Blog from July, 2022

A big welcome to our NICHD Summer Interns! We hope that you’re getting settled and finding everything you need for a successful internship experience. The NICHD Office of Education is an important resource for you as you navigate through this exciting time. Please do reach out if you need anything (NICHDSUMMER@mail.nih.gov).

We also encourage you to attend all of the valuable opportunities provided by the Office of Intramural Training and Education. A full list of planned activities can be found on the Summer Intern News page.

Some of the remaining events include:

Intensive Summer Series

These two series will focus on (1) clinical trials and (2) health disparities. They will be available only to SIP participants.

Summer Journal Clubs

Journal clubs are small groups that get together to read scientific papers on a topic of joint interest. By participating, you can meet other summer interns, learn about new techniques and discoveries, and develop the ability to read papers critically.

A Conversation with Dr. Tony Fauci

Anthony S. Fauci, MD
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States
July 14, 2022, 11 a.m.
Register

In Their Own Words: The NIH Experiences and Career Paths of Prior and Current NIH Trainees

In this series, past and current NIH summer interns and postbacs from disadvantaged backgrounds and groups underrepresented in the sciences will talk about their research and share insights into what it's like to work at the NIH. They will also discuss their educational and career journeys, including their paths to the NIH and the challenges they faced along the way.

The 2022 Virtual Graduate & Professional School Fair

This year the fair is scheduled for July 18–21, with live workshops on the 18th and online exhibitor sessions on the 19th, 20th, and 21st. As of today, more than 300 institutions have registered to participate.

Virtual Summer Poster Day

Summer Poster Day 2022 will take place virtually on August 3rd and August 4th.

Lauren Walling, smiling, with long brown curly hair and a blue sweater

Lauren Walling, PhD

As a fourth-year postdoc, I still felt unsure what career path was right for me. I had ruled out academia but found it challenging to know if alternative careers would be a good fit without ever having the chance to try them out. I heard about detailing as a way of exploring government careers and decided to learn more about this unique opportunity.

A detail is essentially an internship for current government employees or fellows that is done in another government office to try out a position before making a career transition. It is an excellent way to explore a job role and get hands on experience. Often, if the detail goes well and the office is hiring, this can lead to a permanent position after completion of the detail.

I spoke with Dr. Erin Walsh in the NICHD Office of Education about the possibility of detailing, and she walked me through different NIH offices that one could explore. After some consideration, I asked Dr. Walsh if it would be possible to detail with her. I have a passion for teaching and mentoring and wanted to learn more about a career with the Office of Education.

I spoke with my PI about it, and she was happy to support me in taking advantage of this opportunity. We discussed what level of time commitment would be appropriate for me to balance progressing my lab work while also experiencing the full range of work being done in the Office of Education. We settled on a three-month detail, during which I spent one and a half days working for the Office of Education each week, with the remaining time spent working in the lab.

During my detail, I was able to learn a great deal about the day-to-day work done in the Office of Education. I participated in career advising sessions and mock interviews with trainees, and I had the opportunity to help develop new programming for the office, such as creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and Annual Progress Report System for postbacs, while also helping to revamp the NICHD Intramural Research Fellowship (IRF) application, scoring system and review process. This gave me valuable experiences in science administration and mentoring, which will be applicable to any future career.

Ultimately, my detail helped me realize that while I love mentoring, and I found work with the Office of Education very fulfilling, I really want a career where I am still actively engaged in scientific analysis. So, after completing the detail, I decided to take a position at the FDA as a pharmaceutical scientist in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. In this position, I will combine my scientific knowledge with the science administration skills I developed during my detail.

If anyone is interested in learning more about doing a detail, including with the Office of Education, I would encourage you to speak to Dr. Walsh (erin.walsh@nih.gov) or feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to hear more about my experience (Lauren.Walling@fda.hhs.gov).

The theme of the July issue can be summed up in one word: opportunity. As an NICHD fellow, you have access to a variety of activities and programs to supplement your research with valuable career development experiences. Our summer interns have an outstanding lineup of workshops, seminars, and educational events to attend, and all fellows can enjoy the regular offerings from the NICHD Office of Education and the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE).

Dr. Lauren Walling gives us a closer look at one impactful opportunity she pursued during her postdoctoral fellowship. In our “Interesting Opportunity” column, she shares her experience completing a detail in the NICHD Office of Education. Detailing is a way fellows can experience a specific scientific career field, such as science administration, during their fellowship years. For Dr. Walling, her detailing experience gave her the important insight she needed before making a major career shift.

For postdoctoral fellows who are interested in leadership opportunities, please check out our announcement in this month’s Rep Report. We are seeking a new basic science Fellows Committee (FelCom) representative. This is a great opportunity to interact with fellows from other Institutes and Centers while planning important programs around campus. If you’d like to learn more about serving as a representative, or completing a detail with the Office of Education, please contact Dr. Erin Walsh (erin.walsh@nih.gov).

We have a lot going on this summer, so don’t forget to check out the July Announcements and Events for all of the opportunities that pique your interest. Enjoy!

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

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

Rep Report logoOur basic science representative is a postdoctoral fellow who serves on the NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) on behalf of the institute's fellow population. In general, most institutes have one basic science representative and one clinical representative. Representative appointments last for 12 months and can be renewed for an additional year. 

Responsibilities of the institute’s representative include attending all scheduled FelCom meetings, participating on a subcommittee, disseminating information to the fellows in their institute, communicating fellows’ concerns to the committee, and coordinating the distribution of information via subcommittees. For NICHD, our representatives also work closely with the Office of Education to plan events for all NICHD postdoctoral trainees.

