April 2018

SURPAS council meeting

April 26th, 11.30 -1pm

Green Earth Science, Room 365

Meeting Attendees:

Council Members: Bradley Tolar, Kacie Deters, Christian La, Robert Sala, Catherine Tcheandjieu, John Hegarty, Virginie Gabel, Ioana Marin, Mariapaola Siddoli, Lise Retailleau, Sharon Greenblum, Matthew Gebbie, Anand Rao, Jorik VanDe Groep, Daniel Joyce.

Others: Justin Klein, Fatemeh Rassouli, Chuanxun Su, Edward Lan, Aodhan Butler, Eytham Sooibgoi, Andy Tay.

Approval of March council meeting minutes:

March council meeting minutes were approved by Anand, seconded by Sharon.

Discussion on SURPAS budget increase:

We’ve been getting 15k/yr. But that was initiated when we had 1200 postdocs, now we have doubled the number of postdocs. But our budget hasn’t changed. For the past couple years we’ve had a surplus, ie. this year we started with 30k. But this year we’ve done a lot more events (with 2 new committees), so we’ve spent a lot more money.

We’ve proposed a 100% budget increase. We’ve submitted a detailed plan for increased budget use to OPA. They are reviewing it. So far, it’s been well-received. We will follow-up in July/August.

Q (Christian La) : When would the new budget be effective?

A: Next year (this coming fiscal year)

We also asked for bridge funding to get us to next year’s allotment and Sofie said yes.

Q (Roberta): How much do we have? Maybe we could cut down on a few social events to get us through?

A: We are limited our social events to save money

PRISM letter:

We are drafting a letter with impressions of how the PRISM program went this year, with input from PRISM candidates, and from postdocs/ and SURPAS. We will meet with OPA, and they are looking forward to hearing from us.

Q: Is PRISM program still only for School of Medicine?

A: Nope, not anymore!

But SoM has deeper pockets, and therefore can try experimental programs more easily. That’s why lots of things start there. The PRISM program went from 9 candidates during year 1 when it was just SoM, to 26 now in year 2.

SURPAS Structure:

New elections will be held in June for the leadership.

Ioana led a post-it activity:

-Why do you serve, and what do you get?

-What are the struggles?

Leadership Positions:

Descriptions from outgoing leaders:

Virginie, events coordinator:

— point person for all events

— creative social planning

— contact with other universities and administrators

— direct interaction with postdocs

Daniel, social media:

— runs facebook, instagram, linkedin

— doesn’t take much technical skill

— it’s fun, gives you good contacts

— first point of reference for new postdocs

Ioana, advocacy coordinator:

— oversees committees

— diversity and inclusivity activism

— creative ways to promote community

Gina, treasurer:

— manage surpas budget

— lots of say in what org can do

— can propose increases

Sharon, Communications:

— point person for outgoing emails

— runs 2 listserves

— helps with communications committee

Anand, co-chair:

— direct interaction with admin

— running monthly meetings

— ask him for details!

NPA updates:

Anand and Ioana went. It’s our 20th year! We’re one of the largest postdoc association, so there was a lot of interest in learning from us. We should start thinking of poster ideas for next year!

Logo contest:

We will ask the entire postdoc community to submit designs for a new SURPAS logo. The winning design will receive an amazon gift card. More details on the contest will be announced in an email.



● Family festival: Happened this month. 180 attendees! Bouncy house, face painting were big draws. Maybe hold another family event at the end of the year

● Postdoc Prom: It was awesome. Had a great turnout.


● Spring Festival: May 9, need volunteers!

● Bay Area Postdocs: picnic in SF, potentially June 2, and Bay area symposium, potentially Sept 8.

● Sailing trip: June 16, 36 ppl, registration open next week, $40-45/person

● Alumni event: Sept 2018

● SURPAS mini- Research Symposium: Potentially in August 2018

● LA Galaxy vs SJ Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium: June 30th

March 2018

SURPAS council meeting

March 28, 11.30am-1pm

Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1161

Meeting Attendees:

Council Members: John Hegarty, Virginie Gabel, Ioana Marin, Mariapaola Siddoli, Lise Retailleau, Sharon Greenblum, Saumyaa, Arnaud Bruyas, Gina Bouchard, Matthew Gebbie, Christian La, Anand Rao, Callie Wiginton, Jorik, Clarice Aiello, Kacie Deters, Daniel Joyce.

