For postdoctoral researchers looking to pursue a career in academia, understanding and writing faculty applications can be far from straightforward. To assist in this process, the JILA Postdoc Group, a group within JILA designed to support the postdoctoral community, held a “Write-in” led by JILA’s Science Communicator, Kenna Hughes-Castleberry.
At the “Write-in,” Hughes-Castleberry broke down the application process, giving insights and techniques for making the operation easier. The one-hour lecture would then end in a free-writing session, where postdoc attendees could ask Hughes-Castleberry to review their work or give further advice on a more personal basis.
As the faculty application requires both a research statement and a teaching statement, Hughes-Castleberry dove into these two documents, describing ways to make them more individualized and engaging for a reader. From doing outside research on the possible faculty position to diving into previous mentoring techniques, the “Write-in” offered a space for postdocs to further learn what was required of them. The “Write-in” also opened a discussion about faculty applications, as participants shared their own experiences and advice for how to approach the process.
The “Write-in” is just one of the many events the newly formed Postdoc Group has put on, from mentoring training sessions to social mixers. As postdoctoral researchers often feel isolated at large research institutes, communities like that of the Postdoc Group allow a space to collaborate with others and feel supported as individuals lean into their future careers.