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Sheila Saia Featured in Postdoctoral Spotlight


This article originally appeared on The Graduate School News.

What postdoctoral fellowship opportunities are available for NC State postdocs?

NC State’s Graduate School reached out to funded postdoc fellows around campus to ask what their experience working as a fellow is like and have organized some of their tips regarding opportunities for securing a fellowship of your own. One of the featured fellows

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellowship

ORISE offers postdoctoral fellowships and research opportunities at federal facilities nationwide. ORISE is a Sustaining Member of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) and they offer postdoctoral positions in national laboratories and federal research facilities nationwide.

Featured Recipient: Sheila Saia, Biological & Agricultural Engineering

Dr. Saia currently works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering with Dr. Natalie Nelson but from 2017-2019 pursued her ORISE postdoctoral fellowship with the United States Forest Service Southern Research Station in Durham, NC. As an ORISE fellow she combined streamflow (in the hydrology field) and demographic (census) data to better understand communities vulnerable to climate change.

Dr. Saia notes that the ORISE fellowship is meant to provide training for people interested in government work, and it’s open to post-baccalaureate, post-masters, and post-doctoral graduates. Using the ORISE fellowship, Dr. Saia was able to attend several professional development seminars and two major conferences: RStudio 2017 and then the American Geophysical Union in DC 2018 where she presented her work with ORISE. Moving forward, Dr. Saia hopes to continue relating her work in hydrology to human populations.

If you are interested in an ORISE fellowship, Dr. Saia advises you start thinking about and preparing for it at least a year ahead of time. When you fill out the application, be sure to explicitly mention traits they are looking for that you possess. Finally, while this might not be the case for all ORISE fellowships, some might offer information about the group you could be working with. If so, make sure you do research on that group and include that knowledge in your application (such as relating what the lab does to your work and tailoring your letter and resume to that work).