Photo & Art Contest

2014 Postdoc Photo/Art Contest

For this year’s theme, please submit a visual representation (and brief description) of your interpretation of the word “FOCUS.” Participants can submit photos taken with an iPhone, DSLRs, Point-and-Shoot Cameras, Instagram or other social media based photo app(s). Original art can also be submitted as jpeg, tiff, or psd files. The deadline to enter the contest is Friday, September 20th at 5pm PST. Please submit your entries by emailing




The 2013 Postdoc Photo & Art Contest was sponsored by Garnett-Powers & Associates, a nationally recognized employee benefits provider, in designing, negotiating, and administering the USC-Postdoctoral Benefit Program.

“Sugar Skull”

“Sugar Skull” is a mosaic sculpture that I worked on during the first year of my postdoc and just completed last week as I start my second year. The sugar skull tradition is part of the Day of the Dead celebration where some cultures and faiths honor their deceased loved ones. My sugar skull holds a different meaning and aims to honor the change and growth I’ve experienced during my postdoc at USC as I prepare for the next phase of my journey. The cycle of the caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly represents the change and the plants and flowers represent the growth. The flowers and plants are rooted in the present while the butterfly is ready for the next adventure.Jennifer King

Original art by Patricia Lee King 

Me and Dr. Watson. 

Varma Saaket

A picture with Dr. James D. Watson who discovered the structure of DNA. This picture was taken at a course of single cell analysis at CSHL. His kind words were to follow your passion to help mankind.

Saaket Varma


End of the Tenure Track, 2013

Andrew Gray End of the Tenure Track, 2013

I found this rusty, battered dumpster at the back of the crumbling ruins of the old LA County Women’s and Children’s Hospital. It perfectly represented the epiphany I’ve had during my postdoc journey: The traditional academic career path for PhD scientists has had its day. It might still work for a few people, but most should forget about it and find something better. Discarding my old preconceptions of what my career “should” be was initially very difficult for me, but during my postdoc I have begun to pursue far more exciting ways to use my PhD training. I’m walking away from that old dumpster without looking back.

Andrew Gray


Megan rieger

Untitled. Life is about opportunities, and my postdoc has been no different. Sometimes everything just comes into focus just like this shot of a little hummingbird at the Huntington Library. Seize opportunities before you lose focus and they zoom off to the next flower.

Megan Rieger

Writing, Hot Tea or Coffee, and Nature= Flow

Valerie Hill postdoc pic

I recently defended my dissertation and started my postdoc here at USC. My photo was taken during the final revisions of my dissertation and represents the perfect equation for flow for me as a researcher:

Writing, Hot Tea or Coffee, and Nature= Flow

I spent many hours at the café where the photo was taken, sitting outside in the sun to capture some form of nature to balance all the hundreds, maybe thousands of hours at my computer! The tea and coffee were my companions through the years of my PhD, the one constant that I could turn to for comfort and support. With nature and my warm companions, I often found myself in flow with my writing.

My postdoc was both incidental and intentional! It is incidental, because I didn’t plan for the postdoc until last winter when the deadline was quickly approaching. I was struggling to find a good fit between my skills as a researcher and academician with an academic institution. My mentor reminded me of this opportunity and the timing was perfect. The postdoc was presented to me at the perfect time and fitting with my career goals and aspirations as well as that of the USC Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy divisions’ goals. Because of this perfect fit, I believe it was intentional all along, I just didn’t know it.

Valerie Hill

Greetings from Postdoc Land!

Helty Greetings from Postdoc Land.jpg

Helty Adisetiyo