May 2022

SURPAS Council Meeting Agenda

Wednesday May 25th, 2022 11:30am-1:00pm 

Location: Zoom

Quorum:  11

  • Acknowledgment statement, inc group norms/mutual respect (2’) 
  • Welcome, Zoom etiquette (2’) 
  • Introductions and approval of minutes (5’)

3 new postdocs introduced. 

  • Acknowledgement statement, Introductions and approval of minutes (2’)

Minutes approved by Julia and Nate. Julia will check minutes from previous meeting, Tim mentioned they are not complete. 

  • Updates (2’)
    • COVID-19
  • SURPAS committee updates
    • Communications Committee – Francesco Scavone, Solene Moulin
    • Social Committee – Nathan Johnson
    • Family Committee

Family committee-Lucy: 

Want to recruit members. Launching family-supportive initiative and want to get help. Usually get 10-15 people per coffee event, casual meet where they share experiences and ask questions. Collaborated this month with SLM for lunch. Also collaborate with Parents with Biosciences and did a toy drive. Have done family friendly local activities and subsidized these events. Also applied to SOM for funding to be able to hold these events until the end of the year. Discovery museum, Fioli, skating and pizza, collaborated with sports committee for family-friendly hike, and toy-drive exchange which was very successful. 

Have started to have family focused resources gathered and shared. Have a parenting coffee event upcoming in June. Also planning a meet and greet Bingo. Have a family committee meeting upcoming tomorrow. Tim mentions meeting upcoming with the county about childcare needs. Report linked, comparing Stanford and other institutions.

Chinyere mentions that these meetings were for Grad students and have mentioned that they impact postdocs as well. Sent an email to County supervisor but no response yet. So may need to do this from scratch and maybe support of OPA. Under the impression that postdocs were included with “faculty and staff” but they were not. Reach out to Lucy if interested in helping out with these and family committee initiatives. Upcoming events in July are parenting and coffee, music class, and perhaps yoga tbd. 

Some tools and resources that are in progress are; pediatrician recommendations, onboarding guide for new postdoc families, favorite books, toys ectt. There is help needed to run these events! Family committee is recruiting co-chairs this fall. Also events coordinator and resource managers to help out ( 

Communications Committee- Solene: 

Starting back up the committee, wanting to give postdocs access to information. Monthly mailers, postdoc highlights (short and put on Twitter), “TED talks”. Need people to join in to help out. Reach out if interested. TED talks: create a monthly workshop to get a talk ready then do the talks in groups (of about 10 postdocs) then can film and post on social media. Perhaps create a session in Postdoc Symposium in fall. Hoping SURPAS can help advertise this project at happy hour events. Tim mentions we can also use Stanford Daily to help offload some work and get their help with writing and advertising on social media. Maybe make this a class for students? Solene mentions want to make this more casual (like doing the talks at a happy hour) and more social. Shruiti mentions OPA sponsored a class last year, need to create a plan and submit to OPA so this may be something that can be done. She will reach out for more details. 

For postdocs highlights Chinyere mentions that some postdocs are shy/have imposter syndrome and may not want to volunteer. So can ask postdocs directly, pick some postdocs randomly. Are you highlighting postdoc papers in monthly mailer? Solene mentions for upcoming events but hasn’t been fully discussed as to content yet. Aravind: can we feature postdocs with fellowships that OPA awards? May be a way to tie these in and could benefit OPA as well as to advertise who wins awards. 

Social Committee- Nate: 

This committee is starting back up again, providing social events to postdocs. Survey showed that BBQs and happy hours were most popular events that were wanted by postdocs. Had first committee meeting last week with good turnout (about 15 postdocs) and have some good ideas for events. If interested reach out to Nate ( or on slack. Postdoc formal planning is on the way and getting quotes. Now planning a BBQ, potentially in Palo Alto coming soon. In talks with sports committee to help plan a sports olympics happy hour. Need help planning events!

  • Call for Leadership Positions
    • Elections to take place in June council meeting
  • Feedback on discussion with Sofie Kleppner, OPA
    • Housing
    • Healthcare premiums
    • New Mental Health Benefits

Have asked OPA is we can have a travel subsidy for postdocs that live far. OPA said no, it’s postdocs choice if they want to live that far. Way that postdocs get paid through either fellowship or grant is different. So our salary increases will be different from the rest of the university. When faculty, staff, grad students got raises a bit ago some postdocs were upset. Sophie mentioned the reason is because all postdocs are paid differently. 

Healthcare premiums have gone up for postdocs with kids. Now want to meet with Denise Livegood. Our healthcare is different then the rest of the University. Healthcare is going up for all Stanford faculty and staff. If single individual, Stanford covers 100%, if have dependent Stanford only covers 85% and the postdocs pay the rest. Eamon: This is an equity issue for postdocs with dependents and fits in JEDI efforts on campus. Is it possible to be funding to pay for dependent healthcare? Chinyere has raised this point about equity and they said that’s what the family grant is for. This is a bit but not enough. 

OPA working hard on housing. There’s a working group derived from PACPA to come up with feasible housing plans (both short and long term). Transition housing is at market rate so still expensive and meant to be temporary. Postdoc lottery system may be lost and not continued. Have the place only for 6 months and then have to re-apply so not sustainable. Goal is to come up with a plan. A faculty member suggested Stanford to buy a building but could be expensive. Chuchu: can we provide financial support or subsidized units? OPA doesn’t know how this works exactly because R&D is working on a business model. 

Brightlife new mental health benefits available. Faculty stay health center there to help if need to talk to someone. Postdocs get 10 free sessions.

  • Council Member Renewals/ New Members
    • Shruti Jain (new member)
    • Josefine Eilsoe Nielsen
    • Jason Guo
    • Julia Abitbol
    • Eamon Byrne

Shruti (new member): 4th year postdoc, interested in Advocacy coordinator. Wants to foster inclusivity and belonging for postdocs. Mentor-mentee network past time here at Stanford. Also interested in advocating for families, providing resources. It is not affordable for a postdoc family. Also being an international postdoc, increased funding. 

Chinyere: have you attended SLM events for mentor-mentee part. Shruti, yes but may be useful to get more faculty involved and people with more experience with that. 

Voted in- 11 yes

Jason (re-election): Symposium co-chair, would like to continue advocating for postdocs.

Voted in- 13 yes

Julia (re-election): Been on council for 2 years, on leadership for the past year and hoping to continue on council 

Voted in- 12 yes, 1 abstain

Eamon (re-election): Been on council for 3 years and have had a variety of positions. Currently, co-chair of long range planning committee. If interested contact him ( or Working on report through focus groups that the committee had. Goal is to send report to GSC, faculty senate and the Daily. 

Voted in- 10 yes, 1 abstain

  • Upcoming events (5’)
    • June Happy Hour- May 27 at 9 am
    • June OPA/SURPAS Meeting June 21st  at 3 pm
    • June Council Meeting: Thursday June 23 11:30am

Want to have a meeting with all SURPAS committee co-chairs to go through budget. This will be upcoming.