At the end of February, the annual Postdoc Spotlight — designed like a TED talk to be accessible to specialists and non-specialists alike — gave Stony Brook’s postdocs the opportunity to present their cutting-edge research in five minutes. Selection as a speaker is a unique professional development opportunity that helps prepare postdocs to become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow.
Postdoc speakers work with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and receive specialized coaching in providing a broad and engaging talk for non-specialists. A panel of judges evaluate the talks for how well they achieve the Spotlight’s goals of sharing the excitement of each postdoc’s discovery in a way that is accessible to a non-specialist. Presentations are judged based on clarity, content and engagement. Prizes, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, are given for the best talks.
“What was different this year is that we did both the coaching and the event itself virtually,” said Kathleen Flint Ehm, assistant dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Initiatives. “Our postdocs showed great resilience in adapting to the new circumstances and supporting each other to improve their talks. They all did an impressive job this year in distilling their research so we could all understand why it was exciting. If I could give everyone a prize, I would!”
This year’s winners are:
First Place, $500
Ethan Cline, Physics and Astronomy
Second Place, $300
Olivia Swanson, Neurobiology and Behavior
Third Place (tie), $100
Kim Berghaus, CN Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Kristian Hajny, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences