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VISION (2011)

CAPS shall act as a broad national voice of Canadian postdocs. CAPS shall work toward clarifying the role of postdocs in Canada, advocate for equitable treatment of postdocs, and represent the interests of postdocs at Federal and Provincial levels.

MISSION (2011)

CAPS exists to represent Canadian postdocs by:
a. Acting as a Collective Voice
- Examples: act as a liaison between Canadian postdocs, institutional representatives, funding agencies, professional organizations, and the national and provincial governments; highlight the role and value of Canadian postdocs within the academic community within Canada and internationally.
b. Advocating on behalf of Postdocs
- Examples: express the views and needs of postdocs at international, national, regional and institutional levels; establish best practice polices for the postdoctoral training experience and encourage implementation of these policies by institutions nationwide.
c. Providing Resources for Professional Development
- Examples: enhance the postdoctoral experience by facilitating the transition into subsequent career phases; assist in the establishment of and provide support for institutional postdoctoral associations.

GOVERNANCE

CAPS Governance Documents

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 2016-2017

Joe Sparling, PhD

Chair

Background: Dr. Joe Sparling is a postdoctoral scholar in the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary where he studies the accumulation of misfolded proteins in neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s). Prior to his postdoc, Dr. Sparling completed a BSc in Biology (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON), a BA in Psychology (Brock University, St. Catharines, ON), a Master’s in Behavioural Neuroscience (Queen’s University, Kingston, ON), and a PhD in Neuroscience (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC). During his PhD Dr. Sparling studied cellular therapies for spinal cord injury as a member of International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD). Although the focus of his work is now neurodegenerative disease rather than traumatic injury, he remains primarily interested in research related to the study and treatment of neuropathological conditions affecting the human central nervous system. Beyond his research, Dr. Sparling is also a prominent figure in the postdoctoral community at the institutional, provincial, and national levels, as he is the current President of the Postdoctoral Association of the University of Calgary (PDAC), an outspoken advocate for improved postdoctoral policies at the provincial level, and he served as the VC Finance and Chair of the National Advocacy Committee for CAPS/ACSP in the first half of 2016.

Agenda: As the Chair of CAPS/ACSP, Dr. Sparling hopes to build on the hard work and dedication of past members of the Executive Board to achieve meaningful and lasting improvements in postdoctoral policies at the federal, provincial, and institutional levels. He firmly believes that postdocs working in Canada deserve the protections commonly provided to employees, that minimum working condition standards for postdocs are essential, and that all postdocs should have access to similar benefits regardless of their nationality or funding source(s). Towards the implementation of such policies, Dr. Sparling plans to expand CAPS/ACSP’s advocacy initiatives in 2016-2017, particularly at the provincial and federal levels. In addition he hopes to increase postdoctoral engagement and involvement in CAPS/ACSP and establish affordable group health insurance for all postdocs not currently provided such coverage through their institutions or funding agencies. Dr. Sparling’s overarching goal is the enactment of uniform postdoctoral policies that guarantee fair and consistent working conditions, rights, and benefits for all postdocs working in Canada. With the dedication of our Executive Board, and the help of our members, he is confident that this is an objective that CAPS/ACSP is capable of achieving in the next few years.

Mohamad Nadim Adi, PhD

Chair

Background: Dr. Mohamad Nadim Adi completed his doctoral studies in the field of virtual reality, having obtained his undergraduate degree and Master’s in architecture. Combining these two fields, he developed a passion to understand and test new buildings and building materials through the use of VR. Dr. Adi has studied how people respond to different types of built environments using various virtual platforms as a medium. He joined the University of Alberta to apply his extensive knowledge of this area in the establishment of a virtual reality lab for multi-disciplinary research in construction. His research has several potential inter-disciplinary applications involving health, education, and ergonomics. He is currently involved in establishing a multinational research group to study age friendly hospital design for elderly patients. He is also establishing his own tech company which focuses on virtual technologies and its applications.

