Awards

Penn State Postdoctoral Society annually awards an Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar and an Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor Award! Keep an eye out for the call for nominations in April!

Update: August 7, 2020 – Nominations for the 2020 6th Annual Awards are now closed! Next year’s call for nominations will go out in Spring 2021.

2020 Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award

The Penn State Postdoc Society is pleased to announce Dr. Karen C. Poh as the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Postdoc Award. Dr. Poh is a postdoc in the Department of Entomology, College of Agricultural Sciences and was nominated by her postdoc advisor, Dr. Erika Machtinger. Dr. Poh’s enthusiasm, funding success, research productivity, strengths in communication and collaboration, and dedication to public service led to her selection as the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Postdoc Award. In the words of her nominator, “Karen embodies the innate intelligence, personality, drive, record of production, and abilities that this award represents.”


2020 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award

The Penn State Postdoc Society is pleased to announce Dr. Joan Redwing as the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award. Dr. Redwing is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and holds appointments in the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering. She is also the Director of the NSF Materials Innovation Platform – 2D Crystal Consortium. Dr. Redwing was nominated by Drs. Benjamin Huet, Haoyue Zhu, and Tanushree Choudhury. She is invested in mentoring postdocs through open communication, active presence in the lab, fostering and maintaining positive group dynamics, and proactive help in their professional development. In the words of her nominators she has a ‘people first approach,’ which led to her selection as the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award.

Dr. Redwing and Dr. Poh will be recognized at the 13th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition on 24-25, 2020 to be held online. Penn State Postdoc Society functions to enhance the postdoctoral experience at Penn State by providing resources to assist postdoctoral scholars and fellows in their professional and personal development and is advised by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Further details of PSPS award recipients for past years can be found at https://postdoc.psu.edu/awards/ and Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition can be found at https://www.research.psu.edu/opa


2019 Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award

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​The Penn State Postdoc Society is pleased to announce Dr. Molly Hanlon as the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Postdoc Award.  Dr. Hanlon was nominated by Drs. Jonathan Lynch, Kathleen Brown, Erin Connolly, and Teh-hui Kao.  She is a postdoc in the Department of Plant Science. In the words of her nominators “Molly is a truly exceptional young scientist, conducting novel research with vigor and creativity, managing a highly complex and multidisciplinary research project, and mentoring young scientists, all while maintaining very active outreach.”

​Dr. Hanlon will be presented with a plaque acknowledging this honor at the 12th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition on September 18, 2019. ​The awards ceremony at the exhibition will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the HUB. Postdocs, research associates, faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend. More details about the 12th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition that is jointly organized by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Penn State Postdoc Society can be obtained at www.research.psu.edu/opa and by contacting postdocaffairs@psu.edu.


2019 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award

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T​he Penn State Postdoc Society is pleased to announce Dr. Klaus Keller as the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award. Dr. Keller is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences and the Director for the Center for Climate Risk Management.   He was nominated by a current postdoc in his lab, Dr. Mahkameh Zarekarizi. Dr. Keller’s dedication to helping his postdoctoral mentees through professional development and teaching opportunities, maintaining consistent and open communication, providing constructive feedback, and providing opportunities to attend scientific meetings led to his selection as the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor.
​Dr. Keller will be presented with a plaque acknowledging this honor at the 12th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition on September 18, 2019. ​ The awards ceremony at the exhibition will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the HUB. Postdocs, research associates, faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend. More details about the 12th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition that is jointly organized by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Penn State Postdoc Society can be obtained at www.research.psu.edu/opa and by contacting postdocaffairs@psu.edu.

2018 Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award

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​The Penn State Postdoc Society is pleased to announce Dr. Glenn Sterner III as the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Postdoc Award.  Dr. Sterner was nominated by Drs. Gary Zajac, Derek Kreager, Pete Forster, and Ashton Verdery.  He was a postdoc in the Justice Center for Research.  Dr. Sterner’s extensive publication record, success at procuring grants, commitment to outreach, and dedication to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students led to his selection as the 2018 Outstanding Postdoc. Dr. Sterner is now an assistant professor at Penn State Abington.
​Dr. Sterner will be presented with a plaque acknowledging this honor at the 11th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition on September 28, 2018. ​The awards ceremony at the exhibition will take place at 3:45 p.m. in Alumni Hall, HUB. Postdocs, research associates, faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend. More details about the 11th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition that is jointly organized by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Penn State Postdoc Society can be obtained at www.research.psu.edu/opa and by contacting postdocaffairs@psu.edu.