Others: Hua Ying, Leaonardo Tozzi, Nicolas Gauthier, Aaron Horning, Titilola Falasinnu, Eneko Axpe.

Quorum: Yes, 17 council members present (? members arrived after the election)

Re-election of old council members:

Gina, Saumyaa, Virginie, Sharon were re-elected successfully to the council

Housing Survey summary: (Anand Rao)

A housing survey was sent out the stanford postdocs. We received 225 responses in 2 weeks.

Some of data points that stand out from the survey:

-60% said the either have second jobs or get external help.

-There were some postdocs whose household income is more than 175k


Lola: She is one of the postdocs whole household income is more than 175k, because her partner is in tech. And that is how she can afford to have her third child and that’s why they were able to make the decision to move here.

Gina: It would be great to leave the survey open for a few days after spring festival. She plans to talk about it the the event. So we can get more feedback for postdocs with family after the event.

The council agreed with leaving the survey open till late April.

PRISM summary:

Ioana: 26 people came to campus, mostly in SOM, except 2- one interviewed for Earth department, and one in humanities and sciences.

SURPAS tried to make it comfortable for them. They were sent a letter from SURPAS. We escorted them from one meeting to the other. We hosted a SURPAS Happy Hour for them and hosted dinner and brunch sponsored by OPA.

Anand: Among the 26 candidates, they have 10 job offers.

How it works: PRISM candidates submit a list of faculty members, that they were interested in. And the Interviews were scheduled with those PIs, if the PIs agreed.

Deb: many profs don’t see a benefit in it. Up to 6 interviews were scheduled for them at one time. It was too stressful.

Gina: But having more interviews is a good thing? It increase there chances of getting a job and make the most out of the trip.

Natalie: Last year Robin scheduled the interviews. This year candidates had to do it themselves. It was too much work for them.

Last year there were less candidates. This year they had 26. OPA didn’t have bandwidth and/or manpower to schedules all the interviews for 26 candidates.

Deb : Robin said she is applying for a big grant this year and they need to show success rate. So they encouraged candidates to schedule upto 6 interviews.

Natalie : Scheduling burden on candidates was very hard. They even had to book rooms themselves.

Sharon: Can we buddy up with each candidate?

Anand: The burden should not fall on us.

Ioana: We offered help. But OPA turned us down.

Daniel/ Clarice: Let’s put together a list of issues raised.

Lola: Use the sandwich strategy to provide this feedback to OPA. Start with positive, then negative, and end again with positive.

Housing committee update:

Arnaud: Committee members- Natalie, Paola, and Pavlos

They met Sofie to ask how can we help administration in bringing about a change in housing situation. What can we provide to make it possible.

Data: 900 postdocs arrive per year , about 80/month

60% internationals, 20% have family (majority of them are international)

If Stanford was to provide transitional housing, it will be filled every month. So it will be worth their effort to invest in that. They won’t run into a situation where units are sitting vacant. Because unlike students, postdocs come in year round. That can be our advantage.

There is a lot of subsidized housing off campus for grad students for now, which Stanford plans to discontinue, as all these students will move to the new housing being built on campus, by 2019. Sofie is pushing to stop Stanford from discontinuing the lease on those units, and give them on subsidized rates to incoming postdocs.

Saumyaa: There are lot of students currently living in Oak creek apartments, on Sand Hill Road

Virginie: The average rate there is $1400/month for 2 bd 2 ba (utilities included)

Clarice: How do we chose, who should benefit from it?

Pavlos: They had the discussion on that, when they met Sofie.

Natalie: Gather information on how other universities are doing it,for example Columbia. Columbia has a good housing system going. Some schools do lottery, some allot spots to each department.

Ultimately it is not for us to decide. But we can give our input. There could be two categories: a lottery pool, and another group based on hardship.

Lise: It is difficult to figure out a standard metric

Paola: Postdoc population on campus fit into a lot of categories, and we can do that work for the administration. To help them figure out some metrics and different categories.

Natalie : We can put up a list of demands.

A hard ask: a better website for the housing resources

A soft ask: preferred locations for transitional housing: stanford west, stanford guest house.

