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Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Association (PGA)

  • postdocs in a Zoom meeting

  • The Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Association (PGA) at Dana-Farber was founded in February 2005 by a group of postdoctoral fellows with the guidance and support of the Postdoc and Graduate Student Affairs Office (PGSAO). The PGSAO supports PGA initiatives by serving as a liaison between postdocs/grad students and the Institute.

    The PGA aims to build a strong postdoc and grad student community with the ultimate goal of improving the postdoc and grad student experience at Dana-Farber on several levels (i.e., scientific, professional, social, etc.) through training, mentorship and organized activities. Postdocs and grad students who have their primary appointment at Dana-Farber are automatically members of the PGA.

    Mission and Principles

    The mission of Dana-Farber's PGA is to address the needs and concerns of individuals affiliated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who hold a doctoral degree but are not tenure-track faculty, and grad students.

    The Dana-Farber PGA will support and advocate for postdocs and grad students at Dana-Farber in all aspects of their professional research training and career development.

    Members will strive to promote interactions among Dana-Farber postdocs and grad students on an academic, social and cultural basis, while assisting the PGSAO in this endeavor.

    The PGA will act as a liaison between the postdoc/grad student populations at large and the PGSAO to represent the interests of postdocs and grad students.

    All actions of Dana-Farber PGA shall be undertaken without discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.

    Committees

    The PGA has seven core committees:

    • Advocacy
    • Mentoring
    • Newsletter
    • Seminars
    • Social
    • Communications
    • Retreat ("on hold" for the moment)

    Bylaws

    The PGA bylaws were assembled by the PGA to give a defined structure and organization to our association.

    PGA Bylaws

    In addition, the PGA has outlined a set of current and future goals that we hope to achieve in the next few years.

    Goals of the PGA

    Achieved Goals

    1. Annual Retreats
    The PGA has organized an annual retreat for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students for over 15 years. We will continue to organize this valuable event to build a stronger postdoctoral and graduate student community while also striving to increase active participation. We will continue to recognize members of our community through offering outstanding oral and poster presentation awards.

    2. Mentoring Program
    The PGA established a Mentoring Program enabling over 100 postdoctoral fellows to meet with industrial mentors and receive career advice. We will continue to have an active role in recognizing exceptional mentoring and improving mentorship opportunities at Dana-Farber.

    3. Salary and Benefits
    The PGA has successfully advocated for increases in salary and improved employee benefits. We will continue to advocate for postdoctoral fellows to receive better pay and equal benefits, regardless of funding source.

    4. Resilience during COVID-19
    The PGA initiated the Buddy Program to connect new postdocs at Dana-Farber with older members of the community and gain knowledge about our institution and its resources.

    5. Social Activities with a Focus on Mental Health
    The PGA has organized a series of virtual events oriented at providing information on well-being resources, as well as art clubs and other community groups.

    Future Goals

    1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    The PGA will focus on establishing resources and partnering with existing programs (such as the CURE program) to enhance and complement the experience of our postdoc community.

    2. Alumni Network
    The PGA will continue to use established social networking websites to identify Dana-Farber alumni who are willing to give talks, participate in PGSAO seminars, or provide career and networking guidance to current Dana-Farber postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.

    3. Network with Other Boston Postdoc Associations
    The PGA will continue to build strong relationships with other postdoctoral associations within the Boston area so that we can learn how to speak with a collective voice for issues that matter to us as a population.

    4. Fundraising for Events and Awards
    The PGA hopes to establish and maintain relationships with the Dana-Farber Philanthropy Office in order to obtain independent financial support to fund PGA-sponsored events, internal fellowships, and travel awards.

    5. Child Care
    The PGA will continue to advocate for more inexpensive daycare for the Dana-Farber postdoctoral community.

    6. Continued Recruitment to the PGA
    The PGA will continue to provide information about our association to new and existing postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in order to encourage their involvement within the PGA.

    7. Periodic Review of the PGA Bylaws
    The PGA will continue to examine and revise our bylaws on a regular basis in order to reflect the changing needs of the PGA.

    Meetings

    The PGA meets on the first Thursday of every month from 1:00-2:00 p.m., excluding holidays. Please email the PGA to find out the conference room location of their next meeting.

    We welcome your active participation! If you would like to get involved in the PGA, please come to one of our meetings, or email one of the co-chairs listed below.

    Contact Us

    If you have general questions about the PGA or how to get involved, email dfci_pga@dfci.harvard.edu or the 2021 PGA co-chairs directly: Saba Tabasum and Veronica Rendo.