December 2017

Council Meeting Minutes

Stanford Postdoctoral Association

Dec 13th, 2017, 11.30-1:00pm

Clark Center, S362



Council members: Anand Rao, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa, Virginie Gabel, Gina Bouchard, Ioana Marin, Bradley Tolar, Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Deb Kahrson, Catherine, Meng-Meng-Fu, Matthew Gebbie, Roberta Sala, Arnaud Bruyas, Dilip Thomas, Christian La, John Hegarty

Others: Did not manage to get an attendance sheet signed up



  • Meeting called to order by chair, Anand Rao

  • Unanimous approval of Nov 2017 minutes


Vote on bylaw amendments:

Changes to bylaws were unanimously approved


Nomination of Lise Retailleau for co-chair position:

Lise was nominated over email and her nomination was approved at the meeting. Elections will be held at Jan council meeting.


Update on Faculty Senate meeting (Anand Rao):


Anand updated the group on the proceeding of the Faculty Senate meeting.

  • Faculty shared concerns regarding cost-of-living

  • Several professors expressed objection to the idea of a cohort mentoring model

  • Dr. Merritt Maduke raised the idea of postdocs as a focus for fundraising/development

  • Diversity and inclusion remains a high priority for the University. This could be something to capitalize on.  



Roberta: Were Provost and President present at the faculty senate meeting?

Anand: They participated passively. It was more about discourse for faculty.

Ioana: Faculty was content with the fact that white papers will be written ( regarding long range planning). Our efforts are needed even after we submit the proposal.

Sharon: What about housing? Did we get a sense of where our push should be? Should we focus on getting more data?

Anand: Once grad students vacate campus housing postdocs can take it up. It’s not very clear. But we should push more for housing. We should get the article on housing out, that communications and housing team have been working on.

Jan 24th has been scheduled as a date for meeting with VPGE, Patty Gumport.

Roberta: We can have a concise list ready by then based on the ideas from long range planning proposals.

Meng-Meng-Fu: As per the nature article stating how difficult it is to live in Bay area

Median Salary in Bay area: $110k

Palo Alto household salary ( below poverty line for a family): $88k

We should use channel outside of Stanford to make more impact.

Sharon: There was a recent article by a local politician in Nature, discussing the housing crisis. We should leverage such resources.


Formal discussion was called to an end by Anand Rao by 12.10pm.


Holiday Party celebration

November 2017

Council Meeting Minutes

Stanford Postdoctoral Association

Nov 29th, 2017, 11.30-1:00pm

Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002



Council members: Anand Rao, Saumyaa, Virginie Gabel, Gina Bouchard, John Hegarty,  Lise Retailleau, Christian La, Arnaud Bruyas, Bradley Tolar, Clarice Aiello, Mariapaola Sidoli, Sharon Greenblum, Dilip Thomas, Ioana Marin.  


Non-members: Pavlos Tsantilas, Justin Klein, Deb Karhson, Diva Arvola, Ulla Gerling-Driessen, Marc Driessen, Ana Oliveira, Avik Dutt, Kacie Deters, Cheavar Blair, Li Zheng, Fabio Zanini


Quorum:  Yes, 14/30  council members



  • Meeting called to order by co-chair, Anand

  • Unanimous approval of Oct 2017 minutes


Update on SACNAS and ABRCRMS

Both SACNAS and ABRCRMS are efforts to encourage diversity in science.


Ioana: SACNAS-Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science

She attended the meeting and represented postdocs there. A lot of undergrads were overwhelmed to see how many others of their kind are in the university.

They also have a great leadership program- a leadership academy. They do a lot of mentorship and connection.



Anand- What did you present or what did you get out of it?

Ioana- She met Alberto Roca there who runs the website minority.org. He presented in the SURPAs meeting. SURPAS will probably continue collaborating with him. Attending SACNAS was very inspirational as well.


Additional small announcement (Ioana):

School of humanities and sciences is looking for a new dean. They are asking for feedback from postdocs. Any SURPAS member who is part of that school, who might be willing to contribute should contact Ioana.


Anand- Martha Cyert on PACPA and she is leading that initiative in the search.


Deb: ABRCMS- Annual biomedical research conference for minority STEMS

It is mostly geared towards undergraduates and graduate students. There were not a lot of postdocs. She motivated the undergrads to go to grad school and do postdoc. There was conversation about the PRISM program. There was a lot of praise for diversity in general on campus.


PRISM program is a weekend retreat run by OPA. You get to come to campus and get to meet faculty, meet existing postdocs on campus. Everyone can forward PRISM flyer to their graduate programs. It’s on OPA social media.


Upcoming events (Virginie):

  • Dec9th - potentially some holiday event with BAPS

Kacie- suggested to participate in santa con

If nothing happens with BAPS- we will potentially organize a SURPAS HH


  • DEC13 meeting - half of it is holiday celebration


  • Jan holiday party


Kindergarten care concern by Ulla Gerling-Driessen and and Marc Daniel Driessen)

They are a stanford postdoc couple who have 2 kids in Stanford’s daycare system, at the Sock Farm road location. There has been a recent change in the company that runs that daycare. Marc and Illa have the following concerns with the new company (ICRI)-


ICRI-    supposed to be a non-profit.

  • Daycare bills are normally due on 1st of the month but can be paid by 5th or 6th. Kindercare(previous company) had a model where parents could pay by credit card. ICRI killed that adding a 2.6% fee if you pay by credit card. Stanford payroll kicks in 6th of every month. It is difficult to make a payment by 5th/6th if you are living on postdoc salary, paycheck to paycheck.

  • Stanford helped Marc to work out a deal with ICRI that they can pay until 25th of the month. But it is an exception for them. Each parent has to go through this process individually and may not even know that this is an option.

  • There will be a complete winter closure for this new daycare. With previous company parents could decide whether they want to bring your kid to daycare of keep them home. Based on that parents could get a refund (if kids stayed home). ICRI are completely shutting down for winter closure AND there no refund for half month of Dec.

  • He contacted  the company’s CEO and tried to reason with him, to no avail. Company explained that it is not economical for them to keep the center running in holidays and pay full salary to teachers- if very few kids may come. But they did not comment on refund.

  • Stanford offers a nanny service during holidays. Under that program you get a different nanny for each day and even at the subsidized cost, nanny charges $8/hour. So its a double hit for parents if they have to work during holidays- full month payment for daycare in Dec and having to pay for nanny during the holidays.


SURPAS will pass on all this information to Family committee and they can take it up with the administration.


Update on Faculty senate meeting (Anand)

The meeting is on 11/30. There will be a 20 min presentation + 30 mins for discussion.

4 individuals will be speaking at the presentation-

Patti Gumport- VPGE

Sofie- OPA head

Anand-SURPAS chair

Martha Cyert- PACPA chair



  • Fabio- Based in his experience at the PROVOST meeting- Stanford is aware of postdoc numbers and housing issue. But they still choose to allocate zero dollars towards housing. They simply just don’t want to do anything about it. Stanford has all the power to do that.

  • Anand- LRP process has changed their tone. The administration is more receptive now. Patti gumport has been in constant touch with Provost.

  • Deb:-Stanford does not have that power because postdocs are hired by PI, not stanford. Our pay comes from PI grants, not Stanford.

  • Bradley- Additionally postdocs don’t pay any tuition. So it’s hard for stanford to justify to allocate budget for us, when they have no control of who comes in as a postdoc.


Discussion on the presentations continues- .

  • How postdocs contribute to Stanford mission- Mentoring students, administrative responsibilities,

  • Salary- Stanford is 10% higher than rest of the places( a recent change). But while Stanford give us a slightly higher salary, cost of living here is the highest too.

  • It is even more difficult for people from minority backgrounds or those who have family to survive here. If we are to promote diversity and inclusion, this sets us back. Stanford should not be a place of privilege.

Potential solutions-

  • Raising minimum salary

  • Subsidized housing and child care- short term housing when new postdocs relocate. There are about 100 postdoc children. But Stanford only has 700 spots for daycare for the entire campus and Faculty gets a preference at these centres.Stanford gives some subsidy for childcare based on your income ( 20%). Anand is not sure if it’s only for on campus daycares or even off campus daycare.

  • Alan Ceaser (from SBPA) is going to be present there. He thinks we should emphasize on diversity.



  • Sharon- Graphic for a split-up of where our salary goes might help

  • A meeting attendee- MIT offers 401k matching. Stanford couold potentially run some such program.

  • Others- We should pick examples from other top institutions, to put things in perspective.

  • Fabio- Stanford’s common counter argument for diversity is that we love diversity, but we have to get the best talent. That is the priority.

