Welcome to the new PDA Executive!

The new UBC Postdoctoral Association’s 2017-2018 Executive Team was elected at the annual general meeting held last Thursday, March 9th at the Life Sciences Institute, following a brief recap of the previous year from each of the outgoing Executive Officers.

Alex Smith, the outgoing president started things off with a brief overview of some of our past events:

He also mentioned some of our advocacy and outreach activities on behalf of the outgoing VP External who couldn’t attend, and some of our previous social activities that occurred under both Justin Hart (VP Social 2016), and Jessica Bosch (VP Social pro tem 2017).

Our outgoing VP Operations, Zoe Riches, gave a quick overview of the role of the VP Operations and described a few of the duties involved, then handed the floor to Jenny Chik, our outgoing VP Communications. Jenny discussed the role of the VP Communications, then described our increased reach with postdocs through increased newsletter subscriptions and a great social media presence. Houra Loghmani-Khouzani then gave a quick overview of the VP Finance position, and the current state of the PDA’s budget.

We then heard from each of the candidates running for officer positions (their statements of interest can be viewed here. All positions except for VP Finance were elected by acclamation.

Following the vote for VP Finance, the new 2017-2018 Executive Officers are:

  • President – Kieran Hudson
  • VP Operations – Mehrdad Bokharaei
  • VP External – Moe Elgendi
  • VP Communications – Ido Hatam
  • VP Finance – Jürgen Niesser
  • VP Social – Jessica Bosch

During this meeting, the PDA also voted unanimously to formalize previously proposed changes to the constitution.

The new team will officially take over from April 1, 2017, with the remainder of March used to facilitate a smooth transition from the outgoing to the new incoming team.

We strongly encourage people to get involved with the PDA! There are lots of great people and fun to be had in planning our events. Contact us to join the executive team!

Call for Nominations: 2017/2018 PDA Executive Officers

We are excited to announce the call for nominations for candidates to be part of the UBC Postdoctoral Association’s 2017/2018 Executive Team.


This is a great opportunity to:

  1. Gain leadership experience
  2. Represent the postdoc community
  3. Organize professional development, research and networking events

The PDA Executive Team consists of 6 Volunteer Officers (i.e. President and 5 VPs) whose position will be voted on at our Annual General Meeting on Thursday, March 9th in the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) room 1510 (5 pm). For a detailed list of our open Officer Positions and a description of their role below.

We encourage all postdocs to attend the AGM on March 9th.
Light snacks and refreshments will be served!

Eligibility: All candidates must be UBC Postdoctoral Fellows.

Service on the Executive Committee: Candidates should be able to attend the majority of the Executive Committee meetings held bimonthly either on or off-campus, as well as the PDA events. Executive Committee member terms are 1-year, beginning 1 April 2016 and concluding 31 March 2017.

Self-Nomination: Download the UBC PDA nomination form here. Please fill out this form and return it to along with a recent photo and a short Letter of Interest (100-200 words) detailing your interest in serving on the PDA Executive and any relevant experience.

Nomination deadline: Thursday March 2nd, 2017.

Commitment: On average, the President attends 2 meetings a month (5-10 hours a month), while the VP attends 1-2 meetings a month (2-7 hours a month)

All Executive Officer positions are open for election, interested PDA members may also join the PDA executive as non-elected Committee Members at this (or any other) time. Click the position to read a brief description of the role:

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UBC PDA Annual General Meeting 2017 (March 9th)

Your vote counts! Join us as we elect the new PDA Executive Committee for the upcoming year, and vote on any amendments to the PDA Constitution on Thursday 9 March at 5:00 pm at the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), Room 1510. No RSVP required.

The event will commence with reports from the past PDA Executive Committee members followed by short introductions of the new nominees, after which you can place your vote. We will then vote on any proposed amendments to the PDA constitution, and will conclude the event with a light reception furnished with complimentary snacks and refreshments to welcome the new committee members.

Please contact us if you have any questions. You can add this event to your Google Calendar by clicking on the button below. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the entire calendar, with all our events, here!

The President’s report on the 2016 CAPS AGM and CAPA Conference


Thanks to the UBC PDFO, I recently had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS) annual general meeting in Toronto on October 31st, and the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Administrators (CAPA) Conference from November 1st – 2nd, to represent the UBC PDA.

