During a recent NICHD Office of Education meeting, we discussed what should go in the final newsletter issue of 2021. There was a clear winner: the NICHD DIR-Howard University Initiative. The aspect of the initiative that we highlight is a collaboration between NICHD principal investigators and the undergraduate students in the Howard University Biology Honors Program. This collaborative effort, spearheaded by Triesta Fowler, MD, in the NICHD Office of Education, supports the educational development of honors students from underrepresented groups in science. Supporting students at this critical point in their development as future scientists is an important step toward institutional cultural change and diversity in science. Learn more about the program in this month’s feature article, “A Look at the NICHD DIR-Howard University Partnership’s First Year,” including a Q&A with current Howard student participants.

We end each year with a recap of fellow accomplishments in the NICHD intramural program. The list is impressively long this year! Check out what your fellow fellows have been up to! And don’t forget to also visit the December announcements and this month’s Rep Report, where postdoc representative Lauren Walling shares news and announcements from the previous month’s Fellows Committee (FelCom) meeting.

I think we all hoped that 2021 would include a post-pandemic celebration. Until the youngest in our community are eligible for vaccination, many of us will continue to experience pandemic restrictions—and sometimes pandemic fatigue. But we are getting there. One step, one study, one vaccine at a time. I said it last December, and I’ll say it again now: May next year bring continued progress and abundant hope for a better tomorrow.

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

This newsletter is by NICHD fellows and for NICHD fellows. We love to hear from you! Please send your questions, comments, and ideas to our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.