  • Deb- PI’s have to make a conscious effort to fight against this prejudice

  • Anand- programs like PRISM put this underrepresented postdoctoral candidates in the picture, for faculty to easily recruit from.

  • There are some models in place- like cohort model, that support diversity during recruitment process.

  • Clarice- But majority hiring will still be done directly by PIs, not from these cohorts like PRISM and others. Is there some guidelines that can be put in place for hiring.

  • John- Martha Cyert has been working on pushing for centralized funding and putting similar diversity guidelines for postdoc hiring as it is for  undergrad or grad programs. Diversity regulations can be applied to the existing Stanford fellowships.

  • Mark- Maybe offering help to PIs ( through OPA or some Stanford facility) to set the right kind of hiring message on their website, might speed up the process.


Update on Family committee (Sarah Eagleman):


  • They had their first committee  meeting - 19 postdocs attended. Most expressed issues were-

    • housing

    • childcare cost.

    • lot of events ( professional and social) happen at a time when parents have to go pickup their kids

  • Halloween event- Virginie and Gina put it together. More than 110 people attended. It was biggest, most well attended family event in the history of SURPAS. A lot of postdocs mentioned that they were like waiting for such an event.

  • There is family FB group.

  • The committee has initiated communication with Stanford Parents Group. They did an initial survey to assess the issues of postdocs with family. Biggest issue again were housing and childcare

  • They have about 11 postdocs that are interested in being actively involved


Next steps-

  • Potentially a more comprehensive survey soon

  • Figuring out who else to collaborate with on such issues


Resumed discussion on Faculty Senate meeting-

Anand walked everyone through the tentative slides for the meeting. These presentation will be shared among all 4 presenters. It is confidential.


Update from symposium committee (Saumyaa/Bradley)

There was a detailed discussion on postdoc symposium in the Oct council meeting. Based on that, these are the potential plans/ ideas for 2018 postdoc symposium-

  • To improve attendance in poster and talk sessions one the following approach can be used-

    • Have multiple parallel talk session, but with distinct focus areas. Otherwise find only 1or2 talks( related to their topic) interesting and do not care about the rest.

    • Have poster session along with lunch, as lunch is always very well attended.

    • Eliminate poster session altogether, as postdocs to get a chance to present posters at many places. Focus on talks. Removing osters will allow more time for talks.

  • Make the event an off campus retreat, like some of the departmental retreats. That might generate more interest among postdoc community to attend the event. Although this will require much more funding.


We will start assembling a new team soon. Co-chair positions for the committee are open.


Short announcements (Anand):

- To stay better updated and connected with the various SURPAS committees, leadership team has decided to appoint a liaison for each committee.

  • Teaching & outreach- Saumyaa

  • Housing and Transportation- Anand

  • Family- Gina

  • Diversity- Ioana

  • Sports and Social- Virginie

  • Communications- Brian and Sharon

  • Symposium- Saumyaa & Virginie

  • SPIF- Daniel


-There have been recent changes in 2 lines of marguerite shuttle. The new system is a not working well. Daniel is in tough the parking and transportation to get things fixed.

- For anyone organizing and event, please check with Virginie first.


Meeting called to closure at 1pm by Anand


October 2017

Council Meeting Minutes

Stanford Postdoctoral Association

Oct 25th, 2017, 11.30-1:00pm

Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002



Council members: Anand Rao, Saumyaa, Virginie Gabel, Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Roberta Sala, Bradley Tolar, Arnaud Bruyas, Christian La, Brian Griffiths, Clarice Aiello, Mariapaola Sidoli, Jorik van de Groep,  Sharon Greenblum, Catherine Tcheanndjieu, Dilip Thomas, Lise Retailleau, Gina Bouchard, Ioana Marin.  


Non-members: Natalie Nevarez, Justin Klein, Lucas Herissant, Pavlos Tsantilas, Deb Kahrson, Xian Jiang, Xiaoming Zhai, Johana Vega, Aldo Cordova, Alberto Roca, Meritt Maduke,


Quorum:  Yes, 18/30  council members



  • Meeting called to order by co-chair, Anand

  • Unanimous approval of Sep 2017 minutes


Discussion on Faculty Senate meeting prep:

Anand gave a run through of the points to be discussed in upcoming Faculty Senate meeting.


Following comments were made:

Roberta: Maybe we should present solutions instead of reiterating the problems

Iona: Housing should not be left out of agenda, just because it has been brought up multiple times

Bradley: SURPAS have been told in the past that there is never going to be postdoc housing built on campus

Merrit: We should not tell university leadership what to do. We should just emphasize on the most important issues.


Postdoc alumni network - Merrit

Will talbot has given a significant money to put up a nice postdoc alumni event. There is a room booked at LKSC for Sep28, 2018. Career center will help in the organization of this event. But help from postdocs is needed, as they know best what they want and what’s good for them.


Following comments were made:

Gina- For the Postdoc symposium there were over 100 people who came for networking lunch. But SURPAS didn’t get access to the the alumni network to invite them for the event.


Meritt- There is no network yet. For their survey, she got a list from SOM where postdocs can optionally submit their email while departing Stamford. Sofie has a pretty extensive list of her own. An anonymous survey was sent. In that survey people were asked if they would like to share their email to be conatcted for networking events. That is the list that Meritt shared with SURPAS for the Postoc Symposium.


Sofie also created an alumni linkedin group. Maybe a link to this linkedin group can be added to the survey.


Bylaw discussion:

Bradley- Nobody contacted the committee with any objections to the changes in the bylaws

Council discussed whether the council seats should be capped at 30. Mutiple views where presented-

  • Allowing more members means more things can be done

  • Having too many members will make it kard to coordinate efforts and votine etc.

  • Having limited seats will also make people take it more seriously

  • Interested candidates should be required to attend 2 coucnil meetings before they can run for election. This will give them more time to get familiar with the council and to asses their interest and commitment.

  • All stanford Psotdocs by default are members of SURPAS. They can always partcipate in SURPAS initiatives, attend council meetings and chair committees, without having to be a council member.


Voting on revised bylaws will be help in the next council meeting.


Communincation committee- Sharon

Previosuly Communication committe have written articles for Stanord Daily, worked on a white paper. Now those people left and the committee had kind of died. We would like to get it started again.

It can take different forms. One thing that hasn’t been done before and we are gettting started with is a more condensed version of SURPAS news in the form of a monthly newletter. The goal is to reach more people who don’t come to meetings, to make the bigger postdoc community at Stanford aware of what is going on, to publicize our events, ideas and initiatives.

Sharon has initiated the newsletter but needs help to continue compiling it every month. Any suggestions and ideas are welcome.



Ioana- OPA is willing to put it on their website. It can be distributed to postdoc orientation, luncheons etc.

Deb- Each month can have a theme/focus. For example Feb is a black history month so that can be the focus.  


Family committe update - Gina and Jesse:

Jesse- The first family committee meeting was organized. Major ideas discussed were childcare and organizing groups for collective babysitting help and support. A playground on SOM campus to send your kids while you fnish experiments would be useful for parents.Participation in the meeting was limited. A survey can be sent out to get a broader sense of what postdoc with families need.


Gina- The first family committee event is being organized. It is a Halloween party on Oct27, 2-5pm at Dean’s Lawn. Maybe we can get more ideas on what events to do during this by inviting suggestions from participating postdoc families.


Updates on past events:

Postdoc Symposium (Saumyaa)- It was 1.5 day long program. It started with half a day of professional development workshops on various topics like- Grant writing, Transitioning to industry, interviewing skills, science communication, IMPROV, ethics.

Second day was research talks, networking lunch, poster session and happy hour.


Workshops had a mixed turnout. Lunch was well attended. But like last year, the research talk session was not well attended at all.

One drawback we are aware of was its proximity to NPAW, thus burying the publicty annoucements.


Comments and suggestions-

Catharine- Some of her labmates exressed concerns that many of the talks were not f their interest. Maybe have  various focused groups for the talk session might make it more relevant to people.

Iona and Gina- Agreed with that opinion

Catharine- Maybe switiching it back to 1-day event layou might help. Have multiple focused talk sessions in morning, lunch+poster together followed by afternoon workshops. Combining lunch with poster, might pack the poster session

Christian:If poster session is not well attended and laos ocnsidering poeple get a lot other chances to show their posters, remove the poster session altogether. Just keep more talks.

Roberta- Have a retreat next year to some off campus location, provided we can get sponsorship for that. That might be more enticing for postdocs.


NPAW thank you dinner (Virginie)- 30 people volunteered for NPAW. 20 of them attended the dinner.


