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SBU Postdoc Spotlight 2018 

Postdoc Spotlight Banner 2018

SBU Postdoc Spotlight is a celebration of the research performed by Stony Brook's postdoctoral scholars. The 2018 Spotlight will be held on November 15, 2018 .

Cutting-edge research at SBU presented for a general audience. Spotlight talks are five minutes long and are designed like a TED talk to be accessible to specialists and non-specialists alike. The Postdoc Spotlight is a great opportunity to see some of the latest discoveries and exciting research taking place at Stony Brook.

Postdoc speakers receive specialized coaching in providing a broad and engaging talk for non-specialists.  Postdoc speakers at Spotlight 2017 Speakers work with the  Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science . The internationally recognized center works to enhance understanding of science by helping to train the next generation of scientists to communicate more effectively with the public, the media and others outside their own specialty. Selection as a speaker is a unique professional development opportunity that helps prepare our postdocs to become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Sign up today!

Prizes given for the best talk. A panel of judges evaluate the talks for how well they achieve the Spotlight's goals of sharing the excitement of our postdocs' discoveries in a way that is accessible to a non-specialist.

Spotlight presentations will be followed by a reception.  Take the opportunity to network with your colleagues and learn more about their work. 

Maria Rosa presents to a full house at Spotlight 2017 Location:  Wang Center Lecture Hall 1

Date:    Thursday, November 15, 2018

Spotlight Talks: 4:00 pm—5:30 pm 

Reception & Award Presentation: 5:30 pm—6:30 pm 

This event is free and open to the public.


Congratulations to all our speakers for their hard work, and especially, our best talk winners from the 2018 SBU  Postdoc Spotlight!

1st Place Lindsey Czarnecki,
Neurobiology & Behavior

1st Place Linsey Czarnecki

2nd Place Steven Jaret, Geosciences

2nd Place Steven Jaret

3rd Place James Robertson, Laufer Center

3rd Place James Robertson


4:00pm-4:15pm Welcome Wang Lecture Hall 1
  Kathleen Flint Ehm, Director for Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development
Richard J. Reeder, Vice President for Research
4:15pm-5:30pm Spotlight Presentations 
Moderator: Krupa Haranahalli, Postdoc, Chemistry
Wang Lecture Hall 1
  Postdoc Speakers:
Harini Krishnan, Physiology and Biophysics
"Dancing with Single Molecules"
Cristina Lazzarini, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
"The Marvelous and Dangerous World of Fungi"
Steven Jaret, Geosciences
"Surviving the Apocalypse: A Fossil Story"
Evgeni Boriushkin, Medicine
"The Growth of Blood Vessels as a Source of New Discovery"
Carlos Perez Lara, Physics and Astronomy
"The Big Bang Experiment"
Maryam Alavi, Medicine
"A Tiny Protein and One of the Most Common Cause of Cancer-Related Death"
Heidi Preis, Psychology
"Improving the Health of Teens Who Have Abortions"
Oumarou Njoya, Physics and Astronomy
"Neutrinos are Tiny, Mysterious, and Everywhere"
Lindsey Czarnecki, Neurobiology and Behavior
"The Taste of Things to Come"
James Robertson, Laufer Center
"Better Living Through Computational Chemistry"
5:30pm-6:30pm Reception and Award Presentation Wang Chapel

  Spotlight 2017 Speakers



Speaker Sign Up Deadline:  Friday, October 5, 2018 (Selected speakers will be notified shortly thereafter)

Speaker Coaching Dates:   (All speakers must commit to both Sessions 1 & 2) *

Coaching Date 1, Plenary: Oct 19, 2018, 1:00-3:00pm 
Coaching Date 2, Small-Group Coaching: CHOOSE: Nov 1, 2018, 10:00am-12:00pm OR 12:00-2:00pm
Optional Coaching Date 3, Small-Group Coaching:  Nov 8, 2-4pm -- This is a supplementary opportunity for speakers to get additional feedback the week before the event. You may want to pencil it in.

Presentation Guidelines:  Veronica Canoa Roman, Physics Only SBU Postdocs are eligible to give a Spotlight talk. Talks will be approximately five minutes long. Speakers should craft a talk that distills the heart of their research for a general audience who may not be specialists in the style of a TED talk. Speakers will receive individualized coaching on their presentation from experts at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

All speakers must commit to participating in the two required coaching sessions, one each to be held on: Oct 19 AND Nov 1 *

The first session will provide an overview of best practices for honing one's message for a general audience and representing that message with effective visualizations. In the second session, speakers will receive coaching on their individual talks in small groups.  Speakers are required to attend BOTH the first session and one of the small-group, individualized coaching sessions. * See coaching dates and times above .

Postdocs must affirm that their postdoctoral supervisor supports presentation of their research during speaker sign up. The talks will be recorded and posted online. Emiliano Brini, Laufer Center

How to Sign Up:

  1. Go to the Sign Up form  and enter your contact info.
  2. Affirm that your postdoctoral supervisor supports you presenting your work in the Spotlight.
  3. Agree to participate in the two required coaching sessions ( see times above ). *
  4. After submission, you will be contacted shortly after the closing date for sign up about whether you have been selected to speak. At that time, we will request a title from selected speakers. 

Speaker Selection: The number of speakers is limited. Therefore, speakers will be selected to provide a broad slate of presentations designed to reach a general audience bearing no specialized knowledge. Selected speakers will be notified shortly after speaker signup closes.

Judging: The talks will be evaluated by a panel of judges from a range of backgrounds and disciplines for how well the speaker engages a general audience of non-specialists and can convey the excitement and innovation of their research without jargon or distortion. Scoring is out of a total of 30 points determined as follows: 

Clarity (1-10 points):

  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical order?
  • Did the presenter use appropriate terminology for a non-specialist audience?
  • Were the presentation slides clear and easy to follow?

Content (1-10 points):

  • Did the presentation explain the significance of the research question?
  • Did the presenter explain what they did for their research?
  • Did the presenter describe their findings?
  • Did the presenter explain the implications of their findings?

Engagement (1-10 points):

  • Did the presentation slides enhance your understanding of the research presented?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain the audience’s attention?
  • Did the speaker make eye contact, appear confident and speak in a clear voice?

Prizes:   The top three talks will be awarded prizes generously sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research. 

1st Prize: $500
2nd Prize: $300
3rd Prize:  $100

QUESTIONS: Contact Kathleen Flint Ehm, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and SBU Postdoc Spotlight Coordinator, at or 631-632-7531.

*Postdoc speakers who have taken relevant Alda Center coursework may be eligible to opt out of the first coaching session. But you'll be missing out on new material on visuals. Just sayin.