Postdocs take center stage at annual Appreciation Day

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Raffles, kudos, and awards were on the agenda at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Postdoc Appreciation Day celebration to recognize postdocs and their mentors. The September 21, 2012 event, held in the Kresge cafeteria, coincided with the fourth annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week.

HSPH Dean Julio Frenk highlighted the accomplishments of the School’s postdocs, such as publishing in highly regarded journals like Science and Nature, and receiving prestigious awards. He also offered some interesting facts: 283 postdoctoral fellows work in 11 different departments and centers; 55% of postdocs are women; 54% are U.S. citizens while the rest hail from a wide range of countries; and 30% have children.

Eric Rimm, associate professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, received the 2012 Postdoctoral Association (PDA) Mentor Award. Outgoing PDA President Silje Reme listed some of the things that Rimm’s postdoc, Juliana Cohen, said of him in her nomination—that he is a role model for creating positive relationships with others, provides networking opportunities for postdocs, acknowledges their contributions when presenting at conferences, and gives them valuable leadership roles and responsibilities. Accepting the award, Rimm said, “One secret to being a fantastic mentor is to have really smart, motivated postdocs—because it makes you look really good.”