu, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Xu was nominated by her postdoc, Dr. Hao Yu, for Xu's tremendous support to further her scientific training and professional development. In her nomination, Yu closes by stating that "as a postdoc mentor, Ting is incredibly supportive, inspirational, and open-minded. I can’t thank her enough for her support as my advisor.”

The 2022 Postdoc Achievement Award was won by Lenore Pipes, who was nominated by a fellow postdoc, Dr. Hongru Wang. According to Wang's nomination, Pipes has published several first-author papers in major biology journals, has been accepted to present her SARS-CoV-2 variant wastewater estimation method among other competitors at a major research institution, recently received a K99/R00 award, and has supervised four undergraduate students. 

But that’s not all! Dr. Helena Cantwell was awarded an Honorable Mention prize for outstanding contributions to the Berkeley postdoc community. Dr. Xiao Liu, a fellow postdoc and nominator, pointed out that Cantwell has served on three Berkeley Postdoc Association boards over the last three years and also initiated the Language Exchange Program enjoyed by many postdocs and visiting researchers. She has also co-chaired the first Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) postdoc symposium where her MCB colleagues presented their latest research projects.

Many postdocs in attendance walked away with cool Berkeley swag raffle prizes and all postdocs received a VSPA travel mug, lanyard, and NPAW t-shirt.

PostdocFest was the last in a series of events hosted by the Visiting Scholars and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) office this month to honor Berkeley’s postdoctoral scholars and acknowledge their important contributions to U.S. research and discovery.

Here are some pictures from the PostdocFest:

      Lenore Pipes, Postdoc Achievement Award                                    Ting Xu, Faculty Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award