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BPDA logo - Hand holding a pipette wearing a bracelet with a charm shaped like Africa.The Black Postdoctoral Association (BPDA) is an interdisciplinary community of Black postdoctoral trainees committed to creating, cultivating, and solidifying a safe community of support at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Our community will promote the continuous scholarship amongst our members, thereby contributing to the development and expansion of our collective disciplines. We seek to provide essential resources and professional development opportunities for self-identifying Black/African American postdoctoral trainees. Therefore, our mission is to provide Black postdoctoral trainees with a safe community to network and maximize their scholarship within their community as well as providing a platform for voicing and advocating issues that pertain to academia and the greater society.

We welcome and encourage all self-identifying black UAB postdocs to join us!

For more information please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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History and Goals of the BPDA

During the summer of 2020, racial tensions escalated after the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, and many others. These tensions, in conjunction with the SARS-COV2 pandemic, which predominately impacted the health of African Americans, highlighted the systemic racial bias and disparities that persist in healthcare, research, and academia. As postdoctoral trainees that are not isolated to the scientific community, each of these issues continue to impact the African American community.

Therefore, based on current events and anecdotal evidence from Black/African American undergraduate and graduate experiences in higher education, Drs. Ninecia Scott and Kristen Allen Watts created the BPDA, an organization intent on providing a safe space for self-identified Black postdoctoral trainees at UAB.

Currently,  fewer than 3% of UAB postdocs self-identify as Black/African American, which is less than the national percentage of the Black population. Thus, it was imperative for Black postdoctoral trainees to have a supportive community where they could fellowship, network, and advocate for issues impacting academia and the larger Black community. After months of preparation, support from the Office of Post-Doctoral Education (OPE) and keeping with UAB’s policy to expand diversity initiatives across campus, Scott and Allen Watts held the first BPDA meeting on July 7, 2020. Shortly after the first meeting, the constitution and by-laws were developed, the executive board was selected, and a strategic plan was created with three goals:

  • Expansion: To increase the number of supported Black postdoctoral trainees at UAB.
  • Empower: To encourage, nurture, and empower the development of the next generation of Black leaders. We will prepare Black postdoctoral trainees for their next career transition (e.g. academia, industry, government, etc.) through professional development opportunities (e.g. seminar series, internships, etc.)
  • Engagement: To engage the UAB and local Birmingham community through service and mentorship

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