Agenda: Having been elected previously as a student union delegate and CAPS Chair in 2015, he successfully led and established several initiatives that helped in enhancing his fellow students’ experience. He aims to utilize his experience to help his fellow postdocs listening to their concerns and enriching their experience. He also plans to make postdocs more visible in the university and highlight their vital role. In the coming year he is involved in completing the 3rd national postdoctoral survey and in campaigning for a nationwide clear definition for the postdoc role in higher education.

Social Media:
Research gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mohamad_Nadim_Adi
Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-mohamad-nadim-adi-5179283
Twitter: @mnadeemadi

Jiro Inoue, PhD

Vice-Chair Operations

Background: Dr. Jiro Inoue is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Robarts Research Institute at Western University where he conducts research on imaging for cardiac intervention, specifically the treatment of atrial fibrillation. He completed his PhD in computer science from Queen’s University in 2012 prior to switching fields into medical imaging. He is an active member of the executive of the Postdoctoral Association at Western (PAW), having previously served as VP-Internal and President, and now as VP-External. Dr. Inoue represented PAW at the meeting of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) in 2013, and CAPS annual meeting in 2014.

Like many PhD graduates, Dr. Inoue had no idea, upon graduating, that there was a postdoc problem. Through PAW, he quickly became acquainted with the challenges faced by postdoctoral scholars in the current employment marketplace, and more generally the problem with the postdoctoral training system. On one hand, the glut of PhD graduates is a windfall for the research industry that benefits from cheap, highly specialized labour. On the other hand, the hypercompetitive job market has created an environment where the vast majority of postdocs cannot meet their own expectations of success. Organizations such as CAPS need to take a leading role to address the postdoc problem in a way that benefits postdocs themselves rather than makes them subordinate to the needs of other organizations. This is one of his main goals.

Agenda: Dr. Inoue goal as CAPS Vice Chair-Operations is to maintain efficient, effective, and transparent operations within CAPS in order to facilitate the execution of our core mission. As a national voice, CAPS serves an important role in directing the conversation on how to address issues of concern to postdoctoral scholars in Canada. With our limited financial and human resources, advancement of our vision is constrained by our ability to direct these resources efficiently and manage our organizational agenda. As a small, volunteer-staffed organization, we must also be mindful of the time and effort spent by our members, as well as their conflicting schedules and priorities. He will focus on timely scheduling of meetings, and dissemination of comprehensive minutes and internal documentation in order to facilitate the activities of our executive and volunteers.

Mohit Garg, PhD

Vice-Chair Finances

Background: Dr. Mohit Garg is a postdoctoral scholar in ‘Centre for Advanced Materials and Related Technology’ at the University of Victoria where he is presently investigating the reinforcement of concrete structures with nanofillers. Mohit completed his PhD in the area of developing strong and durable nanocomposite materials for marine industry from Thapar University, Patiala, India. He also carried out non-destructive, non-contact structural health monitoring of the composite materials and evaluated their performance after exposure to marine conditions. Further, during his PhD he worked with many groups i.e. researchers and faculty from different academic disciplines such as Mechanical, Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Material science which helped him to ingress the basic fundamentals required for carrying out effective research work in his domain. In addition to that, Mohit also pursued Masters in CAD/CAM & Robotics (under Mechanical Engineering) from Thapar University. His thesis focused on the comparative analsysis of automotive fluids drainage from End-of- Life Vehicles (ELVs) in Canada and India. Furthermore, Mohit graduated from ‘Bachelors in Industrial Engineering with minor in Supply chain management’ program from University of Windsor, Ontario in June 2010.

It is worthy to mention that Dr. Mohit received a ‘Certificate of Distinction’ from University of Waterloo (in 2004) for his outstanding performance in Grade 12 (under Toronto District School Board). His publications include journal such as Composites Part A, Composite Interface, Journal of Materials Science, Materials and Manufacturing Processes, and Smart Structures and Systems.

Dr. Mohit also serves as a reviewer for top journals in composite world such as Composites Part A, Composite structures, Composite interfaces, Journal of composite materials and so on. He also has several years’ experience of teaching both undergraduate and graduate students at University level along with volunteer tutoring experience at local library and high-school in Toronto.