We need to keep pushing for permanent housing too. Places like columbia have it all sorted out.

Your housing arrangement is ready before you get it.

Ioana: Maybe we can work at our end on putting more resources on website

Pavlos: Sofie already asked Stanford Union to give us a loan. She also asked Stanford, if they can give us an advance payment, to cover for deposits etc. to rent apartments.

Natalie: Sofie wants to phase out the hardship fund

Anand: rules to hardship fund have changed but it still exists

Budget increase:

Lise: We did a lot of new activities last year. We have asked Sofie to increase budget.

She asked us to prepare a budget proposal.

Clarice: Are we allowed to ask for outside money


PI status and conflict negotiation support:

PI status:

Clarice: She is c-res representative. If you are not affiliated with SOM, you cannot apply for grants with PI status, and C-res is ok with that. But to be a fair, in the spirit of equity of postdocs, other schools should be served the same deal. A survey was sent out 2 weeks ago and she only received 75 responses. How can she motivate folks to respond better to survey.

Bradley : Will share the survey with school of earth.

Gina : There were logging issues to the survey.

Clarice : She heard about those issues and they have been addressed. She plans to compile a report based on the survey data and share it with the C-res committee.

50 applied to such grants, 40 were given a green light to apply, and only 3 were awarded such grants.

Conflict/Stress support:

When Clarice was an MIT, she ran a program called REFS: resources of easing friction and stress. Whenever students needed help with such issues, they could reach out to REFS. There is no such resource at Stanford. She wants to start this program at Stanford.

A person has to go through 40 hrs of training to become a REFS representative. The training is conflict resolution, negotiation.

Sofie is ok with this. If there is any support for this program from SURPAS, she can start working on that. And also people who wanna volunteer, should contact her.

Bradley volunteered to get involved in the program.

An email announcement about it can be sent out through SURPAS.

Postdoc alumni event:

Virginie: She has a meeting with Meritt day after and Meritt is expecting feedback from postdocs on what kind of event postdocs need.

Should it be a formal dinner or more casual and flexible meet and greet and cocktail hour.

John: It should be a mix of both

Bradley: Are all the alumni being invited in the industry

We can plan a speed dating event!

Meritt also wants to provide childcare for this event.

February 2018

SURPAS council meeting

Feb 28, 11.30am-1pm

Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1161

Meeting Attendees:

Council Members: John Hegarty, Virginie Gabel, Ioana Marin, Mariapaola Siddoli, Brian Griffiths, Clarice Aiello, Sharon Greenblum, Lise Retailleau, Roberta Sala, Matthew Gebbie,Christial La, Arnaud Bruyas, Dilip Thomas, Anand Rao, Saumyaa Saumyaa.

Others: Perrine Janiand, Leonardo Tozzi, Stephanie Lau, Oiva Arvola, Pavlos Tsantilas, Kacie Deters, Justin Klein, Subhomoy Das, Jennifer Wilson, Aldo Cordova, Debra Karhson.

Quorum: Yes, 13 council members present (2 members arrived after the election)

New council member elections:

3 candidates ran for council election:

- Pavlos Tsantilas: He joined Stanford a few months back. He has been an active memeber of grad school student organizations. He is enthusiastic to become a part of postdoc association now.

- Kacie Deters: She has been here for 7 months. Have been attending council meetings for a while. She is already a part of teaching and outreach committee and would like to join the council.

- Callie Wigington : She has been a postdoc here for 3 years. She co-chaired symposium last year and plans to do so this year as well. She would like to join the council.

All of them were succesfully election to council. (13 council members present at the time of election. All votes yes.)

Symposium committe updates: (Callie Winginton)

Symposium committe plans to organize a mini symposium in fall of 2018. This will be good for continuity and testing out some of the ideas the received from last year’s symposium. Based on this a bigger symposium can be planned for spring of 2019.

Plan for the fall mini-symposium-

-tentatively in mid August.

-half day event

-have lightning talks

- have a networking lunch session to discuss collaborative project ideas. This can be incentivized by a seed grant from VPGE for ideas coming out of this discussion.

-Location will be on main campus but a little removed from the research buildings, possibly somewhere near Tressider. This will also take it out of SOM campus.

