When I think of the word retreat, two definitions come to mind. First is the forced military drawback of troops, and second is a break from life’s daily tasks for a defined period of reflection. In both senses of the word, the group or individual is pulling back to assess the situation, which will inform a plan to move forward. This month, NICHD fellows have the opportunity for two retreats: the NICHD Intramural Scientific Retreat on September 20th and the NICHD Fellows Retreat on September 29th. These events are not merely a break from benchwork for the day; they are designed to disseminate knowledge, catalyze discussion, and stimulate collaborative ideas and next steps.

The Fellows Retreat has an added bonus. Attendees can learn about various scientific careers through the first-hand experiences of panelists in science administration, policy, academia, industry, and more. To kick off career exploration ahead of the retreat, we follow up with former fellow Frances Fernando, a strategy and analytics consultant at Deloitte. In a Q&A session, she describes the role of a strategy and analytics consultant and recounts the experiences that led her to this particular career field.

We wrap up this issue with a big thank you to postdoctoral fellows for all of your hard work. Please join us in showing postdoc appreciation during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, September 19th–23rd. In honor of this event, we’d like to introduce you to your new NICHD Institutes and Centers postdoc rep, Dr. Hyo Won Ahn. She will represent the interests of NICHD postdoctoral fellows at monthly FelCom meetings and summarize relevant meeting information in the “The Rep Report.” If you have any questions or comments for Dr. Ahn, she welcomes your emails at hyowon.ahn@nih.gov.

I do hope to see each of you at this month’s retreats. I know that hours feel short, and timing is tight, but pulling away from your typical activities for the day to meet with colleagues will ultimately allow you to press forward in your research and career investigations. With that said, I’ll see you there! 

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.