Advocacy Committee Chair: CerenTozlu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The advocacy committee was formed to provide the Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoc community a platform to advocate for improved living and working experiences during their time at Weill Cornell Medicine and in New York City.
The advocacy committee is currently working on:
Green Team - Improving sustainability in our labs. Through our ‘Green Team’ we promote awareness of the impact our daily lab work has on the environment. We strive for the implementation of better waste recycling by WCM/NYP and for them to provide central collection points for reusable lab waste like empty pipette tip boxes, styrofoam boxes, cooling packages etcetera. In addition, we promote energy saving options like switching of machines which are not often used and switching of lights when a space is not used.
Growing Up In Science - Right before the pandemic started, we hosted our inaugural ‘Growing up in Science’ session featuring the founder of Growing up in Science; Wei Ji Ma. Growing up in Science provides a platform for established scientists to share their personal stories, the good and the bad, and how all of this resulted in them being where they are now. They share their experiences with grad students, postdocs and junior faculty, to let them know that dealing with struggles and going through times is something we all have in common. Once in person meetings are allowed again, we will resume with ‘Growing up in Science’ at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Annual Meeting With The Dean - Each year we arrange a small meeting with the Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine, to address the topics which concern the Weill Cornell Postdoc community the most. We follow up when needed.
In the past we have:
Improved parental leave, which is now the same as that of WCM faculty.
Addressed the annual rent increase of WCM housing
Discussed benefits like vacation days. WCM postdocs have the lowest amount of vacation days compared to postdocs at our peer institutions in NYC
Addressed NYC wide increase of postdoc salary due to changes in the NY FSLA and advocated for implementation of this increase for WCM postdocs. Since January 2020 WCM postdoc salaries are competitive to that of most other institutions in NYC
Advocated for an internal primary caregiver grant to hire a technician, so that the research from the primary caregiver of a newborn child can continue while the parent takes care of the child
Addressed issues with the unnecessary high costs for annual visa renewals. 2- and 3-year J1 visas can be provided if the PI is able to show that there is sufficient funding available.
Note from former Committee Chair Jeroen:
"In order to successfully advocate for the WCM postdoc community, we need to look at each issue from all possible perspectives. For example; after our time as postdoc we will have a job in which we will have to manage or mentor a team of scientists, which may include postdocs. Being on the other side of the table is something we have to take into consideration. Policies which may appear less beneficial for postdocs, may be like this for a valid reason. Being able to improve policies, benefits or regulations, in such a way that it is a win-win for all parties involved, feels very rewarding but does take a lot of perseverance, patience, negotiation skills and insight. This committee provides ample opportunities to work on these skills which will definitely be a great asset for any future position."