I am incredibly honoured to be writing this message as the new President of the UBC Postdoctoral Association (PDA). I have to start off by giving a huge thanks to our outgoing President, Dr. Miranda Kirby. Her dedication and enthusiasm have greatly strengthened the PDA, particularly in the areas of peer networking and research communication. Under her leadership, the PDA developed the “Postdoc Talks” Seminar series, an opportunity for postdocs from diverse fields to present their research to non-specialist audiences. Her actions have increased the profile and reach of the PDA within UBC and the surrounding community. She now joins the ranks of the many fantastic PDA past-Presidents, and I am ecstatic that she has agreed to remain involved in the PDA and will continue to contribute her knowledge and experience during my term.
Over the past year, I have served as a member of the PDA executive committee. In this role, together with the PDA officers and other members of the PDA executive, I was involved with planning and executing a number of events, including the 3 minute postdoc slam (May 21, 2015), the 2015 Postdoc Research Day (September 22, 2015), and our Annual General meeting (March 30, 2016). I have also been involved with the PDFO, assisting with new postdoc orientation and sitting on an award adjudication panel. I have also been an active participant in the PDA’s social events, and have had the good fortune to be able to attend nearly all of the events, affording me the opportunity to meet other postdocs from a number of different faculties across UBC. I hope that during my term we will be able to ensure that other UBC postdocs are able to have the same great experiences I have had with the association.
On behalf of all UBC postdoctoral fellows, I would like to extend many thanks to the other outgoing PDA officers. It has been an honour and a pleasure working with each of you over this past year. Yun Zhang (VP Operations) – thank you for all your efforts in helping to ensure the smooth functioning of the PDA, Farzam Fotovat (VP External) – for your leadership with the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS), Galen Wright (VP Communications) – for your efforts to increase the PDA’s social media presence and better reach out to UBC postdocs, Britt Drögemöller (VP Social) – for your tireless efforts to put on many great social events, and work with the new Google calendar to make it easier for people to see when and what events were coming up, and last, but certainly not least, Nima Mohtaram (VP Finance) – for keeping us on track with finances, booking rooms, and ensuring that all our events ran smoothly and on-budget. I’d also like to thank all the other members of the executive committee. Their input and assistance with putting on the PDA events was invaluable.
Now I would like to welcome our new officers! Zoe Riches will take over VP-Operations, Stefanie Vogt for VP-External, Jenny Chik for VP-Communications, Justin Hart for VP-Social, and Houra Loghmani Khouzani for VP-Finance. I would also like to extend a big thank you to all the people who have already expressed interest in joining the PDA executive team. I am excited to work with everyone, and I anticipate a fun and productive year ahead!
Finally, I would like to invite and encourage all of you to join the PDA executive committee as a volunteer. Membership in the PDA is open to all UBC fellows and associates, and all members of the executive team are invited to attend the PDA officers’ meetings, share ideas, get involved in planning and organizing our events, and advocate for postdoctoral fellows and associates at UBC. Please contact us if you want to be involved!
Alexander Smith, PhD
President, UBC Postdoctoral Association