Postdoctoral Training Course in Scientific Leadership

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Office of Postdoctoral Studies

(608) 265 6225

Critical Skills Training

Postdoctoral trainees are typically well trained in the technical aspects of their discipline but few receive formal training in leadership. This course will equip you with the critical leadership skills you need to succeed in a wide range of scientific career paths.

Interactive Format

The course will consist of six three-hour sessions offered once per month for six months. The sessions will be dynamic and interactive through the use of self-assessments, small group discussions, and case studies drawn from the scientific workplace.

Tailored for Scientists

You will hear the viewpoints and experiences of a range of scientific leaders from industry, academia and government via interviews recorded for the course. These unique videos, in addition to science-specific case studies, will illustrate the relevance of developing leadership and management skills in the context of a scientific career.

Course Brochure 2023 (pdf)

The course will be taught by two experts in leadership and management training.

  • Theresa Kim, PLCC, ACC has been coaching, consulting, and training for more than 15 years and currently serves as the program manager for the Fully Prepared to Lead program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Jill Walder, SHRM-SCP, has been facilitating employee development and coaching employees on best practices in managing teams, conflict, and communication for most of her career.  She currently leads the human resources department at the Morgridge Institute for Research, and has 15+ years of previous experience with a large, global provider of scientific solutions.

Course sessions will cover the following fundamental topics in leadership:

Session 1. Exploring Leadership and Discovering Your Interpersonal Style

Friday October 6, 2023
Leadership is not about formal title or authority, it is about your personal behaviors and the ability to influence others to affect positive change. This session will introduce the concepts of leadership and guide you in understanding your personal style and how that affects your relationships with others.

Session 2. Managing Conflict and Communication Essentials

Friday November 10, 2023
Conflict is necessary in leading a successful team, however, it needs to be managed effectively. This session will provide you with best practices on handling conflict and give you a chance to practice applying communication techniques in a variety of situations.

Session 3. Creating High Performing Teams and Leading Successful Meetings

Friday December 8, 2023
Every team goes through phases of development before becoming high performing. Even if you are not the formal team leader, there are positive behaviors you can employ to help teams progress. This session will introduce the phases of team development, different decision-making styles, and tools to help run productive meetings.

Session 4. Giving Constructive Feedback and Motivating for Peak Performance

Friday January 12, 2024
If properly delivered, feedback can be an invaluable gift of mutual respect and learning. This session will guide you through giving constructive feedback instead of criticism. We will also discuss how to harness the motivation within others to help promote a culture of open, honest communication.

Session 5. Conquering Change

Friday February 2, 2024
Change is the only constant in our lives. Understanding the types of change, how individuals react to change differently, and how you can positively manage change is an essential part of leadership. In this session you will become aware of personal choices that help with change and transition as well as methods that will develop your resiliency to change.

Session 6. Program Capstone: Practical Leadership Applications

Friday March 1, 2024
To be an effective leader, you must find the style that works best for you, openly communicate, and commit to personal development and growth. The capstone session will bring together the key takeaways from each session and guide you in developing a personal action plan to become a better leader.

Any research associate, postdoctoral fellow or postdoctoral trainee at UW–Madison or the Morgridge Institute for Research may apply to participate in the course. There are no course fees thanks to the course sponsors.

The application deadline for the 2023 course was September 1, 2023. We are no longer accepting applications.

The application consists of two parts:

  1. Online application form
  2. Personal statement (5,000 characters maximum)
    Email the statement in a Microsoft Word document to the Office of Postdoctoral Studies ( The statement should explain why you are interested in this course and how it fits your career goals. In the past, the strongest applicants distinguished themselves from other applicants by providing specific examples from their own experiences that outlined how they would benefit from the training offered by this particular course. They also demonstrated in detail that they understood the purpose of each session of the course and how these would apply to them personally in their chosen careers.

Space is limited to 28 participants. You will be notified of the result of the review process by September 30. By accepting a place on the course, you agree to participate in all six sessions.

Please email the Office Postdoctoral Studies ( if you have questions about the application process.


