Get to know the UBC Okanagan Postdoctoral Association

Meet the Executive Team 

Barbara Oliveira – President

My name is Barbara Oliveira. I am from Brazil, where I did my Master’s and Ph.D. in Dietetics. I love the academic environment, so continuing with a postdoctoral fellowship seemed like a good next step, and Canada seemed like the perfect place for it. I was fortunate to be accepted by my supervisor, Dr. Jonathan Little, and have been working mainly with nutritional approaches for the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes since September 2019.

 Davoud Hedari – Vice-President Social

My name is Davoud Hedari. I joined the Food Systems PRISM Lab at UBC Okanagan in 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow, following my first postdoctoral appointment at Université de Sherbrooke (Quebec), where I worked on regionalized life cycle modelling of innovative bio-based materials in the construction sector. I have a BSc, MSc, and Ph.D. in Agricultural Mechanization Engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran. My passion is working on sustainability projects in the agricultural context. When I’m not working, I enjoy walking, swimming, and cooking.

Daniel Rosa – Vice-President Finances

My name is Daniel Rosa, a Mitacs postdoctoral fellow in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science in the Biology department, working in collaboration with the industrial partner BlueSky Organics. I earned my Ph.D. at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil in 2019, where I focused on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi protection to plants grown in heavy metal conditions. Aiming to continue my career, I was awarded a postdoctoral position from my supervisor Dr. Miranda Hart in September of 2019 focused on understanding the role of soil microbes in a plant’s performance. When I’m not working, I enjoy hiking, exploring, camping, and 4x4ing.

Ehsan Ebrahimnia Bajestan – Vice-President Operations

I am Ehsan Ebrahimnia Bajestan, a postdoctoral fellow at the UBC Okanagan School of Engineering. My main area of research is Thermal Engineering and Renewable Energy Conversion. In my current position, I have the opportunity to work with a group of engineers at FortisBC on thermal management and life assessment of their equipment. I am enjoying this postdoc position as a bridge to the industrial R&D environment.

Femke Hoekstra – Vice-President Communications

My name is Femke Hoekstra, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, in which I focused on physical activity promotion in rehabilitation care. In November 2017, I started my postdoc in the SCI Action Canada Lab and Applied Behavioral Change Lab. My main research interest focuses on understanding and improving knowledge translation processes, especially in the area of rehabilitation and health promotion. Outside of research, I enjoy running/hiking, cross-country skiing, and playing tennis.

What is a postdoctoral fellow? 

A postdoctoral fellow (or postdoc) is someone who has completed a Ph.D. degree and who is receiving additional training in a specific research field. A postdoc is generally a short-term research position that helps to build a solid base for a professional future.

Why did you want to start the PDA at UBCO? 

To date, there are almost 100 postdocs affiliated with UBC Okanagan, and this number is expected to increase further in the next few years. As a postdoc you can feel isolated, as you are not always considered as a faculty member, staff, or a student, but rather somewhere in between. The Postdoctoral Association aims to support postdocs in overcoming the challenges they may face.

We started the Postdoctoral Association at UBCO Okanagan because we want to help make the postdoc experience as valuable as possible for current and future postdocs.

What are your goals for the association?

As the first executive team, we hope we can create a warm and welcoming environment for current and future postdocs at UBC Okanagan. We want to create a community for postdocs where people can make new friends, share their experiences, ideas, needs, and concerns. We will also generate resources and (peer) support services, build a network with local (industry) partners outside academics, and organize (social) events and workshops. By doing so, we hope we can contribute to making postdoc experiences the best it can be.

Tips for future postdocs 

  1. Visit our website ( and learn more about what the postdoctoral association has to offer.
  2. Become an active member of the UBC Okanagan Postdoctoral Association and share your ideas, needs, challenges, and experiences with us.
  3. Attend professional events and workshops to continue to develop yourself and learn new skills.
  4. Attend social events for postdocs and make new friends.
  5. Reach out to other people at UBC Okanagan (postdocs, students, staff, faculty) to learn more about the campus and the resources that are available for you.
  6. Connect with other postdocs within and outside your department to share experiences and ideas and build a new network.
  7. Find a mentor (not necessarily your supervisor) to receive mentorship about your future career goals.
  8. Expand your network and connect with partners relevant to your postdoc – this can be industry, government, or non-profit organizations.
  9. Engage with your local community and participate in volunteer activities.
  10. Enjoy your stay in Kelowna and its year-round natural beauty!

Leave a Reply