ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Postdoctoral fellows from across the U.S. Army Research Laboratory gathered to answer questions about their current research and seek collaborative partnerships during the laboratory's inaugural Postdoctoral Research Day event Sept. 13, 2016, at the ARL Conference Center at APG.

Interested people from the science and technology community viewed poster presentations and learned about the important work postdocs are doing.

During the informal session, visitors spoke with postdocs, viewed presentations and asked questions.

About 150 postdoctoral researchers carry out important science and technology investigations across ARL. A postdoc is someone who recently completed their doctoral studies and work under the mentorship of a senior researcher before setting out on their own.

"There's a lot of diverse work going on," said Dr. Theresah Zu, co-chair of the ARL Postdoctoral Association. "It's very difficult to foresee potential collaborative efforts with the different labs. You don't really get to have group meetings or presentations."

Zu said 18 ARL postdocs gave poster presentations.

"For a first time event and considering the time constraints, I believe it was a good first start," she said.

The laboratory planned the event to coincide with the National Postdoc Appreciation Week, Sept. 19-23. Since 2009, the National Postdoctoral Association has sponsored the week to recognize the "significant contributions that postdoctoral scholars make to U.S. research and discovery."

"I think for a first time event, we had a good turnout," said Dr. Meagan Small, co-chair of the ARL Postdoctoral Association. "During such a busy time of the year, it is difficult for people to take time away from their desks, so we appreciate those that were able to stop by."

Small said she felt there was a good representation of post-docs across nearly all of the directorates of the lab.

"As far as lessons learned, next time we will hold the event in a location that is more central to everyone," she said. "This makes it more convenient for people to attend when they have time throughout the day. Additionally, we'll be sure to have food and drinks so our presenters aren't famished!"


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.