Ademola Aina, Horticulture Udita Mukherjee, Geosciences
Ahmet Alacaoglu, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Mahfuz Rahman, Human Oncology
Omar Beleh, Chemistry Matt Russo, Waisman Center
Grace Cagle, Soil Sciences Balendra Sah, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Centre
Danielle Desa, Biomedical Imaging Leoncio Santiago Martínez, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Charlotte Ford, Pathobiological Sciences Franz Schug, Forest and Wildlife Ecology
Erin Garcia, Medical Microbiology & Immunology Zhengying Shan, Geography
Wenxiao Guo, Chemical and Biological Engineering Ranveer Singh, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Deepak Haarith, Plant Pathology Anneke Slis, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Aya Konno-Yamamoto, Pediatrics Breanne Steffan, Medicine
Boris Krichel, Cell and Regenerative Biology Alex Veith, Oncology
Helen Long, Waisman Center Anumitha Venkatraman, Surgery
Khadijeh Masumnia-bisheh, Biostatics and Medical Informatics Candy Wong, Integrative Biology
Kylee Morrison, Institute for Molecular Virology and McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research Yiyi Zhu, Institute on Aging



Tonia Afshan, Medicine    Jukrin Moon, Pharmacy
Shukria Akbar, Pharmacy    Cara Moravec, Genetics
Asma Ali, Family Medicine
   Liz Ortiz, Materials Science & Engineering
Ellen Brandell, Forest & Wildlife Ecology
   Kutay Ozturk, Plant Pathology
Johnson Chen, Chemical Engineering
   Sarah Raabis, Pathobiological Sciences
Yanjun Gao, Medicine    Rae Robison, Medicine
Jess Kelliher , Medicial Microbiology & Immunology
   James Romero-Masters, Oncology
Ishita Kemeny, Physics    Xiangqiang XQ Shao, Pediatrics
John Kernien, Medicine    Stuti Shrivastava, Botany
Freeman Lan, Biochemistry    Nick Smith, Chemistry
Mike Landowski, Genetics    Jessica Vazquez, Comparative Biosciences
Charlie Lenell, Surgery    Amit Verma, Biochemistry
Rui Liu, Materials Science & Engineering
   Mike Wolfe, Biochemistry
Aisha Mergaert, Oncology    Maryam Zahedian, Engineering Physics



Alexa Barres, Medical Engineering    Corey Jones, Chemistry
Amber Bates, Human Oncology    Hannah Martin, Neurosurgery
Emma Brandt, Cell and Regenerative Biology    Natascha Merten, Population Health Sciences
Hector Burgos, Medical and Microbiology and Immunology    Jeanette Metzger, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
Ross Cawthon, Physics    Jay Mishra, Comparative Biosciences
Jenu Chacko, Laboratory of Cell & Molecular Biology (LCMB), Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI)    Veronika Miskolci, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Liza Chang, Wisconsin Institute for Science Education and Community Engagement (WISCIENCE)    Walker Pedersen, Center for Healthy Minds
Michelle Cooley, Nutritional Sciences    Abby Rajala, Neuroscience
Daicong Da, Mechanical Engineering    Paula Rosa, Wisconsin Energy Institute
Ali Deatsch, Medical Physics    Ben Sajdak, Medical Engineering
Juleen Dickson, Biochemistry    Tanja Schallschmidt, Biochemsitry
Laura Farwell, Forest and Wildlife Ecology    Emily Szkudlarek, Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Scott Fites, Pediatrics    Andrés Tibabuzo, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Nisha Iyer, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery    Caryn Wadler, Bacteriology



   Sebastian Bauer, Biostatistics and Medical Informatics    Tanner McDaniel, Chemistry
   Matthew Brown, Surgery    Anthony Pellicone, Wisconsin Center for Education Research
   Kaitlin Davis, Medical Microbiology & Immunology    Daniel Radecki, Medical Sciences
   Michael Eisenring, Entomology    Michele Ravelli, Neurology
   Peyman Fasahati, Chemical and Biological Engineering    Kayvan Samimi, Morgridge Institute for Research
   Joseph Gord, Chemistry    Johanna Sitomaniemi-San, Curriculum and Instruction
   Emily Hendrick, Obstetrics and Gynecology    Nicholas Staudaher, Chemistry
   Amanda Hurley, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery    Rupa Udani, Disease Prevention
   Moriah Katt, Chemical and Biological Engineering    Benjamin Umlauf, Chemical and Biological Engineering
   Matthew Kelly, Surgery    Emily Urban, Psychology
   Nam Hyo Kim, Pharmacy    Daan van Eijk, Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center
   Jean Lodge, Biotechnology Center    Kurt Weiss, Morgridge Institute for Research
   Alexandra MacMillan Uribe, Nutritional Sciences    Yuzhe Xiao, Electrical and Computational Engineering
   Matthew McCary, Entomology    Chi Zhou, Obstetrics and Gynecology



