Postdoc Appreciation Reception

Lehigh hosts inaugural Postdoc Appreciation Reception.

Lehigh Celebrates PostDoc Community

The university hosts events to recognize postdoctoral scholars’ contributions to discovery.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

Photography by

Holly Fasching

As part of National PostDoc Appreciation Week, Lehigh hosted a series of events Sept. 18-22 in recognition of the hard work, commitment and contributions of postdoctoral scholars to research and discovery at the university.

The weeklong celebration opened with an inaugural postdoc appreciation reception. In addition, Lehigh provided the scholars with opportunities for networking, job application consultations and photography sessions for professional headshots.

“We are gathering to give our amazing postdocs the recognition they deserve,” said Jenny Chao, program manager, Postdoctoral Affairs Office, at the reception. “Postdocs are one of the most essential positions that drive research forward. Not only that, but postdocs contribute to innovation, teaching and supervision.”

Lehigh has about 60 postdoctoral scholars across disciplines.


In support of Lehigh’s strategic plan, Inspiring the Future Makers, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research recently established the Postdoctoral Affairs Office, which hosted the celebration, to better support the postdoc community. The office will offer programming that aligns with the university’s goal of strengthening the research environment.

“As Lehigh implements its strategic plan, we recognize the important contributions of our postdoctoral scholars in advancing research at Lehigh. They are creating new knowledge that will help shape the future,” said Provost Nathan Urban. “We want to provide our postdoctoral scholars with the support they need to thrive at the university and enhance their skills.”

Provost Nathan Urban talks with people at reception

Provost Nathan Urban, left, talks with Willy Das, a research scientist with Lehigh@NasdaqCenter and co-chair of the Lehigh Postdoctoral Association, and Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost for international affairs.

Postdoctoral scholar Preetika Karnal, who is conducting research in adhesion science at Lehigh as part of her work in Vice Provost for Research Anand Jagota’s lab, helped organize the weeklong celebration. She said the networking event, especially, helped in building community among Lehigh’s postdocs.

“We are so few in number that sometimes it's hard to feel seen,” she said. And though the resources are ample at Lehigh, “It's hard to know where to go to find the right resources.”

Karnal, who earned her Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins University, joined Lehigh in 2021 to work with Jagota, whom she met at Gordon Research Conference on Science of Adhesion.

“It’s been a good journey,” she said. “I’m learning a lot. I attended a College of Education seminar, where some professors also showed their styles of teaching. So it's been incredibly helpful. And I'm tapping into more resources now that there is a Postdoc Association at Lehigh.”

Lehigh also offers the Advancing Future Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Scholars Program that seeks to recruit prospective faculty, particularly those belonging to groups historically underrepresented and marginalized, and whose experience and plans for teaching, research and service align with Lehigh’s goals of creating a more diverse professoriate.

More information on postdoc events and resources can be found here.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

Photography by

Holly Fasching