Rise of hate (Ioana)- It was held at Cemex auditorium. It was a great turnout.


Upcoming events - Virginie:


Halloween event

Cal academy nightlife event

Winter Holiday event- dec 8/9


Discussion with MinorityPostdoc.org Editor- Dr.  Alberto Roca

He served on postdoc lleadership at Stanford for 10 years. He was one of the founding members of NPA. Now he runs his own non-profit - Minoritypostdco.org. He is a cocial entrepreneur. He offers two services-

  • Let postdocs practice their diversity skillls.

  • Help in faculty search committees

  • Help in graduate admissions

Work in SACness in Nova.

Minoritypostdco.org has the largest email database of minority postdocs in the nation. This helps university faculty search committee to recruit minority postdocs. In future he wants to build a minority graduate student database, that can act as a diversity pool for postdoc hiring.


He organized a Diverse Scholar Postdcotoral Conference in conjuction with University of houston postdoc organzation. Its focus was -

  • How can minority postdocs get a faculty job

  • Diversity discussions in the evening


He runs workshops on how to frame diversity statement. He also plans to run a formal certificate program. In the University of California system they have already started asking for a diversity statement. Postdocs are going to need help and guidance for that.


Clarice- She was able to find only 2 published articles on diversity statemnets. She asked if there  is a rubric for that.

As of now how they are judged is very opaque.


Small announcements

- More volunteers needed for halloween party

- Brian is to put up minority.org on SURPAS website



Meetng called to closure at 1pm by Anand


September 2017

Council Meeting Minutes

Stanford Postdoctoral Association

Sep 27th, 2017, 11.30-1:00pm

Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002



Council members: Anand Rao,Saumyaa, Daniel Joyce, Virginie Gabel, Ioana Marin, John Hegarty, Clarice Aiello, Matthew Gebbie, Gina Bouchard, Arnaud Bruyas, Abby Sarkar, Meng-Meng Fu , Tristan Lerbs,  Brian Griffiths, Jorik van de Groep, Christian La,  Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Roberta Sala, Bradley Tolar, Lise Retailleau, Sarah Eagleman, Catherine Tcheanndjieu, Dilip Thomas, Mariapaola Sidoli, Callie Willington, Idil Ulegin, Stephane Deny, Subhomoy Das,  Antonio Santos, Mar Margalef, Julia Co, Justin Klein, Kacie Deters, Mital bhakta, Diva Arvola, Lori Ling.  


Quorum:  Yes, 22  council members



  • Meeting called to order by co-chair, Anand

  • Unanimous approval of Aug 2017 minutes


NPAW overview -Virginie

The following events were organized during the National Postdoc Appreciation week.

  • Dish Hike- around 15 people attended

  • Ice-cream Social- about 30 people showed

  • Bike tour was cancelled because nobody showed up

  • Open-mic night - around 20 people attended)

  • Pet-a-dog- around 40 people attended)

  • SURPAS happy hour- around 40 people attended

  • Rodin Sculpture garden- people attended but the tour guide was not there. Organized by OPA

Turned out the tour lead was inside the building, not outside.

  • Meditation- very few people attended maybe because it wasn’t advertised

  • Pub Crawl - about 15 people headed towards SJ and similar number headed towards SF

  • BAP picnic- about 90 people showed up. Stanford had a good representation


Concerns/ ideas/ suggestions:

  • Sarah Eagleman: There were too many steps for registration, which is a little discouraging when there are so many events. Maybe making the registration process simpler will encourage participation.

  • Roberta Sala: We should invite faculty to our events. They should show support for postdocs.

  • Anand Rao: OPA backed out their support to fund and invite department sponsored events throughout the week

  • Ioana Marin- We should start planning very early to allow time for more involvement from Faculty and administration

  • Jesse- We should document everything from this year very well- attendance, event organization pointers, volunteer lists etc. We can then  hand it over to team next year for smooth transition and quicker planning.

  • We should not restrict events to postdocs, grad students and faculty should we welcome too since they are the ones who appreciate and support us. Bradley mentioned that he brings his grad students as his plus one or two.

  • Roberta: We should have someone else, like grad students organize events for us too.


By-laws amendments - Anand:

-Change in mission statement

-Change in extended leave of absence

- Size of council - Discussion ensued on whether we should cap the council at 30 or keep it open.

- Ioana -  We should cap the council  at 30. With people more that that it will be harder to organize things. It will be harder to reach quorum. We must make getting on the council more strict, so only people who are seriously committed occupy the limited number of council seats.

- Bradley- In the past council had trouble reaching quorum. That being said, attendance has been good recently. More people should be welcome on the council.

- We  should make people attend two council meetings ( instead of one) before they can run for election for a council seat.


Council member elections:

- Introduction of new council members elected at August council meeting ( since they did not get a chance to speak about how they would like to contribute to SURPAS):

Brian Griffiths (got elected as a council member + Webmaster during August election)- He will work as a webmaster and will work on revamping the SURPAS website. He has already started working on it.

Sarah Eagleman ( got elected as a council member)- She has already taken up the role of chair of family committee- a brand new SURPAS committee. She will work on gathering information on the requirements of postdocs with families and in what ways SURPAS can help them. The  family committee will also social events targeted to postdocs with families.


- Election of new council members:

Statements of the two candidates running for council election this month-

Mariapaola- She has experience participating in student organization during her grad school  in Europe. She would like to channel her energy and anger towards action, and work with a young and diverse group of postdocs.

Dilip Thomas- He has experience in organizing multiple events as  member of academic committees. He wants to extend this experience to enrich postdoc environment at Stanford. He is already working with Christian on SPIF.

Catharine- As a part of minority she has ideas to push for more diversity. She would like to work on that with SURPAS.

All 3 were elected to the council.


-Election for faculty senate Representative- RESEARCH

Statements of the three candidates running for election:

John Hegarty- He is involved in translational research and has his personal goals for an academic career will benefit by understanding the administrative side of things.

Daniel - He did similar work during PhD and enjoyed getting a strong voice on board. He is also doing a lot of translational- basic and clinical science research. NIK policies are really affecting all this. As a junior investigator these issues are really important to him and he would like to be involved in this discussion at the administrative end.

Clarice - She was involved in similar committees during grad school. It would be a nice opportunity to see the administrative side of things. It will be curios for her to see whether the presence of a postdoc as opposed to grad student, changes anything. There are some specific issues she wants to raise-

  • Postdocs can’t apply as co-PIs (mostly). In particular international  postdocs can’t apply as co-PIs

  • When leave a lab, there should be measures in place to ensure that they can take a part of the project with them

Clarice was elected for the Faculty Senate- RES position with 13 votes. Daniel and John received 5 and 4 votes respectively.


-election for Faculty senate Representative- LIBRARIES

Gina has been serving on this position and would continue to like to do so.

She was re-elected for this position with 21 votes.


Symposium committee update - Callie :

  • Symposium will run for 2 days.

    • Oct12 (afternoon-evening): There are professional development workshops on various topics - Grant writing, Transition to industry, interviewing skills, science communication, IMPROV, Ethics

    • Oct13 (all day): Keynote will be by Bill Burnett on ‘ designing your life’. There are postdoc research talks during first half, networking lunch, poster session, award ceremony/ SURPAS HH.

  • Will Talbot and VPGE will sponsor the entire symposium ( 2/3rd and 1/3rd respectively).

  • Around 250 people registered so far.


Committees Overview- Ioana:

  • New Slack Channel for committee and council communications (thanks, Virginie, for creating it). All committees are encouraged to use it for their activity!

  • Each committee is allowed a budget of $50/ month for meeting refreshments as an incentive to meet, discuss and plan activities.

  • The committees are encouraged to apply for SPIF funding to fund their events/ initiatives

  • Council members are encouraged (/expected) to be part of one (or more) committees to satisfy their “active” status within SURPAS.

  • Please sign-up for a committee if you haven’t already.


Meeting called to closure at 1.30pm by Anand


August 2017

Council Meeting Minutes

Stanford Postdoctoral Association

Aug29th, 11.30-1:00pm

Clark Center, S361



Council members: Daniel Joyce, Christian La, Arnaud Bruyas, Jesse Isaacman-Beck, John Hegarty, Bradley Tolar, Matt Gebbie, Gina Bouchard, Virginie Gabel, Lise Retailleau, Iona Marin, Abby Sarkar, Saumyaa, Brian Griffiths, Sarah Eagleman, Jiannin Xu, Peidong Su, Aldo Cordova, Simon Davidsson, Avik Dutt, Subhomoy Das, antonio Santos, Will Giardino, Dilip thomas, Arsenii Telichko, Hsiao-Wen Liao, Francisco Ponce, Kacie Deters, Hannah Giasson, Deb Karhson, Catherine Tcheandjieu, Pierre Massat, Stella Y. Sun


Quorum:  Yes, 13 council members

( Later Brian and Sarah got elected to council. So eligible votes for webmaster election were 15)



  • Meeting called to order by  the chair, Anand

  • Approval of July 2017 minutes


Overview of previous leadership’s accomplishments:

  • Housing and Transportation

    • Constructed, distributed, and analyzed a survey

    • Data was used to shape long range planning proposals

    • Arnaud, Anand, and Ioana to pen article for Stanford Daily

  • Bay area postdoc symposium

    • Participated with other organizations to organize and send postdocs to this event

    • This will be continued

  • Established Coffee Chats

  • Updated website

  • Better defined roles and committees

  • Long-range planning

    • Formed a subcommittee to represent postdocs

      • Met with provost

    • Found long range planning committees

      • Education

      • Outreach

      • Community

      • Research


Long Range Planning overview (Deb Karhson and Abby Sarkar):

  • A lot of proposals have been received.

  • LRP committee is working on putting all the proposed ideas together as a white paper

  • Proposals are divided into four major areas-

  1. Education

  2. Outreach

  3. Community

  4. Research

  • Any action from administration on these proposals will start by 2018.

  • In the meanwhile people can get involved in various initiatives through SURPAS and other organizations on campus to enrich postdoc life of campus.



New member election:

  1. Brian Griffiths

  2. Sarah Eagleman

Both Brain and Sarah were elected as council members. (13 votes)


Webmaster election:

  1. Brian Griffiths

Brian Griffiths was elected to the webmaster position. (15 votes)


NPAW planning (Virginie)

Virginie shared an overview of the events planned for National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Here is the event schedule:



Monday 09/18

Tuesday 09/19

Wednesday 09/20

Thursday 09/21

Friday 09/22

Saturday 09/23



Improv (OPA)




Coffee social @ SoM with SURPAS & AWIS


Coffee social @ VA with SURPAS


Coffee social @ Green Library with SURPAS & oSTEM/LGBTQ


Coffee social @ E-Quad with SURPAS


Coffee social @ SoM, Dean’s Lawn with SURPAS & SBPA








Yoga @ MSOB (OPA)



Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden Tour (OPA)   REGISTER





Meditation @ Windhover with SURPAS / REGISTER






Ice cream social @ Stanford Oval  with SURPAS


Happiness Therapy@ Dean’s Lawn




Bay area postdoc picnic @ Dolores Park in SF with SURPAS & BAPS


4-4:30 pm


Cantor Highlights Tour (OPA)


Rodin Sculpture tour




Postdoc Fall Festival @ MSOB lawn with SURPAS & OPA (w/ kids zone)




Dish Hike with SURPAS


Bike tour @ Shoreline with SURPAS


Bouldering Session



Postdoc Happy Hour (w/ kids zone)

(Sunken Pool Fountain)




Pub crawl with SURPAS

(From Stanford to SJ)

(From Stanford to SF)





7:30-8 pm


Open Mic Night @ Scotty’s Bar, PA with SURPAS  (Scotty's, PA)   



8-9:30 pm



The number of volunteers and kind of help needed from them for each event was discussed and a volunteer sign-up sheet was circulated.


Committees’ overview (Ioana)


  • establish 2 new committees: Postdoc Diversity Advisory Committee, Committee for Postdocs with Dependents

  • all committees need more members

    • passed around sign-up sheets

    • will try to recruit during NPAW and after


Newly elected council members to speak briefly about why they joined.



Meeting was called to closure at 1pm by the co-chair Anand


July 2017

Council Meeting Minutes
Stanford Postdoctoral Association
July 26th, 2017, 11.30-1:00pm
Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1161

Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, John Hegarty, Daniel Joyce, Huy
Ngyuen, Roberta Sala, Saumyaa, Bradley Tolar, Lise Retailleau, Ioana Marin, Arnaud Bruyas,
Anand Rao, Antonio Santos, Sarah Eagleman, Aldo Cordova, Brian Griffiths, Christian La,
Julian Martinez, Edward Lau, Weizhi Zhang, Johana Vega, Maria Haanpaa

Quorum:  Yes, 13 council members
Abby Sarkar Arrived late
 Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon Greenblum
 Unanimous approval of June 2017 minutes
Council member elections:
The following postdocs stood for election to SURPAS council- Clarice Aiello, Matthew
Gebbie. They expressed interest in the following initiatives:
 Clarice– She had been involved in graduate student resources to ease friction and
stress. It’s a peer to peer resource to help mediate conflicts. She is interested in
serving some similar role here and help postdocs transition from graduate student
life to postdoc.
 Matthew- He is interested in bringing postdocs together, outside of the lab.
Roberta asked if the candidates have any ideas on how to engage more postdocs in SURPAS
initiatives. Candidates responded that they would like to reach out to more people, maybe
organize coffee chats.

Re-election of old members: Huy Ngyuen, Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Roberta Sala, Bradley Tolar
 Huy: He has served as webmaster for SURPAS for over a year. He was on 2016
postdoc symposium committee. He has contributed in many postdoc initiatives as a
member of leadership team.
 Jesse: He has been co-chair for SURPAS for past 6 months and has a contributed a lot
in that capacity.

 Roberta: She has been on council for a long time. She has served as email
communications in-charge and chaired social/ events committee. She continues to
contribute to council. Lately she has been on the long- Range planning committee
initiative by the Stanford administration.
 Bradley: He has been of council for 2 yrs, served as treasurer for a year and a half. He
also chaired 2016 postdco symposium. He is stepping down from leadership role
but wishes to continue to be on council. He is contributing as 2017 postdoc
symposium committee member.
Matthew, Clarice, Jesse and Bradley: Unanimously elected with all 13 votes in favor
Roberta and Huy: 12 yes, 1 abstain
Leadership Elections:
Elections are being held for the following positions- secretary, social media, advocacy
coordinator, email-communications
Saumyaa (Secretary): She has served in this position for over a year and carry on in this
Daniel (Social media): He hold this position currently and manages social media: FB,
twitter, Instagram. He also started a linkedin page. He feels Stanford is not that great in
keeping track of outgoing postdocs. For that he has started a linkendin page to keep
everyone connected. He is happy to continue in this position.
Iona (Advocacy coordinator): She is stepping down from webmaster position. During her 1
month on council as webmaster, she got to learn more about the advocacy initiatives of
SURPAS and would like to contribute as advocacy co-ordinator. She wants to focus on
diversity initiatives.
Sharon (E-mail communications): She is stepping down from co-chair position and thinks
taking over communications role would be a good fit. She has been filling in in this capacity
for Jorik in his absence. She can smoothly transition into this role and can work on
improving the communication channel.
The two newly elected council member can also vote now. So now we have 15 votes.
All 4 leadership position were elected unanimously with all 15 votes in favor.
Sports committee update (John Hegarty):
Hike are very popular and postdoc community wants them to be more consistent and
frequent. But for that more help is needed to organize them. To organize some of the bigger
events, e.g, there was a recent kayak trip in half moon bay, the major constraint is money.
At present the sports committee is budgeted at $50/month. One new addition is the soccer
pickup games. They have been going well, but to do them more frequently and consistently
we need more help in organization.

One question raised was if the hikes are kid friendly. John responded that a lot of
information about altitude, terrain etc. are posted. Parents are welcome to decide based on
that, if the hike is suitable for their kids.
John is proposing a budget increase for sports committee to $100/month
Increase in budget was approved unanimously by a raise of hands.
Long Range Planning- brief update (Roberta):
Around 2300 submissions were received. Each committee is divided into different reading
groups. All these reading groups will then gather together. More updates can be provided
at the next meeting.
By-law revision committee:
Following council members volunteered to be on the bylaw revision committee: Bradley,
Roberta, Lise, Iona, Matthew, Anand
Bradley volunteered to chair the committee.

