Student/Postdoc Advisory Committee

The Student/Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPAC) represents the interests of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and medical fellows at Fred Hutch in obtaining the best education possible for their future careers. SPAC works closely with the Office of Scientific Career Development.

We work to:

  • improve the environment and education for students and fellows at Fred Hutch. 
  • identify needs for information beneficial to incoming and current students and fellows
  • address specific issues relating to student and fellow training and career development
Survival Guide

For Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

To help you find your way around Fred Hutch, the Student/Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPAC) and Human Resources have put together a handbook of information and resources relevant for graduate students and postdocs.

Scholarship and Travel Awards 

We offer scholarships and travel awards to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to subsidize the cost of coursework outside of the regular training or attend a conference. 

Course Scholarships

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Up to $1500 course scholarships are available twice per year to subsidize the cost of coursework that will benefit the career goals of FHCRC postdocs and graduate students.

  1. The course can be on any subject, but applicants need to justify why the course cannot be taken as part of their regular training.
  2. Application deadlines fall in July and January.

Please note that there may be tax implications to receiving this award. If you receive a SPAC Scholarship, the amount of the award may be added to the total wages for your W2 tax form. In addition, you may need to pay Social Security Tax, which is 7.65% of the amount of the award. This Social Security tax may be deducted from your next month's paycheck after you spend the award.

For further information contact Amber Ismael.

Travel Awards

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Conference Travel Awards up to $1500 are available to graduate students, postdoctoral and medical fellows who would like to attend a conference but don't have the funds available. 

Criteria for Award:

  1. The applicant must be a Fred Hutch affiliated graduate student, postdoc or medical fellow for at least the past 6 months.
  2. The applicant must present a poster or talk at the conference.
  3. It is preferable to present research at the conference that has been conducted at Fred Hutch.

To apply for the Award:

  1. Submit a cover letter that states which conference you wish to attend and what you hope to achieve by attending this conference. State how attending will help you progress in your career.
  2. Submit the abstract that has been or will be submitted to the conference. Be sure to comply with the word limit as specified by the conference. Additionally, include information about where this research was conducted. Your current principle investigator should be on the abstract.
  3. Submit a letter of recommendation from your principle investigator (PI). The letter should include confirmation of any lack of funding for travel and conference attendance.
  4. Submit a description of the conference (flyer or copy of application).
  5. Submit a table with detailed costs of the registration fee, room and board, and transportation.
  6. List all of the conferences that you have attended during your tenure at the FHCRC, including the month and year.
  7. State whether you are a graduate student, postdoctoral or medical fellow and what year (eg. 3rd year Postdoc). Include how long you have been in your current position (e.g., if you are a 3rd year postdoc, but this is your first year in this particular lab).
  8. State whether you have applied to other travel awards to help finance the cost of travel and when you might hear about receiving the other awards.
  9. State whether you have ever received a SPAC Travel Award during your tenure at the FHCRC.

Note that you can only receive one travel award during your tenure at the FHCRC.

Note that international travel must be completed on a US carrier unless you have a waiver from the Finance Department.  Your flight must be booked through the FHCRC Travel Agent.

Please note that there may be tax implications to receiving this award. If you receive a SPAC Travel Award, the amount of the award may be added to the total wages for your W2 tax form. In addition, you may need to pay Social Security Tax, which is 7.65% of the amount of the award. This Social Security tax may be deducted from your next month's paycheck after you spend the award.

There will be two offerings a year with 3 awards available per offering. Deadlines for Abstract submission are November 1 and March 15. Awards are determined by November 15 and April 1. Please email applications to Amber Ismael.

Exploration Program for Industry Careers (EPIC) 

Postdoctoral fellows and graduate students often have little exposure to career paths outside of academia. SPAC and the Office of Career Development address this issue by offering events to educate about potential PhD career paths, including biotech industry careers.

