Postdoc Spotlight

Clara Berridge

Introducing Clara Berridge, a former AHRQ trainee here at the Center for Gerontology:  

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself (e.g., research background, training, current position/institution)

I’m an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. I went up for tenure at year 5, which is early and a result of my 2-year post-doc time at the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research. My PhD is in Social Welfare and I have an MSW. 

  • Tell us what drew you to apply to our postdoctoral program

I pursued this postdoc because the Center is very well regarded for its impactful, policy-relevant work, and it is uniquely interdisciplinary. It was also clear to me from my interview visit that when they accept a postdoc, they are invested in that person’s success.

  • Were there any relevant training/experiences that were particularly useful that you could highlight?

I was given a personalized combination of time and concrete support to pursue my own research projects and I was plugged into larger studies and immediately felt like I was a member of a team. That had something to do with the shared mission of highly skilled and dedicated people but also with the fact that Prof. Mor had led this fellowship for 33 years. He and the other Center faculty have perfected the integration of postdocs over the years. For example, there is a meeting reserved just for postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students to talk with the speaker who is giving that month’s speaker series presentation. At one of these, after we shared our research interests, a speaker told me about a bioethics foundation I had not heard of and that I later received funding from because I learned about it in this meeting. Mentors reviewed my proposals and we had weekly grant review meetings where new study ideas or aims pages were workshopped. There are regular grant review workshops that are well attended by faculty and postdocs. I learned what I know about grant writing at Brown.

  • What would you say to current doctoral students considering applying to our program? What important advice do you think they need to have?

It’s not easy to uproot and move to a place where you lack a social network. Postdocs have a ton of work to accomplish quickly with the pressure of the academic job market. But you won’t regret allocating time to develop friendships even if you envision a brief life in Providence. If you want a sense of community, create it. We postdocs planned things like progressive dinners. There’s great food in Providence, along with art, including WildFire. Enjoy the region!

For information about the fellowship, read more here.