Welcome Back!
MIT Postdoc Alumni Homecoming
Mar 15, 2019


With over 11,000 members infinitely connected by their MIT training, MIT postdoctoral alumni are in positions of influence in academia, industry or public service making them invaluable ambassadors and advocates for the Institute. MIT recognizes the enormous contribution past, present and prospective postdoctoral researchers make through their research and service. Building a vibrant, strong and inclusive postdoc alumni community greatly enhances the Institute’s grand effort towards advancing knowledge and cultivating world’s leaders in areas of scholarship related to science and engineering, which is central to the MIT’s mission.


Homecoming event is providing a channel for past and current MIT postdocs to reunite and reconnect with MIT. It is the forum where past and present MIT postdocs reflect on their MIT experience, discuss new-tech frontier, explore collaborative opportunities and network.

Logo designed by current MIT Postdoc and PDA volunteer, Dr. Parisa Yousefpour.


Basic info

Date: March 15th, 2019
Time: 5:30 – 9:00 pm
Venue: Salon MIT, Samberg Conference Center (7th floor, Building E52)
50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142
See this page for directions, parking and more

Register Here [Open to MIT postdocs (former and current), researchers and students.]


5:00 pm Registration (first 30 people get a homecoming mug!)
5:30 pm Welcome by Prof. Maria Zuber (MIT Vice President for Research)
5:50 pm Welcome by Prof. Edmund Bertschinger (PDA Faculty Advisor)
6:00 pm Panel Discussion
(Panelists: see below)
  • Building the path: Creating a Rewarding Career after a Postdoc
  • Transitioning: How I Got Here & Life inside a company
  • Navigating the Job search: How We Hire & How We Find Them
  • Personal stories / memories about MIT
7:35 pm
Network, Food, Drinks & Fun!
Check back for additional information as the event date approaches


We are inviting Postdoc Alumni from government/non-for-profit, academia and private sectors, a true demonstration of how diverse a Postdoc career path can be!


Dr. Brent Grocholski, Science editor @ AAAS

Brent Grocholski is a physical science associate editor at Science, handling manuscript in Earth science and materials science. Brent has a doctorate in Earth and Planetary Science from UC Berkeley. Brent spent several years as a post-doctoral scholar at MIT and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. researching the Earth’s rocky mantle. Brent runs several marathons a year, a habit he started with stress-relieving runs around the Charles River.

Dr. Lamia Youseff, Sloan Fellow @ Stanford, former principle technology manager @ Facebook

Lamia Youseff is currently a research scientist in Scalable ML at Stanford CS department and a Sloan Fellow at Stanford GSB (business school). Before that, I was a principal technology manager at Facebook, working on scaling FBLearner, Facebook’s ML platform, after several years at Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as a product manager and an architect, leading several products and large-scale cloud deployments. In all roles, I have proven my leadership, technical and business acumen in taking projects from ideation to leading execution across up to 10 global teams (~80 engineers), all the way to public launches.

Dr. Rajesh Jugulum, Informatics Director for Data Strategies @ CIGNA, former VP at BOA

Rajesh Jugulum, Ph.D., is Informatics Director at Cigna. Prior to joining Cigna, he held executive positions in the areas of process engineering and data science at Citi Group and Bank of America. Rajesh completed his Ph.D. under the guidance of Dr. Genichi Taguchi. Before joining financial industry, Rajesh did his post doctoral education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, involving in research and teaching. Currently, he also teaches at Northeastern University, Boston. Rajesh is a Board of Director of Kanri, a big data analytics firm, focusing on purpose-driven insights.

Rajesh is the author/co-author of several papers and five books including books on robust quality, data quality and design for lean six sigma.   Rajesh is an ASQ fellow and his other honors include American Society for Quality’s Feigenbaum medal and International Technology Institute’s Rockwell medal.  He has been listed in the “Who’s Who in the World” list by Marquis Who’s Who publication board. He was featured as “Face of Quality” in the September, 2001 issue of Quality Progress magazine and his Profile was published in the October 2002 issue of the Journal of Quality Engineering Society. Rajesh has delivered talks as the keynote speaker at several conferences, symposiums, and events related to data analytics and process engineering. He has also delivered lectures at several universities/companies across the globe and participated as a judge in data related competitions.

Dr. Sisir Karumanchi, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab @ Caltech

Sisir is a Robotics Technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Caltech. He is a member of the Manipulation and Sampling Group that focuses on adaptive sampling and manipulation strategies on Rovers. He was the software and autonomy lead for the JPL team at the DARPA Robotics Challenge finals. Before joining JPL, Sisir was the manipulation lead within the MIT Team for the VRC and the DRC Trials phase of the DARPA Robotics Challenge program. Team RoboSimian finished fifth out of 23 teams at the DRC finals. Team MIT finished fourth at the DRC Trials and third during the VRC phase.

His current research projects at JPL range from developing articulated suspension on highly redundant quasi-static robots to addressing scalable autonomy on dynamic quadrupedal robots. He is also part of the testing team for the Lander Vision System for the next Mars 2020 rover.
Sisir completed his Ph.D. with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the Uni- versity of Sydney in 2010. During 2011-2014, he was a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his postdoc, he worked with Dr. Karl Iagnemma on semi-autonomous control of ground vehicles and in mobile manipulation with Prof. Seth Teller and Prof. Russ Tedrake.

Dr. Virginia Burger, Senior Scientist and Director of Scientific Collaborations at XtalPi Inc

Virginia Burger is currently an algorithm scientist and the Director of Scientific Collaborations at XtalPi, Inc in Cambridge, MA. She joined XtalPi directly after her postdoc at MIT, where she became very interested in entrepreneurship and translational research through her coursework at Sloan and the Translational Fellows Program. Before her postdoc in Prof. Collin Stultz’s lab at MIT, Virginia completed a PhD in Computational Biology at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. She came to MIT through the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology, which enabled her to continue her computational research while gaining complementary experimental skills, thereby deepening her understanding of biology. In addition to science, Virginia enjoys sailing on the Charles River and the Boston Harbor through MIT’s Bluewater Sailing program.


This event is organized by the MIT Postdoctoral Assocation (PDA), in collaboration with the MIT Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) and the MIT Alumni Association.

Contact: pda-alumni@mit.edu

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