Postdoctoral Association






As an association run by postdocs for postdocs, the WSU-PDA's mission is to promote the professional development and social well-being of the postdoctoral community at Wayne State University. We aim to:

  • Optimize the professional development of postdoctoral scholars at Wayne State University in order to facilitate their successful transition to a professional career
  • Promote social interactions between its members by creating a forum for social gathering and discussion of issues related to the postdoctoral experience at WSU.
  • ​Recognize outstanding postdoctoral scholars at WSU, highlight the impact of postdoctoral research within WSU and connect WSU postdoctoral scholars to regional and national postdoctoral organizations.
  • Organize community outreach efforts by the postdoctoral scholars of WSU.

The WSU-PDA is run by a steering committee composed of a dedicated team of postdocs from various departments across the WSU campus. In addition to the steering committee, several standing committees have been set up to effectively carry out the mission of the WSU-PDA. These include the Professional Development, Advocacy, Media and Networking, Events, and Fundraising and Publications committees. The advisor for the PDA is Associate Dean of Postdoctoral Affairs, Tim Stemmler.

​Please read the WSU-PDA's bylaws for further information.

Meet the PDA

PDA 2018 committee member bios

Want to join the PDA? Complete this form, and a committee member will be in touch with you. Sign up to get timely email alerts of all our activities and other relevant information for postdocs. You can also follow us and join our group on Facebook and LinkedIn.

We are always looking for postdocs who would like to get involved.  If interested, please contact Chitra Thakur, or Stefanie Baier,


WSU-PDA Spotlight Seminar February 2018

3 to 4 p.m., Friday, February 23
Mazurek Education Commons, Stapleton (320 E Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201)    

Featuring presentations from postdoctoral scholars Amy Pennar, Ph.D., School of Medicine, and Kate Rollert French, Ph.D., College of Education. RSVP to Marufa Rumman at

Amy Pennar, Ph.D., Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine

Amy Pennar is a Researcher of Biobehavioral Health in Urban Settings Today (RoBUST) Postdoctoral Fellow in Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine at Wayne State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. Her primary research interests focus on the mechanisms through which health and culture affect individual development and family dynamics as they evolve over time and in diverse contexts. Her postdoctoral research, under the direction of Dr. Sylvie Naar-King and Dr. Mark Luborsky, centers on the effect of HIV-infection on adolescent biopsychological functioning, medication adherence, and long-term health outcomes.

The title of her talk is "Optimizing your academic job visit"
She will describe the tips, strategies, and pitfalls of interviewing, dining and communicating with faculty, chairs and deans during academic job visits.

Kate Rollert French, Ph.D., WSU College of Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Kate Rollert French, is a postdoctoral fellow at Wayne State University's College of Education, in the department of administrative and organizational studies. French began her career as an AP Biology teacher in Dallas, Texas. She most recently completed her dual Ph.D. in Educational Policy K-12 Educational Administration with a specialization in urban education at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the experiences of new teachers working in urban schools--with an emphasis on justice-oriented pedagogy.

Description of her talk:
Drawing on literature around the first-year experiences of new teachers working in urban schools—including their unique vulnerability for emotional turbulence as they undergo the Moir (1990) First Year Phases of Teaching model—this talk will examine the changing beliefs of brand new urban educators as they progress throughout their first year as teacher of record.  Findings from 50 interviews, 15 observations, and 15 surveys suggest that new teachers are more likely to change their beliefs when they undergo various stages of emotional conflict and will turn to more experienced colleagues at their new school for advice and insight. This can contribute to belief change and impact classroom practice. Teachers are more likely to change their beliefs during the middle of the school year—specifically during the survival and disillusionment phases of the Moir (1990) model. Contributions to Critical Theory and implications for policy concerning social equality—and inequality—are discussed. 

Spotlights and publications

In an effort to promote awareness of all the great work being done by postdocs at Wayne State, the PDA collects and shares recent publication highlights and professional accomplishments from postdoctoral scholars. For information about sharing these notices with the PDA, contact Amy Pennar,

*If you would like to be removed from the WSU-PDA e-mail list, send an e-mail (from the e-mail address you would like removed) to LISTSERV@LISTS.WAYNE.EDU with the text: signoff POSTDOCS

150 years in the heart of Detroit