The Exploration Program for Industry Careers (EPIC) takes this one step further for those curious about careers in Industry. In addition to career workshops and events at Fred Hutch, EPIC features site visits to biotech companies in the area, providing an in-depth look at industry careers. The program also gives participants networking opportunities, which can help in setting up collaborations and in current and future job searches.

Based on successful programs in Massachusetts and California (See Nature Biotechnology 28, 625-6; 2010, Nature 478, 277; 2011, Nature 480, 576; 2011), the goals of EPIC are to allow participants to make informed choices about future career options, and provide them with the tools they will need to be successful as they enter the job market. 

A core component of the EPIC Program is to visit local biotech companies. Here's what a site visit looks like.

Site Visit Sample Agenda:

  • 1:00-1:45  Welcome and Overview of Company, Tour
  • 1:45-4:00  Career Presentations – 20-minute Q&A sessions with employees in different roles
  • 4:00-5:00  Networking Mixer - max 1 to 3 ratio of employees to students/postdocs (most visits last year were closer to 1:2 or even 1:1)

Eligibility

All current Fred Hutch graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and medical fellows are eligible to apply for this program. 

Please note that you will need to carefully construct your biosketch in the application, as this is what the biotech companies will see prior to your visit.  You will have a chance to edit it later. 

Please direct questions about the program or application process to Amber Ismael.

Benefits for Students/Postdocs

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Insight into corporate culture

Networking experience

Career guidance

Potential opportunities for collaborations

Exposure to a variety of career paths within industry

Fred Hutch Postdocs/students: More information on how to apply for this program will be posted to the Fred Hutch postdoc/student listserv. If you are not on that mailing list and are a Fred Hutch postdoc or graduate student please contact Amber Ismael at aismael@fredhutch.org.

Benefits for Companies

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Attract top area scientists to your company

Identify opportunities for collaborations

Meet future colleagues

Establish relationships with local academic labs

Companies: If you are a company interested in being part of EPIC, please contact Amber Ismael at aismael@fredhutch.org.

Hutch International Ambassadors

The Student/Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPAC) initiated this program to help new postdocs and graduate students, especially those from other countries, become familiar with the Hutch and the Seattle region.

The idea is pretty simple: at their request, incoming researchers are paired with an "Ambassador" who speaks the same language and is from the same country of origin (if possible). The Ambassador answers questions about the Hutch, Seattle, places to live, good restaurants, etc. Most people have found this to be a rewarding experience, and you might even make some new friends.

Become an Ambassador

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There are many benefits to participating in HIA, including getting more involved in the Hutch community, helping your fellow graduate students and postdocs, the establishment of long-term friendships and excellent networking opportunities. Furthermore, participation in HIA is one more thing you can add to your CV!

If you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please submit a volunteer intake form.

When we have a match for you, we will contact you to see if you can be an Ambassador at that time. You can always decline to volunteer at that time if you are busy, out of the country, etc. If you choose to accept, we will give you the incoming researcher's contact information so that you may contact him/her by email or phone to welcome them to the Hutch and offer to answer questions. Any continued contact after that is up to the both of you. You can remove yourself from the program at any time by emailing us.

Be Matched With an Ambassador

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To be matched with an ambassador, incoming researchers should contact us by sending an e-mail to ambassad@fredhutch.org and tell us

  • your expected start date at the Hutch (or how long you've been here)
  • the lab you are going to join (or already joined)
  • your email address
  • your preferred language

Please note that this service is restricted to present and immediate future postdocs and graduate students at the Hutch.

Dr. Jim McDougall
Dr. Jim McDougall

McDougall Mentoring Award

Dr. Jim McDougall was a faculty member at the Fred Hutch from 1978-2003. He was highly regarded for his dedication to and excellent mentorship of the people in his lab. In honor of his memory, SPAC sponsors the annual McDougall Mentoring Award, which celebrates faculty members who demonstrate a similar dedication to and enthusiasm for mentoring their graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and/or medical fellows. The award recipient will be announced at the Annual SPAC Holiday Party in December.

