Celebrating the Postdoc Community

April 14, 2024

In the Postdoc Visibility Project, we spotlight the journeys and experiences of our postdoctoral scholars (postdocs) at Georgia Tech. As we delve deeper into the postdoc community, we turn our focus to a vital aspect: gratitude and acknowledgement within this dynamic cohort. 

We asked our postdocs whom they would like to extend their thanks. Their responses revealed the profound impact of collaboration, mentorship, and peer support. 

Avery Davis Bell, Postdoc in the School of Biological Sciences

Bell expresses deep gratitude to her mentor, Dr. Annalise Paaby, highlighting her as a profoundly creative and rigorous scientific thinker. Bell admires Paaby as one of the most supportive mentors she has encountered, emphasizing her dedication to her students and postdoctoral fellows, going above and beyond to support their growth and success. 

Additionally, Bell extends thanks to her family, recognizing their crucial role in supporting her career endeavors. She acknowledges her husband and child for their flexibility and her mother for assisting with childcare on busy days, enabling Bell to focus on her experiments and research work. 

Bell emphasizes the importance of a supportive community, mentioning the graduate students in her lab and the broader research faculty and postdoc communities at Georgia Tech. These communities provide crucial support, combat feelings of isolation, and fostering collaborative exchanges that are vital for academic and personal wellbeing. 

Nicole Hellessey, Postdoc in the Ocean Science & Engineering Department

Hellessey extends heartfelt thanks to her professor, Marc Weissburg, whose mentorship and support were instrumental in her postdoc placement at Georgia Tech. 

“Without him, I would not have had a postdoc,” said Hellessey, “I would not have come to Georgia Tech or had any of the opportunities I have had here.” 

Hellessey also extends a “massive shout out” to all the Ph.D. students in the Kubanek Lab and Hay Lab, recognizing their exceptional support and assistance. She highlights their role in ensuring that she didn’t feel lost along the way, emphasizing the importance of their presence in navigating the intricacies of research and academia. 

Lastly, Hellessey expresses her appreciation for the camaraderie and friendship she has found among fellow postdocs across various departments at Georgia Tech. 

Zita Hüsing, Postdoc in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Hüsing thanks those who have supported her throughout her academic journey. She acknowledges the steadfast encouragement of her partner, family, and friends, whose support has been crucial during challenging times. 

Hüsing extends her appreciation to her dissertation committee at Louisiana State University, including Dr. Brannon Costello, Dr. Chris Barrett, Dr. Carl Freedman, and Dr. Katherine Henninger, for their guidance and contributions to her academic development. 

She also thanks her directors in the Writing and Communication program at Georgia Tech, Dr. Melissa Ianetta and Dr. Andy Frazee, for their support and mentorship, contributing to her professional growth and success. 

Ida Su, Postdoc in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Su’s journey through academia has been shaped by a network of support and mentorship. Reflecting on her path, Su emphasizes the impact of familial encouragement. 

“Without their support,” said Su, “I would not have overcome the challenges throughout my Ph.D., and now postdoc, journey.” 

Su credits her current postdoc advisor, Dr. Gabe Kwong, for providing invaluable guidance and opportunities for growth. From research methodologies to grant writing and mentoring, Dr. Kwong’s mentorship has pushed Su beyond her comfort zone, enabling her to achieve remarkable milestones such as the prestigious K99 Pathway to Independence award from the National Institutes of Health. 

Additionally, Su acknowledges the invaluable contributions of her collaborators, including Dr. Madhav Dhodapkar, Dr. Philip Santangelo, and Dr. Rafi Ahmed, whose mentorship and advice were pivotal in assembling the K99 application and publishing high-quality research papers.   

Su also expresses gratitude towards her Ph.D. advisory committees, particularly highlighting Dr. Patrick Stayton and Dr. Daniel Ratner, along with Dr. Suzie Pun, for their continuous support, guidance, and encouragement throughout her academic endeavors. Their mentorship extended beyond research projects to helping her navigate challenges faced during graduate school and steering her towards a career path aligned with her aspirations. 

Lastly, Su acknowledges the support and camaraderie of her postdoc friends, whose shared experiences and encouragement have been a source of strength during the highs and lows of postdoc research life. 

The Postdoc Visibility Project is a collaboration between the Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Services, the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Tech’s postdocs. Our goal is to highlight the contributions of postdocs to the research enterprise, humanize the postdoc experience, and connect postdocs to each other. To achieve this, we will share three spotlight articles and accompanying video interviews throughout the Spring 2024 semester. This is the third installment of the Project. 

This work is supported in part by the National Sciences Foundation Mathematical and Physical Sciences divisions ASCEND program under grant award number CHE-2138107.  

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