New Hire FAQ

New Hire FAQ

or Great I am hired!, now what do I do?


This document is trying to help you in the first steps during your integration in the lab. For HR information you could ask Patricia Sarro (phone nr.: 215 898-5172), or check the document New Hire HR information.

If you are an international member or you need any help finding housing in philly for your stay, you could find some useful information at housing in philadelphia page. You are more than welcome to help other members contributing with your experience.

The following is a page introducing Philly and Penn to newcomers (organized by CIS):

Visiting the Lab under a J-1 Visa

If you came under a J-1 Visa, you need to schedule an interview with at the Office of International Programs (OIP). In your welcome letter issued by the University of Pennsylvania they invite you to contact them within 10 days from your starting date. The office is here, although you will have to set up an appointment in advance ( They will do several important things for you like to sign and stamp your DS-2019 (remember to bring it with you to the appointment) and provide you with documents that you will need to apply for the Social Security Number Card (SSN Card) and driving license. Without the DS-2019 signed you are not allow to come back to the US in case you go out of the country, so make sure you walk away from the OIP with the document signed and stamped.

Visiting the Lab under a F-1 Visa

If you have a F-1 Visa, you need to attend the Mandatory Immigration Document Review and Presentation Sessions by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS, located here) within 20 days of your program start date. Click here for more information.

First Steps

Your first contact with Penn will be with HR department, in order to help you during the process and the documentation, you can check the HR page.

  1. First thing you have to do is to get your PennCard, here you can download the application form. Contact Patricia Sarro, she will need to sign and stamp the form. Then. you need to bring it to the PennCard offices which are on the 2nd floor of the UPenn Bookstore (36th and Walnut St.). Here you have a map:

    1. At the PennCard offices, you will receive a PennKey Setup Code and the instructions to register for your PennKey. After receiving this code, please visit and follow the instructions. You will have to choose a your PennKey from a set of combinations of your First and Last names. This will also be associated to your email account (see later), so choose carefully. You will need the PennKey and password log in into the UPenn system.

    2. To get your email account, visit to complete your email application.

    3. You need to set up access to the Richards building and IBI space - please ask San Jewell who in IBI to contact for that, you will need to supply your Penn ID number (including the 2 small digits at the end).

  2. If you already have a SSN card, feel free to skip this step. If not, you will soon learn that you need a Social Security Number for almost any major need (opening a bank account, health insurance, renting an apartment, etc.). Please visit the SSN site and check you have all the documents you need before visiting the SSN offices (15th station). If you came under a J-1 Visa, it is highly recommended that you wait 4-5 days (at the OIP they tell you 10 days) after your OIP appointment before visiting the SSN offices, since they need to put you into the system. If everything goes well, you should receive your SSN card within a week. For people with a F-1 Visa , the recommended waiting time for SSN application is 10 business days after you attend the Mandatory Immigration Document Review and Presentation Sessions by ISSS. Then you need to get the On-Campus work authorization for F-1 and J-1 Students form (available here) filled by your hiring department or your supervisor and take it to ISSS (located here) so that they can authorize it. Then you need to take this form along with other documents mentioned here to the local SSN office (address available in the previous link).

  3. At this point, once you have a PennCard, PennKey, email account and a SSN card, you can go to HR information to find out more about health insurance, payroll and more.

Setting up the environment

Once you get all the basic upenn accounts, you need the specific accounts for the work environment. Some of them need to be done by you and other will be done by the lab admin. You could access him sending an email to and adding a task into the lab management basecamp project (preferible)

Your side



    3. Basecamp account ( once you got the account ) : We use Basecamp for keep track of the projects and tasks. Basecamp standards are under construction and will be covered in your introduction to the lab.

    4. bitbucket account. When you need git access contact Jordi to set it up.

  1. CREATE YOUR AVATAR, SEND YOU YOSEPH FOR APPROVAL, SET IT AS YOUR BIOCIPHERS PROFILE IMAGE. Make sure it appears on biociphers email/GSuite account and Basecamp.

    1. Rules for Avatars: Needs to be a human (like) character - not a cute animal, not an object. It can't be just a picture of a real person either. Examples are: Iron Fist, Lego Zombie, Hercule Poirot, Mr. Fox (technically an animal but quite a character...), and Mike Wazowski (again not human but a distinct character).

  2. Add the group calendars, using the links bellow

Yoseph's work calendar (you would see busy times):

Yoseph's non work calendar (you would see busy times):

Admins side

    1. Clusters accounts :

    2. account

Setting up PMACS accounts

Yoseph needs to put in a helpdesk ticket to get you set up with a PMACS account.

(Select the "PMACS Client Services group" queue. They will be able to set up any affiliations, get the account created, provide access to the VPN, etc.)

Once you have a PMACS account we can ask PMACS to set up other services, as needed:

For access to LPC, make a new ticket (CC Yoseph and Paul)

Select "Systems" queue.

For access to HPC you will need to contact the HPC team directly (CC Yoseph and Paul)

Other considerations

Do not leave your laptop unlocked. Do not leave your laptop wide open (no login screen) overnight or when you step out for long periods.

Make sure your laptop is set up in such a way so that coffee/water bottles will not accidentally spill on it! Apple care does not cover these!!

Richards Building

Housekeeping is only responsible for cleaning the floors and emptying the trash in the common areas.

If you have empty boxes and such put them in the hall and mark clearly "Garbage" so they will know to collect it.

If you notice the refrigerator tray is filled please pitch in and empty it, also if you are the last person to take leftovers that are on the kitchen table please dispose of the container.

All food should be removed from tables by 5pm as housekeeping is not responsible for our food disposal.

Do not leave food exposed on desks and in drawers as this is an excellent attraction for mice......

The doors lock after 5pm so make sure you have your card with you to re-enter!


1) Large items need to be marked as trash, or they will not be taken away by housekeeping. This is for everyone's benefit!

2) Cardboard boxes should be fully emptied, broken down, and put in or next to one of the blue recycling bins.

3) There is now a recycling room on the 2nd floor of Anatomy-Chemistry, on the left as you walk towards the Stellar-Chance bridge. Batteries and electronics recycling can go there, along with some other non-standard recyclables.

4) For computers/monitors, etc. PMACS has periodic recycling days. You can find these on their website.

Setting up AirPennNet (on a Mac):

Open Safari,

disconnect from internet, connect via wi-fi to AirPennNetHelp.

In the website that opens click approve for the various authentications asked for, and download the profile for AirPennNet.

Once downloaded (very quick) you click to install it. It will ask you for Admin changes in your own machine to configure it, and will ask you for your PennID/password to set up the connection.

You should be good. You can then remove some of the old versions of PennNet that are configured this way and only leave AirPennNet in the networks that SystemPrefrences lists as "known".