Career Symposium

Finding and Applying for Academic Positions

May 15, 2024

Wednesday, May 15th, 2024
Online Panel Sessions: 1:00 - 4:30 pm

Register HERE

Open to all postdocs and graduate students! These panels are jointly hosted by SFU's Graduate Studies and Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and UBC’s Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Career Centre.  


Session 1: Pathway to Landing an Academic Position  (1:00pm - 2:30pm)

Moderator: Meet Upadhyay, PhD candidate, Materials Engineering UBC.

You began your graduate school journey with the fixed intention of becoming a faculty member (professor, lecturer.etc.). What are the key steps to get there? Learn from a panel of faculty members as they share their tips and experience with landing and academic postion. Topics will include:

  • being competitive
  • what you can and can't control
  • application materials
  • preparing for the interview
  • negotiations for teaching and reserach positions

Session 2: Thriving in your first five years in academia  (3:00pm - 4:30pm)

Moderator: Dr. Cannan Gunes - Postdoctoral Fellow, Education, SFU

Hear from a panel of faculty members on how to not just survive but thrive in the first few years after securing a faculty position. Panelists will address questions on a range of topics to help you as you make the transition to a faculty role, including:

  • budgeting and finding funding for your resear
  • recruiting, hiring and supervising grad students, postdocs, and support staff;
  • finding and working with mentors as a faculty membe
  • preparing for tenure applications and the tenure-track process



Dr. Theodore D. Cosco - Associate Professor, Gerontology, SFU


Dr. Cosco is a Chartered Psychologist (British Psychological Society) trained in epidemiology (PhD, University of Cambridge) and demography (Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Oxford). For his contributions to pedagogy, he has been elected to Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and for contributions to psychology Associate Fellowship of the British Psychological Society. Recently, he received the Early Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association and European Health Psychology Society, the Young Investigator Colloquium Scholarship from the American Psychosomatic Society, as well as becoming the youngest recipient of the Canadian Association on Gerontology’s Recognition Award for Excellence in Longitudinal Research in Honour of Betty Havens.

At age 12, Dr. Cosco began volunteering at a long-term care facility, starting what would become a life-long passion for mental health and the aging process. Using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, Dr. Cosco examines a range of factors that promote healthy aging and resilience across the life course, from digital interventions to physical activity.

Dr. Christina Atanasova, Associate Dean of Research and PhD Program and Professor, Finance, Beedie School of Business, SFU

Dr. Atanasova serves as the Associate Dean of Research and PhD Program at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, where she holds the position of Professor of Finance. She is a Visiting Professor at the Center for Policy Design at the Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University, Japan, and the Philip Hochstein ICBA Research Fellow. With an MSc in Finance from the University of York and a PhD in Finance from Leeds University Business School, she began her tenure at SFU in 2007, following a tenure-track position at the University of York (2004-2007). Her research contributions in finance are reflected in publications in leading academic journals, while her teaching experience spans undergraduate and graduate programs across Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and France, where she has also supervised numerous PhD students to successful completion.

Dr. Kaylee Byers, Assistant Professor, Health Sciences, SFU

Dr. Kaylee Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, a Senior Scientist with the Pacific Institute on Pathogens, Pandemics and Society, and the Deputy Director of the British Columbia node of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. Kaylee's research investigates the connections among human-animal-and environmental health to support programs that lead to early detection, prevention and management of emerging health issues. She is also passionate about science communication, hosting Genome BC's podcast Nice Genes! and co-organizes Nerd Nite Vancouver, a quarterly science seminar series.

Dr. Natalie Zeytuni - Assistant Professor, Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University

Dr. Natalie Zeytuni completed her MSc and PhD at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, where she focused on the structure-function relationships of bacterial biomineralization systems. She pursued postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia, studying bacterial virulence systems and membrane transporters. Currently, Dr. Zeytuni is as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. Her research continues to explore bacterial pathogenicity and transmembrane transporters, employing advanced structural biology techniques such as CryoEM and X-ray crystallography.

Dr. Nesrine Basheer - Assistant Professor of Teaching, Asian Studies, UBC

Nesrine Basheer is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Asian Studies, UBC. She is an applied linguist and a specialist in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. Her research interests include the teaching and assessment of writing and the multidialectal approach to teaching Arabic. Nesrine has taught Arabic at the American University in Cairo, the United Nations, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Maryland, and more recently, the University of Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr. Shandin Pete - Assistant Professor of Teaching, Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC

Dr. Pete is an Assistant Professor in the department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and Indigenous scholar with expertise in hydrogeology, Indigenous research methodologies and geoscientific ethnography. His work explores Indigenous frameworks for Earth science knowledge.

Dr. Kiana Amini - Assistant Professor, Materials Engineering, UBC

Kiana Amini is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at the University of British Columbia, having recently joined in August 2023. Prior to this appointment, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, focusing on the development of organic and organometallic-based redox flow batteries for energy storage applications and aqueous organic-based flow cells for carbon capture applications. Before that, she earned her master's and Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo. During her Ph.D., she worked on the development of metal-based (zinc-cerium) flow cells for energy storage applications. Her lab at UBC is focused on pushing the performance metrics of electrochemical systems to assist our transition to a clean energy future.