Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, Director
Sibby serves as Director of Postdoctoral Affairs in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. In her role, she oversees the UNC Postdoctoral Policies and Grievance Procedures, the Postdoctoral Research Awards for Excellence, and the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. In addition, she is available for individual consultations with postdoctoral scholars and faculty mentors. She also coordinates several of the professional development programs and special initiatives for OPA.
Sibby brings more than 15 years experience in higher education administration. Her expertise is in serving and supporting the success of international, women and underrepresented minority students and postdoctoral scholars. Previously, Sibby served as Assistant Dean of Students and Assistant Dean in the Office of Student Academic Counseling here at Carolina. In addition, she served as an associate dean of student affairs at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Prior to her return to Carolina, she served as a clinical faculty member in education and dean of advising at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. Sibby has been an active member of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) serving on the Diversity Committee and as the NPA’s first Diversity Officer. Presently, she serves on the Advisory Group for the NPA ADVANCE Project (From Postdoc to Faculty: Transition Issues for Women Scientists) and a committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy of the National Academies charged with reporting the State of the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers Revisited.
Sibby completed her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University. Additionally, Sibby holds a B.A. and a M.A. in Communication Studies from Carolina and a M.S. in Educational Research (Ethnography and Qualitative Methods) from GSU.
Dara Wilson-Grant, Associate Director
With over ten years experience providing career management education and training, Dara’s mission is to help individuals develop a framework for sound decision-making and career planning while also helping them to develop the skills required for a lifetime of professional success. In her role at OPA, Dara provides individual career counseling and coaching to postdoctoral scholars. She also designs, presents, and coordinates an array of career and professional development programs.
Dara holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Fordham University and a BA in Business Administration from Goucher College. She is also a National Certified Counselor and a Certified Human Resource Recruitment Specialist. Prior to joining OPA in July of 2006, Dara was the Assistant Director at UNC’s career center and an instructor at UNC’s School of Education. Throughout her career, Dara has worked with students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines and career fields. However, her specialty is working with postdoctoral scholars and mid-career professionals in transition.
Jennifer Pruitt, Program Coordinator
Jennifer is rejoining the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs as the new Program Coordinator. Jennifer is the contact for the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, managing the recruitment, selecting, and onboarding for underrepresented postdoctoral scholars coming to Carolina to prepare for tenure-track faculty positions. In addition, she oversees the logistics for the career and professional development programs, workshops, and specials events for the office. She has more than six years of experience working at the university under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as the assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research.
Jennifer graduated with a B.S. from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Before working in higher education, Jennifer was a project manager and commercial interior designer assisting several clients across the Triangle area and along the east coast.
Alan Farber, Career Counselor
Alan joins Postdoctoral Affairs following 27 years as a university career development specialist. Prior to arriving at UNC, he was the Associate Director of Career Services at the University of San Diego, and the Assistant Director of Career Services at Northern Illinois University (NIU). He has taught graduate career development courses at NIU and the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.
Alan is a freelance career coach and contributing writer and editor for educational publisher Woodburn Press. Alan has helped thousands of students and seasoned professionals to explore their options and realize their professional dreams. He has conducted many professional presentations, and written numerous articles, guides, and book chapters on career-related topics.
Alan completed his Ph.D. in Counseling at Michigan State University. He has a Master’s degree in Counseling from Ball State University in Indiana, and a B.A. in Psychology from Marietta College in Ohio.
Taylor Libby, Human Resources Consultant
Taylor serves as the Human Resources Consultant for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. In this role, Taylor provides training and education to human resources facilitators across campus on the wide range of personnel issues facing the postdoc population. Taylor also works to develop and implement new human resources policies for postdoctoral scholars, advises departments on best practices in human resources, and develops resources, materials, and trainings to ensure consistency and compliance for postdoctoral scholars and their mentors across campus. In addition to her role within OPA, Taylor also serves as a Human Resources Consultant for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) at UNC Chapel Hill and serves as a human resources generalist to the units within OVCR.
Taylor holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a focus in human resources from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Government with a minor in Sociology from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. In addition, Taylor holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. Before joining OPA in 2012, Taylor worked in the Office of Human Resources at UNC where she worked primarily in the area of classification and compensation, but also worked extensively in areas such as recruitment, onboarding, organizational design, employee relations, and general human resources consulting and compliance monitoring.
Eyerusalem Tessema, Program Assistant
Our Program Assistant, Eyerusalem Tessema, is a first year Masters of Public Health student at Gillings School of Global Public Health in the Department of Health Behavior. Eyerusalem works closely with Jennifer Pruitt and assists with the coordination and facilitation of OPA professional development programs and special events. In this role, she is responsible for speaker outreach and correspondence, securing facilities and catering, designing and overseeing marketing and publicity and making updates to the website and events calendar. Additionally, Eyerusalem is also responsible for creating and overseeing program evaluations and managing several University and national reporting.
Eyerusalem received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology for UNC- Chapel Hill. Before returning back to UNC for graduate school, Eyerusalem served as a College Advisor for Carolina College Advising Corps working in Eastern NC.
Olivia Farley, Communications Specialist Intern
Our Communication Specialist Intern, Olivia Farley, is a rising senior majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Hispanic Studies. She is studying visual communications with a specialization in graphic design and editing. Olivia has previously worked with UNC’s Office of Develop Communications and The Daily Tar Heel. She will be helping us with website and social media updates as well as the marketing material for the office and the upcoming 30th Anniversary Reunion of the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity in November.