Published: Sept. 12, 2022

CU Boulder’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA), in partnership with the Postdoctoral Association of Colorado Boulder (PAC Boulder), is offering both virtual and in-person activities throughout the week of Sept. 19–23, including a celebratory kickoff luncheon and bowling and billiards in the UMC. Registration is encouraged for each event.

Now in its 13th year, National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week (NPAW) is annually sponsored by the National Postdoctoral Association, of which all CU Boulder postdocs are members, to highlight postdoc research, scholarly and creative impact.

Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Diversity

The week also coincides with OPA currently soliciting applications for the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Diversity through November 1. The fellowship program aims to enhance faculty diversity at CU Boulder by serving as a pipeline to tenure-track positions for researchers and scholars from a variety of backgrounds, races, ethnicities and historically excluded populations.

Last year’s Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Diversity recipient, Kristella Montiegel, PhD, started this semester in the department of communication under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Natasha Shrikant and Associate Professor David Boromisza-Habashi. Montiegel, who received her doctorate from UCLA in June 2022, is a first-generation Filipina American scholar studying deaf and dis/ability populations.

Outstanding Postdoc of the Year Awardees

This year’s Outstanding Postdoc of the Year awards, honoring postdocs excelling in research productivity, innovation, communication, leadership and advocating for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, are awarded to Katherine Shulenberger, PhD (Chemistry) and Akira Ichikawa, PhD (Anthropology).

Shulenberger is a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Professor Gordana Dukovic, who praised Shulenberger’s research and publication record in the areas of microscopy and kinetic modeling as “unbelievably accomplished.” Dukovic also highlighted Shulenberger’s teaching and mentoring as going “beyond what is normally expected from PhD students and postdocs,” after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from students on her clarity of instruction. In 2021, Shulenberger was awarded the prestigious Cottrell Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Ichikawa, a Mesoamerican archaeologist, was nominated by Professor Arthur Joyce. Ichikawa’s research focuses on human responses to environmental change and community archaeology, and specifically the ancient peoples of El Salvador. Joyce underscored Ichikawa’s leadership role as co-director of the Rio Verde Archaeological Project, which examines climate change and human land use in Mexico, and his ability to communicate effectively with local communities, officials and students. Joyce described Ichikawa as a “distinguished, internationally recognized…highly prolific scholar…and great colleague, collaborator, and mentor.”

Outstanding Postdoc Mentor of the Year Awardees

The Outstanding Postdoc Mentor of the Year awards, recognizing exceptional faculty mentors who regularly engage postdocs, are presented to Assistant Professor Karen Bailey (Environmental Studies) and Professor Lucy Pao (Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering).

Bailey was nominated by Sarah Walker, PhD, a climate change social scientist, who hailed Bailey as embodying “what it means to be an equitable and inclusive scholar… deeply committed to practicing JEDI principles both within and outside the CU community.” Walker offered a shining description of Bailey’s characteristics, both professionally and personally. “I trust her to prioritize my personal and professional wellbeing. I trust her judgement and expertise. I trust her to hold me accountable and not shy away from providing honest but constructive feedback. But most importantly I trust that after my time working with Karen, I’ll be a better scholar.”  

Manuel Pusch, PhD is a postdoc in the Systems and Controls Group working under the supervision of Pao, where they partner on wind energy systems. He described Pao as an excellent mentor, teaching him “how healthy communication works, how to build up and maintain my own research network, how to motivate people and align interests, how to define goals and eventually reach them.” Pusch praised Pao for fostering an environment which is a “collaboration of peers rather than a hierarchical structure” in carrying out research. Pao’s guidance with Pusch’s faculty job application process ultimately led to an offer he recently accepted.

To learn more about the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, visit or email