Transcript of 2022 WRF Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium opening remarks from Dr. David Galas, chair of the selection committee and WRF board member. Minor editing has taken place to improve clarity.
“The people who befriend and advise you when you are intensely engaged in creating your future, forging your ideas and your values, these will be the people that you will remember and treasure forever. Now is your time. Take advantage of it.”
Thank you for that introduction, Daniel [Slichter]. I am also delighted to welcome you all to the annual symposium of the WRF postdoc program. As Daniel said, the WRF initiated this program about six years ago with the express purpose of strengthening the scientific and technical environment and professional population of Washington state by attracting and supporting creative young scientists and engineers who really want to make a difference, solve tough problems and change the world.
As I’m sure you all realize, there’s just one major factor that drives the vigor and excellence in science and engineering. It is by far the most important factor. That factor is people: talented, creative and highly motivated people. And to build the strength of the technical environment I just mentioned, there’s probably no more important sector of the population to build than young people at the beginning of their productive careers. In our program, we’ve looked for creative young people, who are deeply motivated to have a positive impact on society, and we’ve selected 10 such postdocs in each of these past years.
We are particularly delighted to be able to bring the WRF postdocs together here today, to interact with one another and to share with all of you what they’ve done and what they are doing. I look forward to having an increasingly interactive and networked community that includes WRF postdocs, their many colleagues, other students, mentors, collaborators and others that form the vigorous technical community of the state of Washington.
Postdocs, while it’s hard to get to know people over Zoom, you’re there with each other, and it’s really important for you to take every opportunity you have, including this one, to forge bonds, establish friendships and make contacts that will serve you well in your careers. I have a couple of suggestions. One is that it’s especially important to get to know people in fields outside your own. Not only in your own, but outside your own. It is likely that the bonds that you form at this stage of your careers you will hold dear and will be with you for a long time. I’m tempted to recount personal anecdotes at this point, but rather than boring you with that, let me simply say that the people who befriend and advise you when you are intensely engaged in creating your future, forging your ideas and your values, these will be the people that you will remember and treasure forever. Now is your time. Take advantage of it.
I’m certainly looking forward to learning what you’ve been up to and what you’re doing, and what the promise you demonstrated in being awarded a Fellowship has led to so far. Before we get on with the program, however, I’d like to thank a number of people who have made it possible.
So first of all, let me express my deep thanks to the selection committee, of which Daniel is a member. Many of the selection committee have been able to join us today, and I want to recognize all your work and dedication to the program. You are absolutely critical to the success of this program. Some members of the selection committee have participated in selecting all the cohorts so far. A few could not make it today and they send their best wishes.
Next, I’d like to recognize and thank Clarisse Benson, who has made the wheels of the process actually turn, in helping with the scheduling, the arranging, the coordinating of the program and the process, and indeed today’s symposium as well. Thanks, Clarisse.
Finally, I’d like to thank the staff and members of the WRF board. In the staff, I’d particularly like to thank Meher Antia, who has led the grants program for the last short period, and the board has, all of you, the staff and the board, have strongly supported and helped shape this program.
So we look forward to the participation of all of you here today, welcome your ideas and your connections, your participation to help this community thrive and grow. With that. I think we should get on with the program. So, to all of the audience, thanks for being here, and I hope you enjoy the day. I know I’m looking forward to it.
OK, take it away. We look forward to our guest speaker and to the postdocs’ talks.
Dr. David Galas, WRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Committee Chair, May 16, 2022