New effort assists diverse researchers from marginalized communities advance
(ROCKVILLE, Md.) — NEWS: The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) today announced a fellowship program designed to help researchers from marginalized communities advance their careers. Using tools to improve skills, better understand strengths, provide exposure to new fields, and develop new networks, the IMPACT Fellowship Program is a groundbreaking effort assisting postdoctoral scholars of all disciplines.
There are approximately 70,000 postdoctoral scholars across the United States who conduct the bulk of the nation’s early-stage research. In addition to their important work within their fields, ranging from economics to life sciences, these scholars serve as mentors and instructors for graduate students while preparing to enter the full-time workforce in leadership positions. As members of minority racial, ethnic, gender, geographic, and other communities, some postdoctoral scholars face high barriers to career and personal success others do not.
“Unfortunately, all postdoctoral scholars do not share equal access to critical resources, especially those from marginalized communities or from historically underfunded institutions,” said NPA executive director and chief executive officer, Thomas P. Kimbis. “A year after the height of protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd and just before the celebration of Juneteenth, we are proud to announce this intentional step in the right direction.”
“As the national association of postdoctoral scholars, we are very aware of this inequity within our own membership,” commented NPA Board chair, Stephanie Eberle. “By taking a hands-on, peer-driven approach, IMPACT provides new tools to help program fellows succeed while encouraging them to bring lessons learned back to their communities.”
IMPACT is set to run its first program of fellows for six months starting this summer, to be followed by another class in 2022. IMPACT program graduates will comprise a growing and supportive community to scholars looking to strategically build upon existing skills, recognize opportunities, and advance in their careers. The program will also feature engagement with leaders from areas such as business, communications, finance, and policy that are outside the fellows’ disciplines, providing them new career insights and connections.
NPA diversity officer, Matthew Aguirre, noted “The IMPACT fellowship program has taken a team of leaders to establish, and we cannot express our excitement to be a part of it. This will be the program’s pilot year, but will only grow to serve the postdoctoral community, specifically those from marginalized and under-resourced communities.”
“Leadership and inclusion skill sets are increasingly recognized as essential competencies for postdoctoral scholars,” added Vipul Sharma, who serves as a diversity officer alongside Aguirre. “IMPACT is a small step on a national scale to initiate an equitable and inclusive culture in research.”
The NPA is currently seeking applicants for fellows as well as corporate, individual, and philanthropic sponsors of the first class of this multi-year, signature program.
Applicants for fellows: https://www.nationalpostdoc.org/page/IMPACTProgram
Sponsors information: https://www.nationalpostdoc.org/mpage/IMPACT
About National Postdoctoral Association:
The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational association headquartered in Rockville, MD. Founded in 2003, the NPA envisions an inclusive community where all postdocs are empowered, valued, recognized, and supported in their current and future endeavors. The NPA serves the entire postdoctoral community, including its 19,000 individual and 215 organizational members.
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