   Amr Abdeen, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery    Matt Goldfogel, Chemistry
   Jose Ayuso, Biomedical Engineering    Tomas Gverzdys, Biomolecular Chemistry
   Ksenija Bernau, Medicine    Liz Haynes, Integrative Biology
   Jenny Bolivar-Medina, Horticulture    Nydiaris Hernandez-Santos, Pediatrics
   Bieneke Bron, Entomology    Nasim Jamali, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
   Christiane Burton, Radiology    Priya Kalra, Waisman Center
   Stephanie Carpenter, Psychology    Andrew McDermott, Pediatrics
   Boris Claros, Civil and Environmental Engineering    Karthik Nayani, Chemical and Biological Engineering
   Olga Dadalko, Waisman Center    Konstantin Nesterov, Physics
   Amy Dapper, Biotechnology Center    Jenny Philip, Surgery
   Ali Fathi, Waisman Center    Beth Planalp, Psychology
   Celeste Falcon, Agronomy    Matt Regan, Comparative Biosciences
   Louis Fan, Mathematics    Laurie Ristow, Medical Microbiology
   Nathan Feirer, Medicine    Jess Vera, Wisconsin Energy Institute



   Steve Baker, Medical Microbiology & Immunology    Cong Han Lim, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
   Desirée Benefield, Virology    David Loehlin, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology
   Scott Canfield, Chemical and Biological Engineering    Caitlin McMahon, Chemistry
   Jess Corman, Center for Limnology    Ivan Pechenezhskiy, Physics
   Amanda Dugan, Chemistry    Yash Phanse, Pathobiological Sciences
   Lewis Forder, Psychology    Davalyn Powell, Medical Microbiology & Immunology
   Hannah Gaines Day, Entomology    Emily Rosowski, Medical Microbiology & Immunology
   Tiffany Glass, Surgery    Traci Snedden, School of Nursing
   Josh Hamilton, Bacteriology    Robb Stankey, Bacteriology
   Madeline Harms, Psychology    Halena VanDeusen, Oncology
   Ittai Herrmann, Forest and Wildlife Ecology    Katie Vermillion, Regenerative Biology
   Anu Kramer, Forest and Wildlife Ecology    Vikash Malik, Horticulture
   Jenna Kropp, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center    Erin Weber, Materials Science and Engineering
  Rob Lera, Medicine    Zhongnan Xu, Food Science



   Surabhi Bhutani, Nutritional Sciences    Aiping Liu, Biomedical Engineering
   Rob Brown, Chemistry    Peng Liu, Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
   Stefanie Chen, Biochemistry    Sayaka Masuko, Biochemistry
   Tessa Conroy, Agricultural and Applied Economics    Natalie Niemi, Metabolism
   Beth Daising, Plant Pathology    Mark Nolte, Genetics
   Amanda Drennan, Medicine    Cate Paschal, Pediatrics
   Nicole Fonger, Wisconsin Center for Education Research    Joel Pendery, Chemical and Biological Engineering
   Julia Gilden, Bacteriology    Andy Pohl, Core Computational Technology
   Cherisse Hall, Pediatrics    Jennifer Riehl, Entomology
   Linda Hu, Biochemistry    Jose J. Rivera Rivas, Pathobiological Sciences
   James Jennings, Chemical and Biological Engineering    Jessie Stankey, Center for Dairy Research
   Jin Hee Lee, Biomolecular Chemistry    Adam Swick, Human Oncology
   Kristy Lee, Cytogenetics/Molecular Genetics    Steve Tereniak, Chemistry
   Jonathan Lenz, Medical Microbiology & Immunology    Chris Zahm, Oncology

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