NPAW: Sep18-22 nd
Events hosted last year during the NPAW were shared with the council. After that we broke
up into smaller groups of 2-3 and brainstormed for event ideas.
These were the ides:
 Group bike ride
 Sports tournament (basketball/pingpong/Frisbee/kickball/soccer)
 Yoga
 Postdoc Fun Run (with afterparty)
 Massages
 Meditation session (with $$ sponsorship for attendance numbers?)
 All-day open climbing wall
 Fitness challenge, ie crossfit-esque events
 Sunset hike (with dogs?)
 Postdoc appreciation breakfast/dinner hosted by faculty
 Speech/toast by Patti Gumport or President
 Pet-A- PI
 PI-DunkTank
 Event with rep from Natl Postdoc Assn
 Happy hour(s)!
 Coffee chats across campus, every day

 Ice cream socials
 Juice Bar
 Arillaga “swim-in” movie and pool party
 Stanford football tailgate
 Pet-a- dog/cat/other
 Lawn games/facepainting/bouncyhouse for kids
 Dance party
 PostdocPotluck
 Treasure hunt
 Free SURPAS/Postdoc T-shirt give-aways
 Free shuttle for VA/SLAC postdocs to on-campus and off-campus events
 Free childcare during events/all week
 Raffle for free prizes at BBQ
 Gift-cards
 Career Fair
 Workshop/educational event
 Lightning appts or coffee cart with career center staff
 Free professional headshots
These ideas can be discussed further among the leadership and we can decide which events
we will host this year.
Meeting was called to closure at 1pm by the co-chairs Jesse and Sharon

June 2017

Council Meeting Minutes
Stanford Postdoctoral Association
June 28th, 2017, 11.30-1:00pm
Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002

Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Virginie Gabel, Roberta Sala,
Arnaud Bruyas, Gina Bouchard, Joanna Przybyl, John Hegarty, Jorik Vande Groep, Meng-
Meng Fu, Bojk Berghuis, Katie Grabek, Tristan Lerbs, Sara Bolin, Bradley Tolar, Abby
(Absent Council members: Saumyaa, ,Christian La, Daniel Joyce, Fabio Zanini, Huy Nguyen,
Lise Retailleau, Marc Ferro)

Quorum:  Yes, 16 council members
 Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon Greenblum
 Unanimous approval of May 2017 minutes
Council member elections:
The following postdocs stood for election to SURPAS council- Anand Rao, Ioana Marin
They expressed interest in the following intiatives:
Anand – wants to better define the role of postdocs at Stanford and at a national level, and
wants to fight for better postdoc benefits
Ioana- also wants to clarify the postdoc role, and wants to actively find ways to promote
diversity. She would be interested in the idea of forming a SURPAS committee around
diversity initiatives
Election results: 16 yes for both Anand and Ioana. Congrats!
Motion to elect one co-chair at a time
Jesse brought up the fact that elections for co-chair are past due, and currently there is only one
nominee. He asked the council their opinion on electing just one co-chair until another candidate
is nominated. Sarah asked what we will do if no one else comes forward, and Sharon and Jesse
agreed they would be forming a contingency plan for that, but that we would have to decide at
this meeting what to do about the existing nominee. Roberta asked what the alternative would
be, and Jesse answered that we could wait a month or potentially more to hold the elections, but
there was no guarantee that the situation would be different. Anand put in another plug for
Virginie to run for co-chair, but she was not ready to do so at this meeting. In the end, it was put
to a vote, and the motion to elect one co-chair was unanimously approved by a show of hands.
Leadership Elections:

The following postdoc stood for elections to leadership positions:
Co-chair: Anand
Anand’s goals as co-chair would be to increase SURPAS publicity, make sure our email
channels are working as efficiently as they can, and find other ways to spread the word about
SURPAS activities and advocacy efforts. He also would like to make sure SURPAS works as a
team, and likes the idea of a flat hierarchy where decisions are made as a group as much as
Treasurer – Gina
Gina is enthusiastic in general about taking on a leadership role in SURPAS. She is especially
interested in housing and childcare, and while she is taking on the responsibilities of treasurer,
would be an active member of the leadership team in all regards.
Events Coordinator – Virginie
Virginie has enjoyed her term as events coordinator so far and is eager to continue. Sharon
asked whether there was anything she would like to work on improving over the next year, and
Virginie said she would like to get out earlier notifications about events, have a few bigger
events. Arsenii suggested that a google calendar of SURPAS events should be available for all
postdocs to sync with their personal google calendar.
Webmaster – Ioana
Ioana just joined council and is excited about taking on a leadership role to get more familiar
with SURPAS. She has previous website experience, and admitted that she finds parts of the
SURPAS website confusing, and would like to work on making it more intuitive.
Election Results: Ioana and Virginie were elected with 16 yes votes, and Anand and Gina
were elected with 15 yes votes and 1 abstention
Presentation of Housing and Transportation survey results
Arnaud presented the results of the survey SURPAS conducted last month about Housing
and Transportation. We had a decent response rate given the short amount of time the
survey was open, and respondents were mostly representative of the general postdoc
community, although fewer postdocs with families responded. He pointed out that
postdocs live all over the Bay Area, some very far away. Meng-meng asked if we could
break down location by family status – we have that info. Other notable points were that
international postdocs on average take >2 weeks to find housing upon arrival at Stanford,
and that there are a significant number of postdocs with families whose total household
salary is around the level of a single postdoc salary. These survey results were presented
to Sofie in OPA, and to attendees of the last PACPA meeting, and were quite striking. We
can use these results in long-range planning proposals, and put them on the SURPAS
website, but should think more about how else to publicize them (a Stanford Daily article
was suggested) and follow up for more info.

Events announcements
-SURPAS is subsidizing tickets to a SJ Earthquakes soccer game at Stanford stadium on July
1 st .
-There will be a joint happy hour and ice cream social organized with AWIS, held on the
Dean’s lawn at July 6 th .
Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 12:15pm
Long term planning
The rest of the time through 1pm was devoted to optional submission of LRP proposals.
There was a short brainstorming session about potential topics for proposals, and then
attendees got in groups of 3-4 to write and submit short proposals. Full proposals could be
submitted through the LRP website, or shorted ideas could be posted to Stanford Lorax.
Each group was asked to submit at least two proposals in any form they chose.

May 2017

Council Meeting Minutes
Stanford Postdoctoral Association
May 31 st , 2017, 11.30-1:00pm
Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002

Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa, Abby Sarkar,
Bradley Tolar, Virginie Gabel, Roberta Sala, Arnaud Bruyas, Gina Bouchard, Joanna
Przybyl, John Hegarty, Daniel Joyce, Jorik Vande Groep, Meng-Meng Fu, Bojk
Berghuis, Tristan Lerbs, Sara Bolin, Christian La, Arsenii Telichko, Ryan Kellog, Aldo
Cordova Palomera, Monica Mendes Kangussu, Ziba Rahbar, Matthew Gebbie, Iona
Marin, Anand Rao
Quorum: Yes, 12 council members
(+2 Meng-Meng Fu and Saumyaa came later. +1 Bojk came after the elections and
did not vote)
 Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon
Council member elections:
Following postdcos are stood for election to SURPAS council- Christian La, Sara
Bolin, Tristan Lerbs.
They expressed interest in the following intiatives:
Christian La – wants to focus on identity and community, wants to bring different
groups of people together
Sara Bolin- wants to work with sports and social committee
Tristan Lerbs- in interested in working with communications committee
Jorik was up for re-election to council. He has served as communications chair
(email) for SURPAS and helped out with various events organized by SURPAS.
Election results: 14 yes
Updates on Provost meeting:
The meeting with provost was help on May 5th. A committee was formed with
representatives from different postdoc associations on campus and some postdoc
parents to participate in this meeting. They met a couple of times before the
scheduled meeting to plan and prepare.

Some of the major issues discussed were the following:

Provost was prepared for concern. Major point here was that where should the
money come from? Provost believes that it should come from PIs and she was very
firm in her stance about it. The idea was proposed to get some tuition stream
directed towards postdoc salary but provost didn’t agree.
Anand commented that university can provide a much smaller but useful financial
assistance to postdcos by matching postdoc retirement contribution. Stanford will
also get a tax benefit for that.
Boik commented that there needs to be a paradigm shift. If professors get paid from
the tuition, postdocs should too as they play a makor role in mentoring and training

Provost wasn’t interested in building housing. Meng-Meng commented that Dean
Will Talbot is interested in finding housing solutions. Roberta commented that
another issue with housing is that there is a limitation of how many buildings can be
made on campus.
Meng-Meng asked that was diversity and the limitation that people from Stanford
can’t get faculty position in Stanford bought up during the Provost meeting? The
premise for this Stanford policy was to curtail people from the same department to
join Stanford as faculty (which are mostly not from under-represented minority), in
a way to increase diversity. But at the same time this policy hampers
underrepresented minority postdocs at Stanford to progress to a faculty position at
Bradley mentioned that over all Provost and the current administration is very
supportive of postdocs, as compared to the previous administration. Provost herself
was a postdoc at Stanford and was a mother during her postdoctoral period. So she
understands very well we face.
Jesse mentioned that VPGE (Patty Gumport) is very supportive and fights hard for
postdocs. At the end of the meeting she spent more time with SURPAs
representatives and encouraged them to push for postdoc issues with the new
Long term planning
Roberta and Abby serve on the long range planning committee.
Roberta: Everyone should submit all ideas /proposals whether a line or few
paragraphs. Max limit is 3 pages. We should submit as many proposals as possible.
Administration needs to hear directly from the postdocs what they care about. So if
more people submit proposals, even if it is about similar issues, it’s going to make an
impression on administration about the most pressing postdoc issues.
It is also going to give support to our allies in the administration (like VPGE Patty
Gumport). The idea that you are submitting should be beneficial to the whole
campus, not a specific school only.