Faculty Awardees

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2018 Dr. Harmit Malik
2017 Dr. Paul Lampe
2016 Dr. Adam Geballe
2015 Dr. Stephen Tapscott
2014 Dr. Polly Newcomb
2013 Dr. Sue Biggins
2012 Dr. Michael Emerman
2011 Dr. Anne McTiernan
2010 Dr. Andrea LaCroix
2009 Dr. Johanna Lampe
2008 Dr. Julie Overbaugh
2007 Dr. David Fredricks

Nomination Criteria

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The nominee must meet the following criteria:

  • Has been a faculty member at the FHCRC for at least three years
  • Their primary faculty appointment is at the FHCRC
  • Currently has at least one graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or medical fellow in his/her lab or work group

Criteria to consider in your application include mentoring in the following areas:       

  • Research skill development
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Critical thinking and hypothesis generation skills
  • Collaborative science
  • Choosing a career
  • Job search including networking
  • Poster and oral presentations
  • Writing skills
  • Teaching skills
  • Responsible conduct of research
  • Leadership and management skills
  • Sensitivity to diversity issues
  • The “human-side” of mentoring--how the mentor exemplifies living life as a scientist and a citizen
Dr. Nancy Hutchison
Dr. Nancy Hutchison

Hutchison Mentoring Award

Dr. Nancy Hutchison joined the Hutch in 1982 as a postdoctoral fellow, and in 1991 she co-founded the Science Education Partnership (SEP) which she led until her retirement in 2016. She is highly regarded for her dedication to science education and her excellent mentorship of the people in and around SEP.

In her honor, the annual Hutchison Mentoring Award celebrates non-faculty employees or trainees who demonstrate a similar dedication to and enthusiasm for mentoring others within the Fred Hutch community (e.g. graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical fellows, research technicians, undergraduates, high school students, etc.). The award recipient will be announced at the annual SPAC Holiday Party in December.

Awardees

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2018  Dr. Dara Lehman

Nomination Criteria

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The nominee must meet the following criteria:

  • Has been an employee or trainee at Fred Hutch for at least one year.
  • Does not hold a faculty appointment at Fred Hutch.
  • Has demonstrated mentorship of others within the Fred Hutch community (e.g. high school students, undergraduates, gradute students, postdoctoral fellows, medical fellows, research technicians, etc.) 

Criteria to consider in your application include mentoring in the following areas:   

  • Research skill development
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Critical thinking and hypothesis generation skills
  • Collaborative science
  • Choosing a career
  • Job search including networking
  • Poster and oral presentations
  • Writing skills
  • Teaching skills
  • Responsible conduct of research
  • Leadership and management skills
  • Sensitivity to diversity issues
  • The “human-side” of mentoring--how the mentor exemplifies living life as a scientist and a citizen

SPAC Board Administration

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Karen Peterson, PhD
Director, Office of Scientific Career Development / SPAC Advisor
Human Biology Division
kpeterso@fredhutch.org

Amber Ismael, PhD
Director, Office of Scientific Career Development / SPAC Advisor
Human Biology Division
aismael@fredhutch.org

Amanda Davis-Roca, PhD (Co-Chair)
Biggins Lab
Basic Sciences Division
SPAC@fredhutch.org

Meghan Garrett (Co-Chair)
Lund Lab
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division
SPAC@fredhutch.org

Carly Garrison, PhD (Co-Chair)
Lampe Lab
Public Health Sciences Division
SPAC@fredhutch.org

Alyssa Webster, PhD (Co-Chair)
Simon Lab
Clnical Research Division
SPAC@fredhutch.org

For further information contact Amber Ismael .

Contact Us

A listserv exists for Hutch graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and medical fellows to disseminate information about professional development, job, and funding opportunities. For more information on listservs, visit the Fred Hutch listserv site.

Got something you want us to know about? Or do you want to get involved and do something helpful with your copious and abundant spare time? If so, please contact:

Amanda Davis-Roca, PhD

Meghan Garrett

Carly Garrison, PhD

Alyssa Webster, PhD

Last Modified, August 21, 2019