The CAPS AGM (October 31st)
CAPS MeetingCAPS is the national association for postdoctoral scholars in Canada, and works to clarify the role of postdocs in Canada, advocate for equitable treatment of postdocs, and represent the interests of postdocs at Federal and Provincial levels. It does this by acting as a liaison between postdocs, institutions, funding agencies, professional organizations, and provincial and national governments. It is also active in advocating for postdocs and providing resources for professional development.

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CAPS-ACSP Executive Positions Available


CAPS (the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars) is looking to fill some vacancies in their executive council, specifically the Vice-Chair Communications and the Vice-Chair Operations positions. Descriptions of these positions can be found in this document [PDF]. Any postdoc that is a) associated with a Canadian institution (regardless of citizenship), or b) a Canadian citizen (regardless of location) is eligible to apply.

If you wish to apply for either of these positions, or you would like additional information, please send an email to indicating:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • The institution where you work as a postdoc
  • The position you wish to run for
  • A short (< 250 words) candidate statement.

Thank you for your interest in the future of CAPS-ACSP!

Message from the President: “It has been an honor and a privilege. But this is not goodbye.”

I want to begin by saying it has been a pleasure to have served as president of the UBC PDA over the last year, and I am proud to have done so with such a dedicated executive team with a deep commitment to this association. This is my last The Buzz message to you as the PDA President. At the AGM that announces the results of our election on April 1st, 2015, I will hand over my role to the named successor, who will then serve the next year in leadership. For this last message, I want to communicate my thoughts about my time as President and tell you about some important accomplishments during my tenure.

I have faced some challenges, but overall, the PDA is heading into a very exciting and transformative period in its history. As an organization, the PDA has undergone tremendous growth this past year. Our current subscription to our newsletter stands at 191; up from 56 at this time in 2014. Our Facebook page following has experienced a 124% growth, and postdoctoral associations or societies from other institutions have begun to notice us and reach out to us.

We have offered many new benefits for our members, including professional development seminars on pursuing careers in academia and industry with a bend towards personal branding, and two workshops on financial literacy to learn how to make the most of what we earn as postdocs. We have expanded the content of our website with useful slides and audio or video recordings of our professional and educational events, and an option to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Perhaps one of our greatest milestones was adopting a clear mandate to reach out to and engage with postdocs in the arts and humanities, engineering, and other non life science departments. The UBC PDA represents all UBC postdocs and research associates. Our advocacy work and events should include everyone in this broad community.

This past year also saw a terrible tragedy, with the loss of our colleagues and friends, Stephanie Grothe and Neil Mackenzie. As members of the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club, a fundraising campaign was set up for them where the proceeds went to the Search and Rescue community in British Columbia.

In the coming weeks we will see new faces among the PDA Executive Team, as the election comes to a close at the end of the month. I am confident that our new leaders will provide outstanding leadership in their roles for external relations, marketing and communications, and advocacy.

In closing this farewell message, I want to say that it has been a privilege and pleasure to have served as the UBC PDA President from 2014-2015. I wish to publicly thank my executive team members for their willingness to serve this association, and for the postdoc volunteers who undertook important work to ensure the smooth running of our academic events.

My appreciation goes to the devoted leaders from the Postdoctoral Fellows Office. Rachel Fernandez is our Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, whose enthusiasm and keen sense of humor brought a personalized meaning to faculty relations. Hourik Khanlian is ever enduring as Manager of Human Resources and Postdoctoral Affairs, not to mention one of the most compassionate HR managers I know. Jen Tooley, our past HR and Postdoctoral Affairs Assistant, has been a blessing to us, and as she moved on to new adventures, she has been thoroughly missed. We welcomed Sarah Henderson in her position, who is an amazing example of organizational talent. I appreciate all the work these individuals have done in support of postdocs and our association.

For providing knowledge and leadership at our various events and workshops, I want to acknowledge Michael Gold, Brian Duff, Nilly McCaffery, Ryan Howe, Alphil Guilaran, and the team at the Financial Literacy Counsel.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for supporting the UBC PDA and me during my term of office. I am proud of having served such a great community of young professionals. This is not goodbye – I feel I still have unfinished work, and will be providing leadership for hands-on workshops in entrepreneurship. For the immediate future, I will serve as Past-President and look forward to supporting the new leadership team. I give you my best, and wish you all tremendous success in whichever way you define it.

With warmest regards,

Grace Lee