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News and Updates from the Postdoctoral Affairs Office

Over the summer we switched to a new job board called Handshake to help students and postdocs connect with employers. Have you set up your account yet? Through Handshake you will be able to make career advising appointments, search for jobs and connect with employers. For details on how to create your account, see below.


Alexis Thompson, Assistant Dean
Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs

Career and Professional Development

Career Exploration Group

Thursdays, September 28 - October 19, 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Registration required

The Career Exploration Group provides a guided discovery process and collaborative environment for graduate students who are uncertain about their career plans. Participants will work with career advisors to identify and explore broader career options that fit their skills, interests and values. They will also learn about resources for job searching and how to begin the process of developing effective application materials. (Please note that this is not a job search group and we will not discuss in detail the process of applying for jobs.) Participants must commit to meeting once a week for 4 weeks, with 1-1.5 hours/week of additional work in between sessions.


Nonacademic Interviewing Strategies for Grad Students & Postdocs

Thursday, September 28, noon - 1:30 p.m., Illini Union, room 210

What are interviews like for jobs in industry and nonprofits? What are interviewers looking for? What kinds of questions will they ask? What’s the difference between a behavioral interview and a case interview? What do I wear? In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn the basics of the non-academic interview process and get answers to these questions. You’ll also have a chance to practice answering interview questions and get feedback to help you improve. Sponsored by the Graduate College.


Create Handshake Account to Make Career Advising Appointments

You will now need a Handshake @ Illinois account in order to schedule career advising appointments with the Graduate College Career Development Office to review application materials, prepare for interviews, and more. (Handshake is the campus’s new career services platform for students and postdocs.) Creating an account takes up to 3 days for postdocs, so request an account now to avoid delays when you want to schedule an appointment. To sign up for an account, fill out the online form. Then schedule an appointment.

Your Research and Teaching

Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) Open House

CITL will hold an Open House on September 12 - 14 to showcase their new Armory Innovation spaces in the north and east corridors on the first floor. Come by and enjoy the fun events scheduled each day. Have a cup of coffee in the Faculty Lounge area at 156 Armory. Check out the unusual iFLEX classroom at 182 Armory. Try the video wall in the Innovation Studio and the Virtual Reality Lab at 172 Armory. Explore immersive teaching technologies in the Tech Hub at 151A Armory. Mini tours, HTC Vive, Playstation VR, augmented art display, and fun giveaways. Be there, or be square!


Junior Faculty Seminar Series: Best Practices to Improve Student Learning

Wednesday, September 20, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Armory, room 428

Come join this learning community by participating in this specially designed seminar series for junior faculty, though all are welcomed to participate. Presenters will share strategies and best practices for effective and efficient teaching. There will be great conversations, handouts, and lunch! Each session builds on those before it. The topic of Session 1 is: "I wish I had known that earlier”: Using Informal (IEF) and Formal (ICES) Feedback to Improve Teaching and Learning. 

Opportunities and Resources

Science Policy Reading Group

Second and Fourth Tuesday of the month, starting Tuesday, September 12, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Asian American Cultural Center, basement

Affiliated with the Science Policy Group, this reading group will focus on intersectionality in science education and policy. Introducing readings from critical race theory and feminism, we will examine how the inclusion and exclusion of marginalized groups shapes STEM education and scientific policy-making. Participants need no background in social sciences or cultural studies. Bimonthly meetings will be held to discuss the readings with guest lecturers in the field. View the tentative schedule online. Questions? Contact David Stevens at


Faculty and Staff Can Request Time on Blue Waters Supercomputer

Applications due September 15

Blue Waters is one of the world’s most powerful computing systems and is located here at Illinois. Each year more than 3 million node-hours are allocated to projects from our campus. Each node has many powerful cores, providing University faculty and staff significant computing power. Proposals are accepted twice per year, the next deadline September 15, 2017.


Microbiome rRNA Amplicon Analysis Workshop


HPCBio is announcing a workshop for microbiome rRNA analysis that teaches bioinformatics skills to investigate amplicon sequencing data. This will be held September 29, October 6, October 13, and October 20 from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. each day.  This workshop first aims to familiarize attendees with basic Linux commands necessary to run microbiome analysis programs, and to give an introduction to amplicon design and sequencing. Attendees will then learn how to perform upstream (preprocessing, OTU picking, alignment & tree building) and downstream (diversity analyses, visualizations, & statistical methods) analyses while practicing on a provided amplicon sequencing dataset. 

Questions? E-mail

Good to Know

International Scholar Reception

Thursday, September 14, 5 - 6 p.m., University YMCA, Latzer Hall

RSVP online

Join Illinois International Student and Scholar Services for the inaugural International Scholar Reception. International scholars and their families are welcome. Keynote speaker Professor Madhu Viswanathan will speak on the topic of succeeding as an international scholar at Illinois. There will be refreshments and networking activities.


Campus Safety and Security

As we begin the new academic year, take note of some campus safety resources.


Illinois Student Is a Chasing Genius Finalist

University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition PhD candidate Anna Waller is a finalist in the National Geographic Chasing Genius competition! Her project, F.A.C.T.: Fortified Amaranth and Cassava Technology for Improved Infant Nutrition in Liberia, is one of 15 finalists selected from nearly 3000 submissions. Vote for Anna's project once daily until voting closes on September 15. Good Luck, Anna, and thank you for your innovative ideas for meeting the needs of a hungry and growing population!


Postdoc Post is distributed on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month to current Postdocs at Illinois. Please see our website for submission information

If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in any of the programs or events listed in Postdoc Post, please email the contact person for the event. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.