Environmental Factor, January 2011, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIEHS holds annual awards ceremony
By Melissa Kerr
Kleeberger, center, and Birnbaum share a hug and a laugh as he accepted a surprise award. Foster applauds in the background. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Gina Goulding, left, receives a Peer Award from Birnbaum for her work on promotion procedures for laboratory staff. Peer Awardees were also awarded $600 in cash. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
NIEHS recognized employees' accomplishments at the 2010 NIEHS Awards Ceremony Dec. 16 in Rodbell Auditorium. The standing-room-only event was hosted by Paul Foster, Ph.D., NTP Toxicology Branch chief. NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D, presented the record number of awards.
In her opening statement, Birnbaum commended employees by saying, "I am pleased to have this opportunity to show you my gratitude for all that you have done to give of your talents and to share your knowledge, as we work together to improve human health around the world."
Before the formal ceremony began, Birnbaum presented an unannounced award to Steven Kleeberger, Ph.D., for his services as NIEHS acting deputy director while Birnbaum put together a permanent leadership team.
The awards honored employees for their contributions throughout the year at the Institute, including the NIEHS response to the Gulf oil spill with its training of thousands of cleanup workers, the initiation of a long-term health effects study, and continued support for the Gulf region research consortia. The establishment of the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee was another significant achievement of the year.
The program also recognized earlier awards to employees by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Also honored were the 21 trainees who won this year's Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE), which came with a stipend of $1,000 to go toward professional development.
After the ceremony concluded, attendees were invited to the cafeteria to celebrate International Day. The NIEHS band provided the holiday-inspired music as employees celebrated cultural diversity with fellowship and a remarkable variety of international cuisine.
(Melissa Kerr studies chemistry at North Carolina Central University. She is currently an intern in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)