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First Annual UK Postdoctoral Symposium

By Sarah Schuetze

They conduct lab research and teach classes, but they are neither faculty nor graduate students. Postdoctoral scholars, or postdocs, serve an important role at UK, a research institution. However, they are scattered across various departments and have not always had an opportunity to meet and share their work.

Professor Susan Odom in Chemistry said, “Most postdocs don’t have any kind of formal gatherings that are specifically targeted toward them.“ In 2014, Odom collaborated with Matt Casselman, a postdoc in Chemistry, to organize UK’s Society of Postdoctoral Scholars (SOPS). SOPS offers weekly activities like professional development workshops or research presentations.  

On Friday, June 12, SOPS will host its First Annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium at the William T. Young Library. The symposium will allow for the exchange of ideas across a broad range of fields, and abstract submissions are welcome from any discipline.

Matt Casselman, postdoc in Chemistry and SOPS co-founder, explained, “It’s a great way to bring everyone together, to network, and further everybody’s goals.” 

The symposium will feature the university’s Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis as the keynote speaker, as well as oral presentations given by postdoctoral scholars from numerous fields represented on UK’s campus and from other Kentucky universities including the University of Louisville.

By extending the invitation to other area universities, Casselman and co-organizers Caitlin Scott, Sarah Edwards, and Lindsay Boehme hope “to gather a critical mass of postdocs.” Casselman added, ”We want it to be open to everyone to talk about their research.”

Photo: Lisa Cassis

In addition to the oral presentations, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students are invited to present posters. Prizes will be awarded to the two top postdoctoral and top two graduate student posters. The first place award winners will receive $150, and second place winners will receive $50.

To submit an abstract, click here. Submission for oral presentations has passed.  The deadline for poster submission is June 5th. Use the same link to register to attend the symposium. There is no deadine to register to attend the symposium, although on-site registrants will not be provided with lunch.

There is no charge to present or attend the symposium. Lunch and coffee will be provided. Funding for the symposium is provided by an ESPCoR award from the National Science Foundation. Poster prizes are sponsored by the UK Office of Graduate Studies.

For more information, and if you wish to participate, please contact the symposium organizers at

Pictured below - left to right: Caitlin Scott, Lindsay Boehme, Matt Casselman, Sarah Edwards