Agenda: Dr. Garg’s goal as CAPS Vice Financial Chair is to maintain a healthy and balanced financial budget through the year. CAPS servers a vital role and as a helping hand in addressing issues and concerns of both local and international Postdoc fellows here in Canada. It is also the goal of this association to carefully utilize the funds and resources available for the betterment of the community, as a whole. Mohit is also interested in helping his postdoc fellows in Canada to make them aware of possible financial assistance available to support themselves, boost their rights, and avail special facilities for them with the support from the local bodies or the government.

Monica Sesma-Vazquez, PhD

Vice-Chair Communications

Background: Dr. Monica Sesma-Vazquez was born in Mexico City. She pursued studies (Bachelor, Master and Ph D) in Psychology, and has several specializations as an individual, couple, and family therapist. She was a professor in three Universities in Mexico City (Universidad de Londres, Universidad de las Americas, and Alliant International University), teaching Narrative, Brief, Solution Focused, Reflecting Teams, and Collaborative Therapies, as well as Qualitative Research Methods, in graduate programs. She worked several years at the Eating Disorders Clinic at Hospital Medica Sur in Mexico City as an individual and family therapist. Dr. Sesma-Vazquez’s research primarily focuses on examining families’ and professionals’ discourses, conversations, and interactions around food, weight, and appearance; she also investigates the implementation of family therapy treatments for people with eating concerns in Canada. She studies Western DSM diagnostic culture and how discourses on mental health and medicalization impact individuals and families. Her research focuses on how people perform mental illness understandings in social interactions, and how these performances shape their relationships and experiences. She is the Spanish Translator Editor for the International Journal of Collaborative Practices, a Taos Institute council member and associate, and President of the Postdoctoral Association of the University of Calgary (PDAC).

Agenda: As the Vice Chair Communications, Dr. Sesma-Vazquez manages content and feeds on CAPS Website, Facebook and Twitter. She also responds to organizations, individuals, postdocs and graduate students inquiries, comments and concerns directed to CAPS via email. Her aim is to share the most relevant news concerning CAPS and general affairs of postdocs in Canada, advertise postdoctoral opportunities within the community, and enhance a lively and engaging online postdoctoral community.

Social Media:
UofC: http://werklund.ucalgary.ca/educ_info/profiles/monica-sesma-vazquez
Twitter: @monicasesma
LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/pub/monica-sesma-vazquez-ph-d/7/758/ba8

Nafisa M. Jadavji, PhD

Vice-Chair External

Background: Dr. Nafisa M. Jadavji is a post-doctoral fellow and instructor at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada. Her post-doctoral research focuses on understanding how dietary and genetic deficiencies in folate metabolism affect the course of stroke and neurodegeneration using a mouse model. Her research has been published in Behavioural Brain Research, Biochemical Journal, Neuroendocrinology, European Journal of Neuroscience, and Neuroscience. She completed her doctoral training at McGill University in Montréal, Canada and post-doctoral training at the Charité Medical University in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Jadavji has been funded by the Federation of European Neuroscience Society (Europe), NeuroWIND (Germany), Canadian Association for Neuroscience, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Science & Engineering Research Council (NSERC; Canada), International Brain Research Organization, Parkinson's disease Foundation (US), Fonds de la recherché en santé Québec (FRSQ; Canada) and Council of Ontario Universities. She is a regular reviewer for the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Neurotoxicity Research, Journal of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience. Currently, Dr. Jadavji is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) and Executive Committee member of the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS).

Agenda: For the 2016-17 year, as the Vice Chair External and 2016 National Post-doctoral fellow Chair Dr. Jadavji will be working to compile and disseminate the results of the 2016 National Postdoctoral Survey, as well as increase awareness of Post-doctoral fellows through National Postdoc Appreciation Week in September 2016. Overall, Dr. Jadavji hopes to establish more partnerships and collaborations with organizations external to CAPS that will help us accomplish our mission and goals. She is a strong advocate for supporting research Dr. Jadavji’s past and current leadership experiences will help her accomplish these goals.

Social Media:
Website: http://nafisajadavji.wix.com/nafisajadavji
Twitter: @Nafisa_10
Facebook: Nafisa Jadavji

Lauren Drogos, PhD

Vice-Chair International

Background: Dr. Lauren Drogos is an Alberta Innovates Health Research Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Calgary. She obtained her MA and PhD at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Psychology, Divison of Behavioral Neuroscience. Dr. Drogos’ research has primarily focused on women’s mental health. Specifically investigating how hormones can affect cognition and mood across the lifespan, and ways to reduce risk for cognitive decline later in life. Lauren is involved in advocacy for postgraduate issues in academic from the local level through being the Hotchkiss Brain Institute Postdoctoral representative, though helping to form a nationwide organization Future of Research Canada, which advocates for early career researcher issues.
Agenda: As the Vice Chair International, Dr. Drogos will be responsible for being a liaison between international postdoctoral groups, and CAPS. In addition, she hopes to bring attention to CAPS within the international postdoctoral community, and continue a history of successful collaboration.
Social Media:
Website: http://www.ucalgary.ca/poulin/staff/lauren-drogos
Twitter: @LDrogosPhD
LinkedIn too: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lldrogos

Silvia Vilches, PhD

CAPS Advisor

Background: Silvia Vilches is a Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Health Leadership and Research in the School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. She is studying in capacity development and leadership in the health system with the Canadian College of Health Leaders and Fenwick Leadership Explorations. Her academic studies centre on social planning issues, and have evolved from an interest in the contribution community makes to well-being (psychology) to studies in policy and practice and the difference early childhood education makes in communities, to mental health community partnerships planning (urban planning) at UBC. These studies have involved her in community research and capacity development partnerships with First Nations, explorations of GLBTTQ equity and inclusion in the academic setting, and investigation of the impacts of welfare policy reform. She has worked in the nonprofit sector on community social issues, and she has more than 22 years of experience on non-profit boards. In these various capacities she has worked on organizational development and change theory, fundraising, incorporation, and with agency and board volunteers.

Chris Corkery, PhD

CAPS Advisor

Background: Chris completed an MSc in Polymer Chemistry at the University of Manitoba in 2006 and then earned a PhD on Optical Materials at the Australian National University in 2010. He spent two years as a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario, working on water-repelling coatings. The three years folliwing were as a CREATE postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroengineering at McGill University, where he designed surfaces for brain-machine interfaces. Currently, he is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at TandemLaunch Inc. working to found a smart-materials startup. He has been involved with postdoctoral fellows in Canada from 2010, holding various positions, chronologically: VC external of the Postdoc Association at Western (PAW, 2010-2011), Chair of the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS, 2011-2012), the Past-Chair of CAPS (2012-2013), and the Chair of the Association of Postdoctoral Fellows at McGill (APF, 2012-2016). Chris has served as an executive member of CAPS from 2010 to present, and represented CAPS at several national and international conferences and meetings.

Agenda: Both as the Chair of CAPS and in his other postdoctoral representation positions, Chris' main agenda has been to increase the reputation of postdoctoral positions in Canada. More attractive postdoctoral appointments will result in higher quality postdocs and improve the level of research coming out of Canada. Successes have been many, with the largest achievement being the completion of the first third-party national survey of postdoctoral scholars and a resulting white paper. This survey data has been used and reported widely by the tri-councils, scholarly journals, media, Mitacs, universities, and national and international postdoctoral associations. He is pleased to be involved in a follow-up survey, the results of which will be published in the third quarter of 2016.

PAST EXECUTIVE COUNCILS

(English) 2015-2016

Chair: Mohamad Nadim Adi, PhD
Past-Chair: Raj Kannan, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Jiro Inoue, PhD
Vice-Chair Finances: Joe Sparling, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Monica Sesma-Vazquez, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Nafisa M. Jadavji, PhD
AGM Co-Chair and CAPS Advisor: Silvia Vilches, PhD

2014-2015

Chair: Raj Kannan, PhD
Past Chair: Silvia Vilches, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Mohamad Nadim Adi, PhD
Vice-Chair Finances: Abdi Ghaffari, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Wei Wei, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Hein Min Tun, PhD

2013-2014

Chair: Silvia Vilches, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Chinyere (Chi chi) Nwafor-Okoli, PhD
Vice-Chair Finances: Abdi Ghaffari, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Kalin Penev, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Supriya Syal, PhD
Vice-Chair International: David Kent, PhD