Postdoctoral Research Associate Program prepares future faculty

In the 2021-2022 academic year, the iSchool launched its Postdoctoral Research Associate Program. The goal of this program is to prepare candidates for tenure-track assistant professor or other appointments inside and outside of academia. The cohort has grown to five postdocs, and applications are currently being accepted for the 2023-2024 academic year.

"The iSchool is committed to advancing research and teaching in the information sciences," said Dean and Professor Eunice E. Santos. "This program expands our strong record of preparing doctoral students for careers in academia. We are pleased to provide PhD graduates across the globe with access to our outstanding faculty and professional development opportunities."

Each postdoc is assigned to an iSchool faculty mentor, who provides guidance and support. In addition to developing their research agendas, postdocs teach up to one course per semester and serve on at least one service committee. Current postdocs include:

  • Janaynne Carvalho do Amaral, PhD in Information Science, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Rexwhite Enakrire, PhD in Library and Information Science, University of Zululand, South Africa
  • Yousif Hassan, PhD in Science and Technology Studies, York University, Canada
  • Aiko Takazawa, PhD in Library and Information Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Yang Zhang, PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, Notre Dame University

"My experience in the program has exceeded my expectations. For me, the postdoc is more than a job—it is a journey of professional development and personal growth to figure out who I am, who I want to be in the future, and most important, what my role in society will be as an information scientist," said Carvalho do Amaral. "My mentors [Associate Professors Jodi Schneider and Maria Bonn] have offered advice and encouragement, helped identify opportunities for me to expand my perspective on information sciences, and been open to ideas and projects."

Postdocs participate in workshops and training opportunities offered by the iSchool Research Services and in connection with the Doctoral ProSeminar (IS 529). Topics include applying for grants, building a scholarly profile, and crafting a professional portfolio for the job market.

"Our postdocs benefit from—and contribute to—the iSchool's famously cross-disciplinary research community," said Associate Dean for Research J. Stephen Downie. "Postdocs work with and are mentored by faculty who are experts in their field. They can develop their own research agenda while also gaining teaching experience, which will make them even more successful in the academic job market and their future careers."

Carvalho do Amaral's professional plans are to become a faculty member and conduct research on peer review and on public engagement in science. She also would like to develop partnerships and projects with scientific journals, libraries, scholarly societies, and outreach departments to support the understanding of the scholarly communication cycle inside and outside academia.

"I would like to be a bridge between university and society, scientists and non-scientists," she said. "I am also looking forward to seeing more women as postdocs and getting involved in projects to break stereotypes about women in science."

For more information or to apply, visit the Postdoctoral Research Associate Program web page.

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