One potential help in terms of housing can be letting postdocs be CA in
undergraduate resident halls.
Once you submit your ideas your name will be on the website. But if they pick up
your idea you will not be recognized for it individually.
Abby discussed the draft that SURPAs will submit (draft attached). The major issues
that SURPAS proposal targets are-
- limited housing/ transportation options
- subsidized housing
- housing stipend
- temporary housing
- continuation of the Go PASS (which currently 78% of postdocs use)
- childcare co-op for postdocs with kids
- childcare subsidies for postdocs
- increase in salary to NIH minimum plus cost of living adjustment (roughly
$20,000 extra)
- Postdocs’ tuition – for career development programs

It was decided to organize a townhall to engage postdocs in long term planning.
Jorik and Daniel asked that knowing the judging/ feedback criteria would be helpful.
Is it better to submit 100 separate proposals or 1 concrete proposal with 100
signatures on it?
Abby and Roberta replied that it’s not clear yet and they will ask this question again
and the next committee meeting.
Nomination for leadership positions
-Co- chairs
Jesse and Sharon discussed why it is great to be SURPAS co-chairs.
- It provides you with a leadership opportunity
- You get to experience peer to peer sharing of responsibility
- You get the opportunity to interact with the leadership at the administrative level
Christian asked that how did it affect co-chairs’ research and how did their PI take it.
Sharon responded that she told her PI after accepting the position. He was on board
with it. But ideal would be to discuss this with PI before-hand. She was able to
balance it out with her research. It also helped that she doesn’t do wetlab and most
of her work is computational.
Jesse responded that he shared it with his PI. In his words he was on board as long
as it didn’t take time away from research. Jesse was able to balance out his time
between research and SURPAS.

Bradley explained the duties of treasurer – to make a budget in consultation with
leadership and council, allocate budget to different committees and events, process
Saumyaa explained her roles as secretary- to prepare meeting agenda in
consultation with the co-chairs, note meeting minutes and send out council meeting
announcement to the council members.
-Communications (email)
Jorik explained that his role involves sending out email announcements for SURPAS.
-Communications (social media)
Daniel explained that under this role you manage various social media accounts for
SURPAS – facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedin
-Events coordinator
Virginie explained that this role involves organizing some of the SURPAS events and
assisting other committees to organize their events by providing them resources an
guiding them.

-Advocacy coordinator
Abby explained that in this role you gauge what are the needs of postdoc community
and try to make a push for it. Some of the recent initiatives she undertook were
planning for provost meeting and housing survey.
As webmaster you manage the SURPAS website, update the calendar in consultation
with events coordinator, keep SURPAS leadership team profiles and committee
pages updates. No coding experience is needed for this role.

Letter to new postdocs
Iris (postdoc) has shared a letter to postdocs on postdoc listserv based on her
experience at Stanford. SURPAS had been thinking of drafting a similar letter for a
while. Leadership has taken permission from her to use her letter as a draft to
formalize a letter for incoming postdocs to be sent out by OPA. Daniel and Ziba and
agreed to volunteer to work on this letter.
Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 1:00pm

April 2017

Council Meeting Minutes
Stanford Postdoctoral Association
April 26 2017, 11.30-1:00pm
Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002

Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa, Abby Sarkar,
Huy Nguyen, Virginie Gabel, Kate Brown, Arnaud Bruyas, Katharine Grabek, Gina
Bouchard, Perrine Hamel, Roberta Sala, Joanna Przybyl, John Hegarty, Daniel Joyce,
Marc Ferro, Lise Retailleau, Meng-Meng Fu, Bojk Berghuis, Maureece Levin, Chris
Lapointe, Volker Wiebking, Tristan Lerbs, Arsenii Telichko, Sara Bolin, Christian La
Quorum: Yes, 12 council members
(+1 Joanna arrived late and did not participate in the first election but participated
in the 2 nd election- social media chair)
 Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon
Candidates for new council members- John Hegarty, Daniel Joyce, Marc Ferro, Lise
Retailleau, Meng-Meng Fu, Bojk Berghuis
Re-election candidate- Saumyaa
Candidate for c-Lib representative position – Gina Bouchard
Co-chairs mentioned that in addition to getting involved in various SURPAS
initiatives, all new council members to be elected should be the eyes and ears and
bring different postdoc opinions and concerns back to council
Roberta asked if there is some specific initiative candidates are passionate about.
Candidate’s responses:
Lise Retailleau - To get in touch with new postdocs, organize meetings/coffee chats.
John Hegarty – He is already involved sports committee and symposium committee
and would to continue to do so.
Marc Ferro – He has been on French association with 300 members. He has
organized activities for them. SURPAS has a bigger reach and their events and
activities are at a larger scale. He wants to make efforts similar to what he did at
French association to target the much bigger audience of SURPAS.
Daniel Joyce- He wants to work towards increasing engagement of more postdocs.
He is also interested in transportation and housing initiatives.
Bojk Berghuis – He is interested in helping with social and sports events, to have a
united front to talk to administration.
Statements from re-election and C-Lib candidates-

Saumyaa – re-election
She has been serving as secretary of SURPAS for about a year. As a member of
leadership team she has participated in many SURPAS initiatives and has helped
organize many SURPAS events. She has served as co-chair of postdoc symposium
Gina Bouchard - c-Lib position
This position was open and she would like to help out being SURPAs representative
for the Libraries
Election Results:
The new council members, re-election of new member and C-LIB rep were elected
unanimously – 12 YES
Candidates for Social Media chair position – Daniel Joyce, Marc Ferro (They have
now been elected to the council and can stand for Social media chair elections)
Statements from Social Media chair position candidates -
Daniel Joyce- He would like to have conversation going and have more people
involved in SURPAS initiatives. He has some leadership experience form his grad
school. He feels organization is more top down and would like to bring more open
Marc Ferro- He would work towards advertising better, work towards building a
postdoc alumni network, have better communication around, keep everyone
connected and engage more new people.
Election Results:
Social media chair election (the newly elected 6 council members participated in
this election + Joanna who arrived late. So total eligible votes for this election are
Daniel Joyce- 12
Marc Ferro-6
1 Abstain
Daniel Joyce was elected as social media chair with a majority vote.

Provost meeting:
There will be a meeting with provost. A committee has been formed consisting of
representatives from SURPAs and other postdocs associations on campus and some
other members of postdoc community. Some preparatory meetings have been
organized before the actual meeting.
Meng-Meng Fu commented that there are a lot of overheads from the grants that we
don’t know where they go to. If every postdoc gets $100 from these overheads- it
will be a lot of money.

Roberta responded that over the past couple of years, issue had been lack of enough
volunteers rather than money to carry out various SURPAS initiatives, programs and
Long Range Planning:
There is also a Long Term Planning initiative by administration. Everyone can
submit ideas on their website. There are 4 diff focus area. There are SURPAS
members on 3 out of 4 of these committees. Roberta is on research committee.
Sharon mentioned that we as an organization will also submit a proposal and we
will have a discussion on that. The web link for long range planning is
Committee updates:
Communication committee: Kate
Have been publishing articles in Stanford Daily about postdocs.
Kate is leaving council.
Housing and Transportation committee: Perrine
Accomplished successful approval of the GoPASS program from University.
Roberta suggested that a proposal can be submitted from housing and
transportation committee for the long range planning initiative.
Perrine is leaving council.
SPIF: Joanna
Committee’s purpose is to review proposals from postdocs for events/ initiatives
and then make a decision to fund them through SURPAS. Joanna will be stepping
down from the SPIF chair position. Someone needs to take over
Sports and Social committee: John
Purpose of social and sports committee is community building and getting people
out of the lab. Events organized by the committee maybe be even more relevant for
international postdocs who may not have their own transportation. Committee is
looking to include other sports/outdoor events in addition to hikes.
People are interested in soccer or other sports events.
Roberta mentioned that SURPAS had organized volleyball tournament before and it
was popular. A previous postdoc had access to volleyball equipment from
biochemistry department. If we have some new council member from biochem
department we can revive volleyball tournaments.
Jesse mentioned that space limitation is also a hurdle in this direction. We could
think of even buying some sports equipment from SURPAS fund, but storing it
somewhere would be a problem.
Bojk suggested that we can potentially have events with rest of the
campus/graduate students- make sports teams, have color runs.

