Article Written by : Laurie Risner
NRMN-CAN Postdoc Spotlight
Wenndy Hernandez, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago in the section of Genetic Medicine and an active NRMN-CAN participant. Wenndy attended the inaugural NRMN-CAN Professional Development and Grantwriting Conference in Fall 2015, along with 50 other postdocs and junior faculty from across the Big Ten Academic Alliance. There, she participated in several professional development workshops designed to assist early stage investigators to succeed in the academic research career path. On the second day of the conference, she learned key components of grant writing – including the group-based method of grant writing, as developed and presented by Dr. Rick McGee of Northwestern University. Dr. McGee spent day one of the meeting in a parallel session training 20 senior faculty “coaches”, including Dr. Dorothy Hanck and Dr. Eric Beyer from the University of Chicago, to be able to effectively coach the postdocs in their grant applications.
Wenndy described, “We broke out into small groups with faculty members as grant writing coaches where we discussed our Specific Aims. The absolute best part was that we continued to meet with the Faculty members for grant writing sessions on campus!”
After meeting her peer group and coaches for several sessions, Wenndy submitted her grant application, an NIH K12 career development grant, that was awarded through the UChicago CTSA, this Summer, 2017. Wenndy credits her coaches, Drs. Beyer and Hanck, “tremendously for helping me write a successful grant proposal.”
“In addition, the conference included talks on mentorship that I found very helpful. In fact, that’s why I decided to attend the NRMN-CAN Postdoctoral Mentor Training Workshop in June 2016. I learned why and how to establish goals/expectations not just as a mentee but also as a mentor. This is quite important for postdocs since we serve, consciously or not, as mentors to other members of the lab – but also because my goal is to remain in academia.”
Wenndy continues to remain active in NRMN by participating in live webinars including the recent Live Q&A: Developing a Research Question webinar discussion hosted by NRMN and iBiology. Wenndy says, “There was a point in my life where becoming a scientist was only a dream. But I overcame many barriers by adding “tools” to my “toolbox” and the NRMN is one of my essential ‘tools.’ I value very much the people that I’ve met, faculty and other postdocs, and what I have learned through NRMN.”
Wenndy Hernandez’s research focuses on genetic susceptibility and the molecular mechanisms underlying complex human diseases, particularly those that disproportionally afflict under-represented minorities.