If you would like more information about serving as a basic science representative, please contact Dr. Erin Walsh (erin.walsh@nih.gov), and for information about serving on a FelCom subcommittee, contact one of the committee chairs directly.

Thursday, July 14, 1–4 PM

NICHD DIR Tenure-Track Investigator Virtual Symposia Series
“Genomics research bridging early and later life health outcomes” 
Hosted by Fasil Tekola-Ayele, PhD 

This series provides tenure-track investigators within NICHD the opportunity to organize a virtual mini-symposium to showcase their area of science to the NICHD DIR and larger NIH intramural community. These symposia are open to all faculty, trainees, and staff at the NIH. 
 
Join the symposium at https://nih.zoomgov.com/j/1605758868.


Thursday, July 14, 1–2:30 PM

“Speaking About Science: Giving Virtual Scientific Talks”
Led by Scott Morgan

The “Speaking about Science” webinar, led by public speaking coach Scott Morgan, offers tips on scientific storytelling, speaking in plain language while addressing the human health relevance for your research, and creating effective visual aids. Given the recent transition to online platforms, Scott will also focus on ways you can enhance and modify your talks for virtual presentations. 

Please contact Ms. Veronica Harker (veronica.harker@nih.gov) to register for this virtual workshop. Trainees at all levels (including summer interns) are encouraged to attend!


Ongoing Events Around Campus

NIH-Wide Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) Events
For more information and registration, please visit Upcoming OITE Events.  

NIH Library Training and Events  
For more information and registration, please visit the NIH Library Calendar.

Congratulations to Our TmT Program Awardees

As the NICHD finalist, Jeremie Oliver (Graduate Student, D’Souza Laboratory, DIR) was selected to join the TmT competition on June 30, 2022, alongside fellows from NHGRI, NIDCR, NEI, NCATS, NIDCD, NIAID, NIDDK, NINDS, NIEHS and NLM.

We also want to congratulate all NICHD TmT participants this year on a job well done. Our semi-finalists include:

  • Marja Brolinson, MD (Clinical Fellow, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Fellowship Program)
  • Jeremie Oliver (Graduate Student, D’Souza Laboratory)
  • Catherine Rogers (Postbac Fellow, Rogers Laboratory)
  • Alan Kessler, PhD (Postdoc Fellow, Maraia Laboratory)
  • Huang Lin, PhD (Postdoc Fellow, Peddada Laboratory)

Do You Have an Outstanding Mentor?

Mentor of the Year Awards poster, content recreated in previous textThe time has come for you to nominate your fellow or PI for the 2022 NICHD Mentor of the Year Awards. This is your chance to recognize an individual whose mentoring has made a difference in your life at the NICHD!

Below is the link to obtain information about the NICHD’s two annual intramural Mentor of the Year Awards, one for a fellow and one for an investigator. Please submit your nomination form and a 500-word (maximum) narrative electronically to Ms. Veronica Harker (veronica.harker@nih.gov). 

The submission deadline is Friday, July 29, 2022.

Please contact the Office of Education if you have any questions about the nomination instructions or selection process. Information available at: Mentor of the Year Awards.


Science Writing Opportunities for All Fellows

Have you always wanted to try science writing? If you would like to write an article or suggest a topic for this newsletter, please contact our editor, Dr. Shana Spindler (shana.spindler@nih.gov). Have a great summer all!


NEXT MONTH: Virtual Summer Poster Day, August 3 & 4

The event will be hosted on Fourwaves. All visitors and participants must register on the event website to attend.

If you are a summer intern, Summer Research Presentation Week is your time to share the research and creative projects you have been conducting at the NIH with the broader NIH community and your family and friends! At the same time, you will develop your communication and networking skills.

More information about the event is available at the OITE Virtual Summer Presentation Day website.


SAVE THE DATE: OITE Epi and Behavioral Science Trainee Mixer

Monday, August 1, 2–3 p.m.

Please register, and a Zoom link will be provided to participants.

The OITE is hosting a virtual networking event for epi and behavioral-science trainees at the NIH! Epi and behavioral-science trainees are in almost every institute here at the NIH. You are doing critically important work that has a very direct impact on all of our lives. We’ve listened to feedback that you want to connect with other trainees doing similar types of science at NIH, so we are making it happen! Join us via zoom to get to know trainees from across the NIH, share your love for epi/behavioral science, and make sure you are taking advantage of all the NIH has to offer during your training. This event is recommended for postbacs, graduate students, and postdocs. 


SAVE THE DATE: The Graduate School Search and Application Process

Wednesday, August 3, 1–2 p.m.

For those of you applying to graduate school, join us for the next session of our Annual Postbac Seminar Series, “The Graduate School Search and Application Process,” led by Dr. Erin Walsh, Director of the NICHD Office of Education. We will discuss:

  • Different career paths requiring PhD training 
  • Types of graduate programs 
  • The process of searching for and ranking graduate programs that align with your interests, career goals and values 
  • How to find suitable labs (and mentors!) for your graduate training 
  • How to determine if you should consider taking the GRE

Please email Ms. Veronica Harker (veronica.harker@nih.gov) to register for this session.


NIH UNITE: Ending Structural Racism (ESR) Activities

The NIH UNITE initiative was established to identify and address structural racism within the NIH-supported and the greater scientific community. 

The ESR Intranet includes various resources like the Toolkit, Newsletter, FAQs, and other information.

UNITE Milestones and Progress and the Co-Chairs Corner (public ESR webpages) are other avenues to stay informed on UNITE efforts.