How Does Your City or State Treat Postdocs?”

Inspired by the COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell’s revelations in her TEDx talk,  IReallyAppreciateScience has initiated a series of articles and links to articles by other publications on a singular question…

“Why America is in 4th Place in Advanced Tech, when in the last Century it was in 1st Place?”

The UW Handbook for Postdoc


The closest example we can compare is in Seattle, since we are based here.  How does this city and state make a difference in a postdoc or graduate student coming to this region to study and/or to stay?

At the University of Washington’s Graduate School, for example, their staff has collected in one handbook the information most postdocs need.  “You never walk alone” with one advisor.  There is an army of support for one of the most valuable segments of academic research at The UW.


The State of Washington supports ACA and the FMLA.  Believe it or not, some states do not support ACA or the Family Medical Leave Act in a complete, all-around way!

Additionally, their is a very active Graduate Student TA and RA association.  Sometimes using the techniques of union-organizing, they have been recognized on one level by the AFL-CIO, the organization of crafts and industrial unions in the USA.  This type organization is sometimes frowned upon by administrators, faculty, and a few other students,  yet it helps to enforce a regimen and a knowledge in the student body and postdocs that a democratic competition for limited resources is fundamental to the scientific process.

As opposed to having parents fixing grades and in other ways illegally buying their kids’ way into prestigious schools, the enforcement of this economic aspect of the reality of scientific ruthlessness that exists at every level of academia (or should) is fundamental to maintaining an healthy, national scientific program.   “Why does Rice play Texas?  We choose to go to The Moon.” 

In addition, as an employee of the UW, you may have additional benefits for leave from the state and the city.  For example, the state legislature just passed further funding for secondary education in May, 2019. From the Sunday Seattle Times,

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 4.22.55 PM

Reclaimers and Disclaimers

What I know:  I have taken the literature with links on UW programs from the open web, local newspapers, and distilled them knowing my own experience as an employee in the City of Seattle and in Martin Luther King County, State of Washington (The Green Flag State).  Policies improve and change.

I do not work for the UW, nor do I represent it.  As a Professor at UCF in Orlando, my brightest undergraduate student, Tamara, was accepted and attended the UW Department of Chemistry as a grad.  Receiving her PhD  in the 1990s in Biophysical Chemistry, she went on to Stanford University as a Postdoc.


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