Travel Awards Program

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) has created a travel award program for postdocs to support their professional development. Since 2010, postdocs across Penn State have taken advantage of the travel award program. The award is intended to assist postdocs whose research presentations or posters have been accepted at professional workshops and conferences. Due to the higher volume of virtual conferences as a result of the pandemic, we are accepting applications for conference registration fees that will be held virtually.

In order to qualify for this award, applicant must have a current postdoc position at Penn State, have submitted the abstract/poster/paper to a workshop or conference, have received travel approval from current supervisor, and be in compliance with Penn State’s Travel Policy. Postdocs are expected to secure partial contribution for travel from their supervisor, department, college, funding agency, or workshop/conference. Applicant must submit this form at least three weeks before date of travel. Applicant will receive only one award per fiscal year under this program.

Eligibility for OPA travel awards

  • Applicant must have a current postdoc position at Penn State.
  • Applicant must have permission from current supervisor to apply for this award.
  • Applicant must have submitted their abstract to a professional workshop or conference.
  • Postdocs who are continuing as Research Associates in the same or different research group at Penn State can apply for the award in their first year as a Research Associate to present research that was performed during their postdoc tenure.


Application Process Instructions:

  1. Complete the online application form through the InfoReady portal at least three weeks before your date of travel.
  2. Upload PDF of your submitted abstract to a conference or workshop.
  3. Submit proof of acceptance to present at the same conference.
  4. Upload PDF copy of letter from applicant’s supervisor.
  5. Upload budget template excel spreadsheet.
  6. In case of international travel, upload letter from Global Programs indicating applicant’s eligibility to travel.



These are some of the past award winners, pre-pandemic.

Dr. Riley F. Bernard Caving_TN.JPG

Dr. Riley F. Bernard is a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. David A. W. Miller's lab. Her research focuses on using tools from Decision Analysis to help natural resource managers work through complex wildlife decisions (i.e., how to manage a widely dispersed species [or multiple species] suffering from an emerging infectious disease). Currently, she is working with managers to identify actions to combat white-nose syndrome in bats and chytridiomycosis in salamanders.

Related Link:

Dr. Martina Calovi PSU-Postdoc-56.jpg

Martina Calovi conducts a multidisciplinary research in the area of Geographical Information Science, investigating the interactions and coexistence of human and physical environments under climate change conditions. Her primary research interests concern the development of innovative methodology for analyzing large, high-dimensional and spatially distributed data.

Related Link:

Dr. Haribabu Palneedi Hari.png

Hari has a strong curiosity to explore the processing-structure-property-application relationship in materials and extend the knowledge to nature and society. His research focuses on ferroelectric, piezoelectric, and magnetoelectric materials for multifunctional applications including magnetic sensors, tunable inductors, energy harvesting and storage, and wireless power transfer. He has authored several high-impact research articles, reviews, and book chapters in his field of research. His scientific contributions have been recognized with awards from Indian Ceramic Society and Korea Institute of Materials Science

Dr. Giorgia Picci G-MRI.jpg

Giorgia Picci is currently a postdoctoral researcher in developmental neuroimaging in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Her current research interests include understanding how early adversities impact neurodevelopmental trajectories, and how particular resilience factors may inhibit deleterious outcomes (e.g., substance use). 

Related Link:

Dr. Shannon Guillot-Wright 479F559E-8FCD-42A3-8A2B-83682A317E67 (edited-Pixlr).jpg

Dr. Guillot-Wright’s program of research focuses on structural violence, with a particular emphasis on how evidence-informed policy can improve minority health and well-being. She has conducted photo-ethnographic fieldwork with Filipino migrant seafarers in the Gulf of Mexico (2017) to understand how health inequities are embodied and produced through political, economic, and social policies. Her current ethnography (2019) explores the use of research evidence in the U.S. Congress.

Related Link:

Dr. Karen Poh Poh_ENT Dept Photo.jpg

Karen C. Poh’s overall research focuses on the ecology of vector-borne diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes. Her current research foci include Ixodes scapularis chemical ecology and the role of atypical vectors in disease transmission. Her research will guide the development of surveillance tools and educational materials to protect humans and animals from future vector-borne disease threats.

Related Link: