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One of the most difficult aspects during the pandemic, for me, has been trying to maintain a sense of community. There is a social fabric we all weave for ourselves. A blanket we hug during times of need and dance with during times of celebration. But during the pandemic, distanced in our individual homes, it’s too easy to fold that blanket and place it on a shelf, waiting for a safer time to emerge. To honor the importance of our social network, we focus this month’s newsletter on building and maintaining our community—even during an ongoing pandemic.

I hope you find this issue as inspirational as I have. You will learn about how graduate student Mor Alkaslasi (Le Pichon lab) helped create a much-needed mentorship community for local high school students who are interested in STEM careers. Postbac Celine Kisimba shares information about how to craft a diversity statement for professional school applications as a recap from a Postbac Seminar Series session, emphasizing the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in research and the scientific community. And gather a few words of wisdom about job interviews from scientists who joined the ranks of academia.

We can’t have a community-focused issue without highlighting the exciting work of our own community. Check out our Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) recipients and Scientific Interest Group (SIG) winners. Congratulations to all! Every month you can find additional career development and award opportunities in our Rep Report and announcements.

If the fabric of your social network is still folded on the shelf, it’s time to pull it back out. Through virtual and other safe avenues, find your community. Build your network. Maintain those relationships. You’ll be happy you did.

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

Do you have questions, comments, or ideas for this newsletter? Please contact our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.