Comments from council:

Roberta: An off campus location might help with retention of attendees

Callie: No support from administration. We don’t wanna make it too inaccessible

Anand: Have a career fair at 2019 spring symposium

Callie: Will Talbott also said that it’s a good idea

Discussion on LRP white papers:

Ioana divied up the papers into different groups and each person was supposed to add a couple of comments to them.

Sharon: ’Engagement beyond Stanford’

It revolved around the questions-

-How does Stanford embody is stated value?

-How is Stanford putting into action their statement that they want to train and educate students?

Something that was brought up a lot, something that SURPAS can think more about was building communities beyond Stanford by engaging other communities in the neighborhood

-schools, general public etc.

Another key point was that we at Stanford are also communicating beyond Stanford just by being Stanford. That how Stanford treats its own students and postdocs, sets a precedence and others follow.

Clarice: ‘Housing’ (co-reviewed with Jesse)

If more people can have a look at this paper, it would be better because it is extremely important. Stanford is set up for a a big disappointment in this matter. Stanford is making some steps in right direction:

- people with work from home profile have flexible schedules

- certain bonuses related to housing

Jesse - Housing problem drains talent to other places because some people decide not to come to Stanford. Since it’s not only postdocs who face this issue, it might be good to team up with other communities, like grad students with family, young faculty etc.

Matthew Gebbie: ‘Governance’ and ‘Diversity and Inclusion’

First was mainly about ata and its availability.

For latter- Stanford is cognizant of the lack of diversity, but there are no steps being taken to address this. It also talks about intellectual diversity. Community is also concerned of growing presence of engineering- their prestige and popularity, as compared to humanity fellows.

Comments from council:

Deb : Stanford views it this way, that if you are the best you to to engineering.

John : Develop programs and community centers. Build programs for diversifying the faculty.

Anand : Diversity and inclusion as a long term strategy. They have to be not only recruited but included well, so they feel a part of the community.

Matthew: How do you financially incentivize faculty to hire diverse backgrounds?

Promotion, etc could be the incentives.

Sharon: Provost liked the idea of posting postdoc salaries and diversity numbers for each dept.

Pavlos: It should not be trackable to an individual person.

But public school salaries are posted for each person.

John - There was a call for presidential review to look at the gap of living cost and pay, and to see what can be done to provide subsidies, transportation and better public transport.

Lise: ‘Career Development’

There should a committee for postdocs where they can go to, to discuss what to do

Arnaud: ‘ how to use the money for postdocs’

Breakdown of different costs and proof that there is no enough to match the living cost

Roberta: ‘Finance’

Pretty detailed breakdown of the cost. Subsidized housing for just grad students is billions of dollars. Subsidized housing for postdoc is a huge cost.

Iona: ‘Education’

Faculty are not rewarded enough for mentoring and education. This should be incentivize. We were usually included into undergrad, graduate student lineup. There was not enough appreciation of how much postdocs teach. That is something we can bring up.

‘Postdoc status’

- We don’t feel respected, we have this limbo status. Either give us all the benefits of students or staff(preferrably staff).

- As students (postdocs included) we don’t feel heard. Administration makes all the decisions. They grow faster than us. It’s our university and we should be heard.

Comments from council:

Deb : This paper was written by an undergrad. The whole long range planning initiative was run by postdocs/students/undergrads. LORAX came out of student work. A lot of other things as part of this process. Nobody on LRP got paid or respected while they did a year worth of work. There was a big emotional reward for service- that included engaging with community within the stanford and outside. If this could be considered for promotion or something, that might mean something.

Anand: ‘Engagement beyond Stanford’

There wasn’t almost any postdoc mention

1: There was discussion on satellite locations, digital connection, spatial environment (be more aware and prudent and our resources).

2. Alumni engagemnet- the more alumni we keep engaged with community, more they will give back to Stanford. Provost disagrees. This is a possible revenue stream.

3. Outside partnership- Political engagemnet and private partnerships.

Comment from council:

Roberta- Social sceince paper that Anand should see on ‘ Poverty and equity’

4. Diversity and Inclusion: Inclusion should also be the focus. Diversify faculty- that will automatically improve the community for minoritized individuals.

5. Sustainability- how we should engage with urban communities-eg. planetary health, support for fundamental health. There is too much focus on translational research.

