UW-Madison Postdoc Excellence Awards

Postdoc Excellence Awards

The Postdoc Excellence Awards recognize current postdocs on the UW-Madison campus that contribute their time, knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm to mentoring, teaching, and service. Postdocs are nominated by themselves, current or former mentors and mentees, or colleagues. 2024 is the fourth year we are offering these awards and anticipate receiving numerous nominations for postdocs to be recognized for their outstanding efforts. Every year, we can only select a few of the of the outstanding nominations to receive the awards, but are grateful for all the work every postdoc at UW-Madison engage in that makes UW-Madison an excellent place to work and develop. Winners from every year will be listed below.

2024 Postdoc Excellence Awards

Submit your nominations for this year’s Postdoc Excellence Awards!

Nominations due 5 PM, March 31st 2024. Submit your nomination via this form.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Postdoctoral Association (UWPA) is soliciting nominations for its 2024 Postdoc Excellence Awards. The awards were established to encourage and reward excellence, innovation, and effectiveness in the mentoring, teaching, and service of UW-Madison postdocs. There are three categories of award:

  • Postdoc Excellence in Mentoring
  • Postdoc Excellence in Teaching
  • Postdoc Excellence in Service

Current postdocs may be nominated by themselves, current/former mentors and mentees, or colleagues. If postdocs nominate themselves we ask that they have either a mentor or mentee, as applicable, submit a letter of support simply stating that they have read your nomination letter and support it. Nomination letters (2 page maximum) should provide specific details as to how the nominated individual excels in a given category and why they are deserving of the award. It is important that you address the specific criteria listed in the provided rubrics, as they will be used to judge nominations for each of the awards: mentoring, teaching, and service

Winners of the 2024 Postdoc Excellence Awards will be recognized at the UWPA Celebration of Postdoc Excellence on 17th May 2024. Nominations should be submitted via this form.

Applications must be submitted electronically by 5 PM on March 31, 2024. Questions? Contact the UWPA Postdoc Awards Committee (uwpa@postdoc.wisc.edu)

2024 Celebration of Postdoc Excellence

May 17th, 2024  from 5-8 pm

Location : Great Hall of the Memorial Union

The Postdoc Excellence Awards will be publicly announced at this event.

This event  is sponsored by WiSolve and WARF.


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2023 Awardees

Postdoc Excellence Award in Teaching


Robert (Rob) Mooney, PhD



Postdoc Excellence Award in Service


Wasikul Islam, PhD



Postdoc Excellence Award in Mentoring

Yili Qian, PhD


Melinda Soares-Furtado, PhD


2022 Awardees

Postdoc Excellence Award in Teaching


Sam Waterworth, PhD



Postdoc Excellence Award in Service


Alison Deatsch, PhD

Medical Physics

Morgan Howe, PhD



Postdoc Excellence Award in Mentoring


Adam Schafer, PhD


Laura Swan, PhD

Population Health Sciences

Lauren Zebertavage, PhD

Human Oncology

2021 Awardees

Postdoc Excellence Award in Teaching


Anna Kowalkowski, PhD

Biology Core Curriculum

Cooper Rosin, PhD

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies


Postdoc Excellence Award in Service


Anahid Ebrahimi, PhD

Mechanical Engineering

Nell Maltman, PhD

Waisman Center

Daniel Z. Radecki, PhD

Comparative Biosciences


Postdoc Excellence Award in Mentoring


Liza Chang, PhD


Anna J. Finley, PhD

Center for Healthy Minds

Natascha Merten, PhD

Population Health Sciences

Cara Moravec

Laboratory of Genetics

Quotes About Previous Awardees

“Anna is endlessly creative in solving problems, thinking about learning goals first, but balancing that with flexibility based on in-the-moment formative feedback on student learning.” Anna Kowalkowski PhD, 2021 Postdoc Excellence Award in Teaching

“The defining feature of Dan’s work with the UWPA and others is his commitment to bettering the lives of all postdocs. He envisions how each event and initiative can best impact the individual, through the lenses of diversity and inclusion, immigration status, postdocs’ personal lives (e.g. childcare considerations), department/discipline, and more.” Daniel Z. Radecki PhD, 2021 Postdoc Excellence Award in Service

“Cara mitigated my doubts as an early career researcher by maintaining that not all knowledge is easily gained and reminding me that it takes many years and practice to become an expert in a field. Cara’s feedback was honest, yet encouraging, and made me feel optimistic that I will develop into a successful scientist if I keep working hard and follow her example.” Cara Moravec PhD, 2021 Postdoc Excellence Award in Mentoring