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NICHD Annual Postbac Course: Professional Development and Career Exploration

Postbaccalaureate fellows are important to our NIH scientific workforce, and NICHD currently has about 50 postbacs conducting both clinical and basic science research in one of our intramural laboratories. When postbacs leave the NIH for professional school or other endeavors, we want our postbacs to have had an enriched research experience while feeling excited about their chosen career paths. 

On October 16, our postbac course will begin!

The course runs over lunchtime on Mondays, from 12 to 1 p.m., in the Clinical Center. 

This unique, 8-week course is available for all NICHD postbacs, and the intent is to create a comfortable environment within a small group of peers to help postbacs improve analytical skills as scientists while expanding their knowledge of biomedical research and its relevance to human health. 

In addition to three mini scientific lectures, we focus on postbac professional development: learning how to present science, exploring different career trajectories, ethical research practices in the lab, and interviewing for both medical and graduate school. Postdocs and clinical fellows within the institute will lead discussions designed to engage postbacs in the scientific rationale of a project, methodologies, and its significance to the field. A well-known public speaking coach, who has worked with our fellows for several years, will lead two modules on improving science communication skills and preparing for professional school interviews.

Additionally, a primary care physician will lead a session to share her experiences in practicing family medicine. We will host another session during which two former NICHD postdocs will shed light on their careers outside of academia and medicine.

If you are interested in joining the class, please email Dr. Yvette Pittman at yvette.pittman@nih.gov. THERE ARE ONLY 10 SLOTS LEFT!

The group will be limited to 25 students to allow maximum participation and interaction with the instructors. All participants must attend at least six of the eight classes, dates provided below.


Course Schedule:

Oct. 16Speaking about Science, Scott Morgan
Oct. 23Ethics in Research Training: Making Good Choices in the Lab, Andy Kouse, PhD
Oct. 30Genomics and Mental Illness, Zelia Worman, PhD
Nov. 6Life as a Primary Care Physician, April Walker, MD
Nov. 13

Careers Outside of Academia and Medicine, Michael Dambach, PhD,

and Cheryl Bolinger, PhD
Nov. 20Reproductive Medicine and Infertility: Elevated progesterone during IVF cycles, Matthew Connell, MD
Nov. 27The Amazing Lysosome—A Suicide Bag and Much More, Maria Bagh, PhD
Dec. 4Interviewing for Professional School, Scott Morgan

If you have any further questions, the course directors, Drs. Andy Kouse and Maria Bagh, will be happy to assist you (andy.kouse@nih.gov and maria.bagh@nih.gov).


The 2018 Fellows Retreat Planning: An Opportunity Awaits!

You are invited to serve on the Steering Committee for planning the 14th Annual Meeting for postdoctoral, clinical, and visiting fellows and graduate students. Please send a quick note to Dr. Yvette Pittman (yvette.pittman@nih.gov), NICHD Office of Education, to express your interest.

The group builds the program for the meeting, invites speakers, reviews abstracts, selects fellow/student presenters, and moderates some of the sessions, among other responsibilities. It's a great opportunity to sharpen your soft skills while working in a team to plan this annual spring event!

Our first committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 30, at 3:30 p.m. in Bldg. 31, conference room 2A48 (A-wing, 2nd floor).


NICHD Fellows Advisory Committee: Seeking New Members!

The Office of Education formed an advisory committee in 2016, and we are seeking several more dedicated members to help us develop and initiate academic support programs for the institute. Both domestic and visiting fellows are needed. We want to achieve a broad representation, culturally and academically, so we can address the needs of all our trainees at NICHD. The committee meets monthly to exchange ideas and informally discuss ways we can enhance and tailor the training experience within the NICHD intramural program.

Some potential topics for our committee are how to:

  • Increase the participation for training activities
  • Expose fellows to various careers in science
  • Identify teaching opportunities
  • Identify internal and external research funding mechanisms
  • Establish a structure for sharing scientific and career resources within the institute

The committee meets once a month on Thursdays, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Our remaining Fall dates are listed below:

  • October 12
  • November 9
  • December 7

Don’t miss this opportunity to serve your intramural NICHD community. Please contact Dr. Yvette Pittman at yvette.pittman@nih.gov if you are interested in joining the group.


AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Summer Fellowship

Applications open October 16  January 15!

From the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship website:

This highly competitive program strengthens the connections between scientists and journalists by placing advanced undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level scientists, engineers and mathematicians at media organizations nationwide. Fellows have worked as reporters, editors, researchers, and production assistants at such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Scientific American.

For 10 weeks during the summer, the Mass Media Fellows use their academic training in the sciences as they research, write and report today's headlines, sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to non-specialists. Participants come in knowing the importance of translating their work for the public, but they leave with the tools and the know-how to accomplish this important goal. 

For additional information about the program visit aaas.org/mmfellowship