There a lot of common threads that bridge all the different committees

Discussion on Transitional Housing:

Vice Provost (Patty) sees it as a low hanging fruit, that is achievable. Moving to Stanford is becoming a priveledge. People who have moeny to foot the initial bills for deposits etc.can move much more comfortably.

3-6 months subsided housing to new incoming postdocs should be provided. Preference can be given to postdocs with non-earning dependents.

How can we help her achieve this?

Patty needs data.

Arnaud can help with that

Lise: How long should this transitionla housing be, what is the eligibility criteria, who gets the priority?

If we were to tasked with structuring the prgram, how would we do it?

There are about 800 new incoming postdocs /year

How will we define low socio-economic status?

- We all have our Phd salary to show,

- We are not dependent on parents

Kacie- Can Stanford run your credit?

A good starting ground can the way they structured the ongoing hardship fund. We can learn through OPA what criteria do they use to select people for that. That can be used a model to structure transitional housing program.

Also Stanford West has a subsidized housing program. They also already have a existing system to qualify for subsidized housing. That is another place we can get information from.

Deb- Postdoc with family get the priority automaticaly. Single people are always left out.

Kacie- We can have dedicated % for each group

Clarice- What will be the location of this housing?

Anand- That should not be our concern. We can just propose the number of units required.

Matt: Family can be defined as individual with1 dependent it could be child, non working partner or a parent).

Arnaud: What does the university expect from us? And what is the timeline?

Ioana: What they need form us is constant pressure. At the last PACPA meeting, affordability for postdocs came out 3 times. Patty is pushing for both transitional housing, and long term housing solution. We have to keep emphasizing the magnitude of our needs.

We should assemble a Transitional housing task force!! Hopefully before March28 (PACPA meeting). Ioana, Lise and Anand can go to meeting with a rough draft of the proposal.

Sharon: In terms of visibilty of this issue, we are planning to have April Mailer dedicated to housing.

Other ideas:

- An Open mic night for housing horror stories (2 potential candidates already- Catherine and Natalie).

- Interview incoming postdcos at luncheon about their housing search

Upcoming Events:

SBPA wine down - 2/28

Hike- 3/3 near La honda. (Hike is always on first sat of every month)

PRISM weekend- March15-18th,

PRISM HH - March 15th Thurs

SF St Patty’s day- March 17th Fri

Postdoc prom - April21st

Pickup Soccer and Volleyball

January 2018

SURPAS council meeting

Jan31st, 11.30am-1pm

Lorry Lokey Stem Cell Building, G1161


Meeting Attendees:

Council Members:

Virginie Gabel, Arnaud Bruyas, Bradley Tolar, Daniel Joyce, Lise Retailleau, Roberta Sala, Catherine Tcheandjieu, Christian La, Mariapaola Sidoli, Jorik Van de Groep, Gina Bouchard, Saumyaa, Anand Rao, Sharon Greenblum, Iona Marin, John Hegarty



Kacie Deters, Natalie Nevarez, Debra Karhson, Isaac Kim, Aldo Cordova, Idil, Callie Willington, Li Zheng, Leonardo Tozzi, Marc Driessen, Aparna Sherlekar Banerjee, Pavlos Tsantilas, Diana Jeong, Nicole DeJesus, Aodhan Butler, Dakai Yang


Quorom: Yes, 15 council members present



Election for co-chair:

Lise Retailleau ran for election for co-chair position. Voting was performed by ballots.

Voting result:

14 yes and 1 abstain


Lise was successfully elected as new SURPAS co-chair with a majority vote in favor.



Discussion on take away message from PACPA (Provost advisory committee for postdoctoral affairs)-

Ioana: Patty Gumport suggested we should identify a list of priorities. If we have a fixed amount of money, what should we spent money on. Our door into administration is through Patty, OPA, Will Talbott. These people can help us make the smaller wins. Transitional housing could be one of the achievable goals.


Anand: Do we have postdoc representation from schools that are not SOM at PACPA?

Bradley: Earth sciences is moving in that direction

Roberta: Biology has Martha Cyert, who is part of PACPA (Provost advisory committee for postdoctoral affairs)

A big part of growth right now is happening in schools other than SOM. All the schools should have representatives.


Meeting was split into small groups for further discussion-

There are few focus areas that came up:

  • Housing/living cost

  • Diversity and inclusion- PRISM

Deb: PRISM should not fall under diversity

Nicole DeJesus: How does university define diversity and inclusion? She is on the diversity committee of her dept

·    Retirement plan

Daniel: Postdocs should get retirement benefits

·       Career development resources

Jesse: We should have a good quality of life. Postdocs come in with different career goals. Structure the resources better for career development.

Anand: he is working with Biosci Careers to do a 75/25 split program with industry internship for postdocs

·    Postdoc Families

Marc Driessen: Most people with families can’t attend most of the campus events. SURPAS did some events. But Stanford should pitch in for that.

·    Alumni network

Roberta: What is the status of that?

Anand: We have an event in September for postdoc alumni.

·    Housing

Kacie/Gina: There should be subsidies for housing for postdocs

·    Debt management

Deb: There should be academic debt bootcamp

·    Healthcare for family

John: It is rather expensive

Marc: It has improved recently

·    International housing

Lise: International students don’t have a credit history. Maybe Stanford can provide some document that puts them as a guarantor. That can greatly help international postdocs who move from another and have no credit history in US. Many landlords often ask for credit history to rent an apartment.

It is also hard to pay the security deposit and 1 month’s rent, all in your first month, sometimes before even your first paycheck. Some kind of loan program from Stanford, to help with that can be great.

Paola: Transitional housing

·       Fellowships for non US citizens

Idil: Most of the fellowships available are for US citizens. Stanford should start some fellowships for non US citizens

·       Tax help

Some event from OPA to help with filing taxes during tax season would be very helpful.

Jorik: Bechtel has a program

·       Benefits

Aodhan: A lot of issues come up because of the non-student status of postdocs. We don’t get both the employee benefits and the student benefits. Employees get retirement benefits, sports and wellness center benefits. He recently had to take wilderness center first aid class, but it was not free for postdocs. We don’t have access to Be Well program

Anand: He is in touch with be well program coordinators and is working on this matter


SURPAS Research symposium discussion:

Callie and Idil met Sofie, Will Talbot, Patty Gumport. The biggest idea that came out was with discussion with Sofie and Robin. It was to put symposium at the end of NPAW, like the grand finale. They had more specific ideas around it.


Attendee comments-

Roberta: Symposium was too broad. It lowers the attendance rate

Idil: We have thought about tweaking the format. The idea of this was to show entire spectra of postdoc research

Callie: We were trying to set a precedent for inclusion of people who are not in SOM.

Anand: We can try to increase faculty participation, invite other institutions.

Gina: Skip poster session.

OPA can be asked to give seed grant for a new collaborative idea coming out of the symposium!!!

Sharon: Have a symposium where postdocs talk about their research journey

Iona: Is OPA support tied to having the event at NPAW?

Callie: not necessarily

Bradley: In previous years OPA hasn’t really helped

Kacie: Teaching and outreach committee has some ideas

Idil: Hear journey of faculty members and their definition of postdocs

Deb: What is the goal of the postdoc symposium?

Callie: Goal of the postdoc is to showcase postdoc research and to promote collaboration

Nicole: poster location should be changed. She thinks all the talks were great.


Question: Should symposium be put at the end of NPAW?

Catherine: Its overwhelming

Roberta: finding volunteers is going to be a problem


Voting was done by show of hands-

Council members in favor: 5

Council members opposed: 12


Since the majority vote is against holding symposium at the end of NPAW, an alternative date will be set for it.


Discussion on Leadership Awards:

Idea: There should be some kind of awards to appreciate the postdocs who contribute a lot towards postdoc issues.

Potential name: Postdoc leadership award


Attendee comments-

Anand: Awards can be presented at the annual postdoc BBQ

Jesse and Deb: It should be a monetary award. There can be four $1k awards.

It doesn’t have to come from our budget. OPA or other people from administration can contribute towards it.

Gina: SURPAS should pay for one of the award too.


There can other forms of appreciation, like an ‘annual leadership transition dinner’ or an ‘annual SURPAS retreat’.

Anand: There can be a career fair exclusive to SURPAS council members.



Meeting was called to close at 1pm by Anand Rao.