2018 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award

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The Penn State Postdoc Society is pleased to announce Dr. Christina Grozinger as the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award.  Dr. Grozinger is a distinguished professor of Entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research.    She was nominated by current and former postdocs of her lab, Drs. Rong Ma, Maggie Douglas, Dave Galbraith, and Doug Sponsler.  Dr. Grozinger’s dedication to the growth of her postdoctoral mentees through providing opportunities to write grants, guest lecture, and attend scientific meetings along with her attention to their wellbeing by supporting a balanced work and family life and maintaining consistent, open communication led to her selection as the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor.  In the words of her nominators, she “is a supportive and encouraging mentor, and her effective mentorship directly translates to both research productivity and subsequent careers for her postdoctoral mentees.”
​Dr. Grozinger will be presented with a plaque acknowledging this honor at the 11th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition on September 28, 2018. ​ The awards ceremony at the exhibition will take place at 3:45 p.m. in Alumni Hall, HUB. Postdocs, research associates, faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend. More details about the 11th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition that is jointly organized by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Penn State Postdoc Society can be obtained at www.research.psu.edu/opa and by contacting postdocaffairs@psu.edu.

2017 Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award

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The Penn State Postdoc Society is pleased to announce Dr. F. Joseph Pollock as the 2017 Outstanding Postdoc. Dr. Pollock was nominated by his faculty mentor Dr. Monica Medina for his outstanding contribution to research, teaching and service while in the Department of Biology at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Pollock’s exceptional achievements include not only an impressive publication record and grant writing leading to international multi-laboratory projects, but also teaching and mentoring several undergraduate and graduate students and founding an international program for high school students interested in marine science.
​Dr. Pollock will be presented with a plaque acknowledging this honor at the Tenth Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition on September 22, 2017. ​The awards ceremony at the exhibition is open to postdocs, research associates, faculty, staff and students and will take place at 4:15 p.m. in Heritage hall, HUB. More details about the Tenth Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition that is jointly organized by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Penn State Postdoc Society can be obtained at www.research.psu.edu/opa and by contacting postdocaffairs@psu.edu.

2017 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award

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The Penn State Postdoc Society​ is pleased to announce Dr. Suvrath Mahadevan as the 2017 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor for his exceptional dedication to the mentoring of postdoctoral scholars in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Mahadevan was nominated by multiple postdoctoral scholars for his exceptional availability and responsiveness, ability and willingness to provide recognition to his students for their work, and his commitment to providing priority to professional development opportunities and exposure to new skills and knowledge.
​Dr. Mahadevan will be presented with a plaque acknowledging this honor at the 10th Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition on September 22, 2017. The awards ceremony at the exhibition is open to postdocs, research associates, faculty, staff and students and will take place at 4:15 p.m. in Heritage hall, HUB. More details about the Tenth Annual Postdoc Research Exhibition that is jointly organized by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and Penn State Postdoc Society can be obtained at www.research.psu.edu/opa and by contacting postdocaffairs@psu.edu.

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2016 Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award

The Penn State Postdoctoral Society has selected Dr. Paolo Margaria, Postdoctoral Scientist in the lab of Prof. Cristina Rosa within the Department of Plant Pathology & Environmental Microbiology, as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Postdoc Award. Dr. Margaria is recognized as a “truly remarkable and versatile scientist”. His broad scientific experience, ranging from the field to the lab and from insect vector biology to plant virology, has resulted in the publication of 5 papers in 2016 alone. Dr. Margaria is also extremely active in community outreach, leading high school students in lab experiences through the Penn State Upward Bound Math and Science Program and winning the “2016 Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society Award” for excellence in research and service. Dr. Margaria was nominated by his faculty mentor, Dr. Cristina Rosa.


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2016 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award

The Penn State Postdoctoral Society has selected Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Science, as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor Award. Dr. Vijay-Kumar is recognized as a “highly productive, inspiring and outstanding mentor” who is “devoted to the success of postdoctoral fellows.” Dr. Vijay-Kumar’s work on metabolic syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) directly benefits public health and has been highly cited academically as well as in the traditional and social media. Dr. Vijay-Kumar teaches his postdocs faculty-relevant skills, including grant writing, collaboration and leadership, in order to prepare them for careers as productive, independent researchers. Prof. Vijay-Kumar was nominated by Piu Saha and Vishal Singh.



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2015 Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award
Dr. Nikki Shariat was recognized by the Penn State Postdoc Society as the 2015 Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar. Dr. Shariat was nominated by her faculty mentor, Dr. Edward Dudley, for herresearch, teaching and service accomplishments while in the Food Science Department. In addition to asuccessful publication record, Dr. Shariat’s achievements include conceptualizing and teaching aprofessional development class for undergraduates multiple semesters and contributing to the CentreCounty community through volunteer leadership and fundraising. Dr. Shariat is now a faculty member in the Biology Department at Gettysburg College where she continues to teach and conduct research on Salmonella, the leading bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the U.S.  The award was presented to her advisor Prof. Dudley.​

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2015 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award
Professor John Tooker was awarded the 2015 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award by the Penn State Postdoc Society. This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated her or his commitment to exceptional mentoring of postdoctoral scholars at Penn State University. Dr. Tooker was nominated by multiple postdoctoral scholars for his exceptional availability and responsiveness, ability and willingness to provide constructive feedback, and for prioritizing the professional development of his students and postdoctoral researchers.