Consensus was that there is a growing interest and willingness in organizing
additional sport events provided we have more volunteers.

Symposium: Saumyaa
SURPAS organized Stanford Postdoc Symposium in Dec last year targeting as
Stanford postdocs. It was well attended. First half of the day were career
development workshops followed by lunch. Post lunch there were talks by postdocs
followed by poster session and reception. It was mainly sponsored by Dean Will
Talbot’s office and VPGE. Plan is to organize it again this year. Both Bradley and
Saumyaa will step down from co-chair position. We need to find new co-chairs and
re-build the committee.
Roberta asked if the plan was to alternate between Bay Area Postdoc Symposium for
one year and Stanford Symposium for another.
Sharon responded that since BAPS is happening at a farther location at Buck
Institute and since participation of Stanford postdocs there will be limited both
because of distance and space limitation, it will not be a stretch to organize Stanford
symposium as well within the same. In addition Stanford mainly committed for
some volunteer support. No monetary support is being provided to BAPS by
Teaching and Outreach committee: Katharine
Most of the teaching, pedagogy things have been taken up by OPA. They arranged
for a collaborative teaching project in Mexico. They regularly organize Cal Academy
nightlife events. Undergraduate postdoc mentorship program initiated by Abby can
be added onto committee’s
Upcoming events:
HH on Mon, May1st – Virginie is organizing it
Wellness Fair- May24th, 4.30-6.30pm. Organized in association with OPA. We are
hosting the drinks and icecream.
Bay Area Postdoc Symposium – June10th. Focus in on science communication.
Postdocs will get an opportunity to communicate their science to a broad audience.
Nominations are open for co-chairs:
Elections are due for new co-chairs next month.
Francesca has nominated Roberta for co-chair position
Roberta has nominated Abby Sarkar for co-chair position
New Leadership team election will happen the month after.
Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 1:00pm

March 2017

Council Meeting Minutes
Stanford Postdoctoral Association
March29 2017, 11.30-1:00pm
Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002

Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa, Bradley Tolar,
Abby Sarkar, Huy Nguyen, Virginie Gabel, Kate Brown, Jorik VandeGroep, Arnaud
Bruyas, Katie Grabek, Francesca, Fabio Zanini, Gina Bouchard, Daniel Joyce, Marc
Ferro, Rob Munn, Claudia Schmuckermair, Jacek Kozuch, Simon Haziza, Yu-Wen
Alvin Huang, Tobia Morawietz, Bo Zhao, Meng-Meng Fu, Lise Retailleau, Vanessa
Jane Bukas, Gernot Neumayer,
Quorum: Yes, 12 council members
(+1 Gina got elected to council and was included in later part of the proceedings)
(+1 Fabio- arrived late, included in later part of the proceedings, post elections)
 Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon
Discussion on March council meeting proceedings and elections:
Francesca raised the concerns that any changes that are being made in practice
should be first made in the bylaws.
Following actions taken in the last 2 council meetings are up for discussion:
- Jorik’s election to communication (email) leadership position in his absence.
He had provided a written statement.
- Virginie was elected to events coordinator leadership position, but had not
resigned from her previous social media chair position during the meeting
- Elections result of March meeting were communicated through email after
the meeting.
Motion for approval of:
- Joriks’ election - Unanimous approval (12 yes)
- Virginie’s election - Unanimous approval (12 yes)
- Communication of election result via email - Unanimous approval (12 yes)
Approval of Feb meeting minutes: A non-unanimous majority approval
11 yes, 1 No (Francesca)
Elections and Nominations:
Gina Bouchard was elected to council as a new council member with unanimous
approval (12 yes)

Motion for accepting self-nomination of Gina for Library rep position: non-
unanimous majority approval - 11 yes, 1 no (Francesca)
Abby self- nominated for SOM Faculty rep position during the meeting. Motion for
accepting self-nomination of Abby for SOM Faculty Rep: unanimous approval-12 yes
Motion for electing Abby for SOM Faculty rep in the current council meeting by
Bradley Tolar:
- As the position had been advertised for past 3months and there is an
upcoming Faculty meeting before the next SURPAS council meeting, Bradley
proposed a motion to conduct the elections during the current council
- Result: All yes – 14 ( includes Gina vote who got elected into council earlier
during the meeting and Fabio who arrived late to the meeting)
Updates from leadership (Sharon/Jesse)
1. NPA- NPA meeting was attended by Sharon, Jesse and Virginie from the
council and a few other postdocs. There were posters submitted by OPA in
addition to poster from SURPAS, which increased the total number of
submissions from Stanford and thus may explain a low acceptance from
SURPAS submissions. SURPAS representatives got an opportunity to connect
with a Postdoc Associations from many new institutions and will be looking
to share information with them on events and advocacy efforts that work.
2. PRISM (Postdoc Recruitment Initiative at the School of Medicine) – It was
hosted by the OPA. It’s purpose is to bring in graduating PhD students from
backgrounds underrepresented in biosciences to meet and interview with
Stanford professors for postdoctoral positions. SURPAS council members and
some other postdocs volunteered to meet/greet these candidates, host
lunches and dinners and escorting them to interviews. It was a success.
3. PACPA meeting- At PACPA there was a vote for increase of 3.5% in salary,
but also a recognition that there is a need to think of more sustainable ways
to ease the postdoc financial burden.
4. Long term planning projects for postdocs on voluntary basis – initiative
by Sue Mc Connel
Sue McConnel reached out to SURPAS for suggestions of postdocs to serve on
a committee to review long-range planning proposals focused on building
Meng-Meng fu expressed interest in this.
5. Meeting with Provost – A meeting with Provost has been scheduled for
May 3, Wed from 11:30am – 12:30pm. At this meeting 3 things will be
discussed – 1) What postdocs do for Stanford community with emphasis on
mentoring/teaching. 2) What resources we have that are great with focus on

OPA and administration 3) What resources would benefit our
community/enrich our experience.
Co-chairs have been asked to limit this meeting to 15-20 postdocs which
includes 2 leaders from each of the 4 other Postdoc Groups on campus and
probably 2 postdocs with family/kid’s so that their perspective is heard
(based on Fabio’s recommendation). Therefore, it will not be possible to have
the entire council join this meeting. A committee will be created to plan this
Fabio raised a point that there should be more critical thinking on the
content of this meeting and the concerns that are most important to be raised
6. BAPS (Bay Area Postdoc Symposium) – Bay Area postdoc Syposium in
being organized by Bay area Postdoc association. It will be in Marin county at
Buck Institute. This location was selected due to the difficulty in securing a
big venue in SF. Focus of the symposium is on science communication. Some
postdocs from SURPAS council and some other Stanford postdocs are willing
to volunteer for the event.
Motion for SURPAS support of BAPS (only voluntary help): Unanimous
approval (14 yes)

Report on SURPAS Budget (Bradley)
Bradley shared a report of past expenditures. Based on the committees finalized
today budget can be re-allocated to different committees and events. Our last
SURPAS HH went over budget. We should keep it low in future or decide as a council
to direct more money towards it. SPIF has been allotted a big share of budget but it
is being under used. Symposium was one of our major event last year but most of its
funding came from Dean Will Talbot’s office and VPGE. SURPAS spent a very small
amount on it.
Stanford scientists support immigrants – Initiative by Meng-Meng Fu
She is involved in advocacy for international postdocs on immigration issues.
Main concerns are:
- Muslim Ban
- Changes to H1B visa:
o H1b premium processing has been discontinued.
o Grassley Bill gives priority to those with American degrees
The committee’s goal is to advocate for policy changes in favor of postdocs by
communicating to local legislators.
So far they have organized meetings with local congressmen/women - Ro Khanna,
Zoe Lofgren.
Her primary focus is on the changes that are being proposed to H1b visas.
How can postdocs help :

By providing feedback. If there is a specific issue due to sudden changes in laws,
postdocs (even international) should contact their local congressmen/women. They
can join for the meetings that Meng-Meng organizes with the local representatives.
They can engage more people in this conversation.

