Postdoctoral Professional Development





December 3, 2018

3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Seminar on Retirement Planning

December 12, 2018

noon to 1:30 p.m.

Behavior Questions for Interviews

Location, Registration details will be announced on the postdoc listserve.


Improving Communication through Improv Theater

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is organizing an interactive workshop that brings strengths of theater and improvisation to postdoctoral scientists/early career scientists for the first time! Sign up to learn key communication skills through this workshop. 

HAPPY VALLEY IMPROV Presents Yes, and…! Participants will engage a 90-minute improv theater workshop in an energetic and supportive environment. This event will prompt participants to practice collaboration, problem solving, and responding to the unexpected through a variety of improv theater games and activities. This workshop will end with a reflective discussion to consider how improvisation can equip participants to be better communicators and to be better prepared for the unexpected events that happen in formal and informal professional interactions

Participants will learn to:

Consider and practice being present to improve focus and awareness while delivering job and conference presentations; Consider and practice embodying self- and other-awareness so as to inform the presentation of self; Consider and practice detailed storytelling to improve communication; Consider and practice saying “yes, and” to improve collaboration and mitigate destructive doubt and negativity; Consider and practice responding productively to be better equipped to negotiate unexpected events.

About Happy Valley Improv

Happy Valley Improv is State College’s premier longform improv company. They are a growing community of improvisers who aim to bring the art of improvisation to State College.  They have performed a run of shows at the State Theater, expanded the company, put on workshops in various settings, and have begun to offer improv classes for the community and at Penn State .

 About Instructors

All four founders work as faculty or staff members at Penn State University (in positions unrelated to improv theater). They have a variety of levels of experience with improv theater. Some have over a decade of theater experience, including extensive formal training. Others are new to improv theater and are just beginning to discover the joys of this art form. All founders are passionate about the ways that improv can help lead to more meaningful work in academic life--teaching, researching, writing, leading, and serving alongside university colleagues, undergraduate students, administrators, supervisors, staff, and graduate students. In particular to this workshop: two of the members are tenure-track faculty members who are familiar with the specific demands of faculty positions: academic job talks, conference presentations, publication expectations, and participation in professional communities.

Nov 12, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 232 AB HUB


Seminar on Resources for Postdocs, CV& Resume.

October 26, 2018 from Noon to 2:30 p.m. at 131 HUB

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will present a seminar on the services of the office to postdocs and available resources to postdocs. There will also be a condensed seminar on CV, Resume and Cover letter.

Remaining time will be spent on any individual consultations for CV, Resume/Cover letter or career transition questions.

noon to 1:00 p.m. Information session on services and resources for postdocs through Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Seminar on CV, Resume and Cover letter

2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. walk in consultation or email with your CV, Resume/Cover letter or career transition related questions. Share file(s) as a word document or or google drive.



September 28, 2018

The Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition will be from 10 am to 4:30 HUB as a part of the National Postdoc Appreciation Week.

 This an excellent opportunity for postdocs to attend a panel discussion on career paths, present posters, participate in a lightning talk competition, meet other postdocs and research associates from all across the campus. Those interested in presenting a poster can reuse a poster from past meetings as long as it is less than or equal to 6ft wide X 4 ft tall. Poster presenters will be presenting to judges from different disciplines- a great way to exercise your science communication skills and prepare for career transitions. This is the second year that postdocs and research associates who mentor an undergraduate research project will get an opportunity to present a poster with their mentee. Posters from past meetings or conferences can be used. There will be cash prizes and travel award prizes depending on the number of presenters and judges.


August 30, 2018, noon to 1:15 p.m. (Location will be announced on PSPS listserve) Seminar on IDP and resources

Individual Development Plan and other resources and services at Penn State for postdocs will be  presented by Pallavi Eswara, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Walk-in; no registration.

August 30, 2018 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Location will be announced on PSPS listserve): Sanity in the midst of Insanity: How to survive Postdoc.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is presenting workshops and seminars on the topics of mental health and wellness for postdocs. The first of those workshops is being held on August 30, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. It is being presented by local psychologists Dr. Vibha Lal and Dr. Bhavna Lal.

Through seminar and interactive exercises attendees will learn about methods to take effective care of their mental and physical health, stressful situations and anxiety when time and money are limited. The objectives of the workshop include wellness of postdocs, tools to help survive the stress of a job hunt, surviving to thriving a postdoc without a breakdown and what to do in case of one, dealing with stressful situations and managing personal relationships.

August 23, 2018, noon to 1:15 p.m. (Location will be announced on PSPS listserve)

PITCH PERFECT: A workshop to craft message about your research and yourself for a wide audience range. An interactive session on how to craft and deliver an elevator pitch about yourself and your research. Be prepared to talk at the workshop and get ready for the next networking event, conference, or interview. Presented by Pallavi Eswara, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

June 2018

Are you ready for a faculty position?

June 21, 2018, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

ONLINE through zoom.

If you are interested in applying for a tenure track faculty or a research faculty this seminar will be helpful for you.

The seminar will include information about the classification of higher education institutions, application package needed for faculty positions and related topics.

June 23, 2018

Selected postdocs present their research to Millennium Scholars Program incoming freshmen



Postdocs, faculty members and administrators  interested in  postdoctoral educational plans, mentoring plans for grants, support letters or further details of the workshops and seminars in the past years can contact Pallavi Eswara, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, E-mail: