From left to right: Berkeley Lab NPA attendees: Louise Lassalle, Leticia Arnedo-Sanchez, Meg Rodriguez, Fadji Maina, Kang Yao, Maria Zurek, and Roel Van Beeumen.

Fadji Maina, a postdoctoral fellow with the Energy Geosciences Division (EGD) and board member of the Berkeley Lab Postdoctoral Association (BLPA), represented EESA at the 17th annual National Postdoctoral Association annual conference held April 12-14 in Orlando.

Maina attended the conference with six BLPA colleagues and Meg Rodriguez, postdoc manager at Berkeley Lab. The Berkeley Lab cohort was among nearly 500 attendees who participated in this year’s version of the largest national conference and networking event dedicated to the postdoctoral community. The event offers postdoctoral scholars and administrators the opportunity to exchange ideas and build skills through a series of career development and leadership workshops. The workshops gave Maina tools that she intends to bring back and share with colleagues in the postdoc community at Berkeley Lab.

“During these workshops, we were asked to take an inventory of our passion, knowledge, and advanced skills and talents,” Maina said. “These exercises were designed to help us better define our ideal jobs and career path.”

The conference culminated in a town hall in which attendees brainstormed ways to strengthen the experience of postdoctoral scholars in general across the national postdoc community. Maina and her BLPA colleagues were proud to see that BLPA had already made progress on many of the ideas shared during the post-brainstorming session.

“BLPA has begun organizing Series X, for example. This entails inviting speakers who are established scientists and thinkers to share their personal and professional experiences with us,” Maina said. “I hosted the Series X in January when we invited Eva Nogales from Berkeley Lab’s Biosciences Area to discuss her scientific journey with our group.”

BLPA also recently launched a new BLPA blog post called Coffee with Postdocs, published on Elements to highlight the contributions of Berkeley Lab postdocs to the Lab’s breakthrough research and initiatives. The association has planned a BLPA Career Fair for postdocs for July 26. Learn more about this event and other BLPA activities here.