Advocacy Initiatives (Abby Sarkar)
This was her first meeting as advocacy coordinator. She proposed the following
- Meeting with Provost, May 3 rd , 2017 - Make a temporary committee for that
- Data Collection – To gather data to argue for postdoc value on campus, and
determine postdoc needs among the community. This can fall under
Community Engagement and Education committee
- Communication- Communicate postdoc value to campus and postdoc needs
among the community. Various surpass initiatives already in work- white
paper, blog, Stanford Daily Articles, will be a part of this. This can fall under
communications committee.
- Housing - Determine postdoc housing needs and brainstorm methods to
address. There is plan under process to make a heatmap of where postdocs
live in Bay Area in association with OPA. This falls under housing committee.
- Undergraduate outreach program- To engage postdocs in undergraduate
education and mentorship. This can be under Community Engagement and
Education committee
So the following four committees can fall under Advocacy coordinator –
- Provost meeting committee
- Community Engagement and Education committee
- Housing
- Communication
Committee chairs of each of these committees should set some long-term and short-
term goals. They should with advocacy chair twice every term to discuss committee
goals, activities, allies and support.

Discussion on committees
In addition to the committees proposed to be under the Advocacy coordinator,
following committees/ changes to committees were proposed-
- Housing & Transportation committee – Transportation can be combined with
housing committee, since these two issues are related to each other.
Francesca explained that transportation committee is still needed as we need
to keep collecting data for GoPass. Later on it can make push for VTA pass.
- Community Engagement and Education committee- Undergraduate
mentorship and teaching committees initiatives can potentially be combined
under this umbrella
- Social and Sports committee- This will combine social events –such as Happy
Hours, coffee hours and sports events- mainly the monthly hikes.

- SPIF – SPIF needs more members. We will promote SPIF to recruit more
- Research Symposium committee- we need to recruit new co-chairs for
symposium committee.
Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 1:00pm

February 2017

Council Meeting Minutes

Stanford Postdoctoral Association

Feb22 2017, 11.30-1:00pm

Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1002



Council members: Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Virginie Gabel, Roberta Sala, Joanna Przybyl, Abby Sarkar, John Hegarty, Kate Brown, Fabio Zanini, Huy Nguyen, Arnaud Bruyas, Jorik, Saumyaa, Katherine Dennis, Joan Camunas, Nynke van den Berg, Gina Bouchard, Nahid Shahmarvand, Alexandra Nagy, Andres Montoya Castillo, Tobia Morawietz, Lisa Selzer


Quorum:  Yes, 12 council members



·         Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon Greenblum


Update on meeting with university administrators (Sharon and Jesse)

Co-chairs met with Patti Gumport, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, to discuss how she can help advocate for postdocs, how she can connect us to others in Stanford admin who could be powerful allies, and strategies for getting our message across.  She is helping in setting up a meeting with Provost Drell.


Jesse gave a short presentation at a meeting of department administrators to make sure everyone is aware of SURPAS and our role on campus. He got great feedback, and it would be nice to do this regularly.  Admins are important allies for reaching postdocs from underrepresented departments.


Election of coordinators:

Events coordinator:

Virginie Gabel has been elected for this position with 11 yes and 1 abstain

Advocacy coordinator:

Abby Sarkar has been elected for this position with 12 yes


Discussion on coffee chats held:

Huy and Virginie organized one at VA. Main complaint they received was that VA is far away, so VA postdocs are not always connected to postdocs on main campus. Other major concerns were housing and salary. They are happy with the SURPAS happy hour events.

Feedback from rest of the coffee chats will be submitted to co-chairs by all the organizers.


Discussion on Committee restructuring:

-Teaching committee – It may be renamed to outreach committee since most of the work they do, falls under that. Additionally OPA has taken over teaching programs for postdocs. They should not be burdened with organizing family-oriented events. - - Family – There should be a separate family committee to organize family oriented events and work on the issues that postdocs with families face.

- SPIF – It is going well but we need to put more workforce in it, streamline it, have some templates ready that people can use for submitting applications, make a guidelines pdf

- Sports- John will help Merle to organize events.

- International – This committee can work on transitional housing, letter to incoming postdocs, organizing help with taxes (law school students can volunteer)

- Transportation- They can work on VTA pass, gather information on bike routes.

- White Paper – Can potentially work on putting together the best practices on how to start an advocacy forum.

- Symposium- Can stay active few months per year before organizing the annual symposium. Rest of the year they can remain dormant.



(More stars indicate having that committee is more essential)


Some other departments off campus, are disconnected and don’t even receive postdoc announcement emails.

We should press OPA that postdocs by default should be enrolled for postdoc announcement list and they can have the option to opt-out, instead of the current opt-in system.



Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 1:00pm








January 2017

Council Meeting Minutes

Stanford Postdoctoral Association

Jan 18, 2016, 11.30-1.00pm

Old Union Room, Room 216



Council members: Perrine Hamel, Katharine Grobek, , Huy Nguyen, Roberta Sala, Jesse Isaacman-Beck, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa Saumyaa, Koshika Yadava, Bradley Tolar, Abby Sarkar, Kate Brown, Virginie Gabel, Arnaud Bruyas, Rhea Daughtery, Meritt Maduke, John Hegarty, Arielle Fischer


Quorum:  Yes, 11 council members



·         Meeting called to order by co-chairs, Jesse Isaacman-Beck , Sharon Greenblum


Election of old council member and new council members:

Sharon: 11 yes

Virginie: 11 yes

Arnaud: 11 yes

Elected with all 11 yes.


SURPAS Structure

Jesse explained SURPAS structure to everyone. Slack channel ownership will be transferred to Sharon.


Election of leadership positions:

(13 council members, including Virginie and Arnaud)

Leadership election results:

Communications- Social Media: Virginie – 12 yes, 1 Abstain

Treasurer: Bradley – 12 yes, 1 abstain

Webmaster: Huy -13 yes

Secretary: Saumyaa – 12 yes, 1 abstain

Communications- Email: Jorik – 13 yes


Rhea Daughtery (Associate Director for Connections at the School of Medicine Career Center)

SoMCC focuses on 3 Cs: counselling, curriculum, and connection. SoMCC is organizing an expo on April 5th called BDIE (Bioscience and Biotechnology Industry Expo). It is a sort of meet and greet with people from industry. This event was started by graduate students and eventually SoMCC took over responsibility to organize it. 

To help organize this expo, career center is going to start an ambassador’s program. This program is for both postdocs and graduate students. Through this program they can help organize the expo and have a say in which companies and organizations to invite for it. They will get the opportunity to connect with employers they might be interested in. It is a pilot program this year, with student/ postdoc participation on a voluntary basis. Depending on its success, career center will consider paying students/postdocs part-time, who will join the program next year.

Concerns: Many international postdocs/ students have visa restrictions to work or get paid outside of their regular hours.


Merrit Maduke (Previous Chair, Provost's Advisory Committee on Postdoctoral Affairs)

She has been asked by administration to work on a leadership development project for postdocs at SOM. After meeting several postdocs and having a couple of brainstorming sessions, decision was made to work on building a postdoc alumni network and to organize networking events with them.

Alumni office at Stanford has a postdoc alumni mailing list which we don’t have access to, but they are willing to send out an email/survey to that mailing list on our behalf. Objective of this survey will be to assess the interest of postdoc alumni to participate in networking events on campus. Alumni office already conducted a survey for themselves. Data from that survey will also be shared with the SURPAS council. Will Talbot is willing to fund this project. Some inspiration can be drawn from the SOAR mentorship dinner organized by graduate students annually.  


Outline of the project:

-          4 month project

-          A group of volunteers (6-8 postdcos) who would meet every week

-          Get the survey out

-          Figure out a pilot event

-          Plan the event


Vote on bylaws amendments:

Voting was done on bylaws amendments to introduce two new leadership positions:

-          Events coordinator

-          Advocacy coordinator

One recommendation was made that for these two particular positions, council members who preferably have been on council for 3-4 months and thus have a better understanding of the workings of SURPAS, should be considered.  This clause maybe officially added to bylaws in future.


Bylaw amendments: approved with 13 yes.



Coffee chats:

Council members from various departments will organize coffee chats in their respective departments. Idea is to interact with postdocs and figure out what issues they want SURPAs to work on for them. A document will be sent out to all the volunteers by co-chairs with instructions on purchasing coffee, re-imbursements and a questionnaire for the chats to get them started. Feedback from all the coffee chats will be discussed in next meeting. That feedback can help us focus our efforts on specific goals for the upcoming year.


Upcoming events:

Hike –Merle needs help organizing hiking events

NPA conference- coming soon and we will plan events for that soon.

HH – Organize a January Happy hour.

Grant writing academy retreat – John Hegarty will coordinate that.



Meeting called to closure by co-chairs Jesse and Sharon at 1:00pm.