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Environmental Factor, December 2012

NIEHS connects with students and scientists at ABRCMS conference

By Anshul Pandya

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) logo

NIEHS, along with other National Institutes of Health institutes and agencies, academia, and private sector companies, encouraged African-American and other minority students to pursue higher education at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). (http://www.abrcms.org/index.html)  This year’s conference, held Nov. 7-10 in San Jose, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley, attracted more than 3,600 talented students from around the country.

Ericka Reid, Ph.D., from the NIEHS Science Education and Diversity Office, and postdoctoral fellow Anshul Pandya, Ph.D., from the NIEHS Laboratory of Neurobiology, represented the Institute.

Connecting with young scientists

Reid and Pandya staffed the exhibit booth and focused on making sure that students were aware of the exciting research opportunities, including internships and fellowships that are available at NIEHS.

“It is always a rewarding experience for me to talk with young scientists, of various backgrounds, about training opportunities and career possibilities,” said Reid. “The [NIH] Summer Internship Program was a popular topic, and I’m hopeful that interest among students for this program will translate into an increase in the number of diverse applicants next year.”

Graduate students and doctoral candidates also inquired about the career opportunities available at NIEHS. Pandya, who was attending his first ABRCMS, was happy to give his own account of what it’s like to work at NIEHS and to explain the plethora of research that goes on at the Institute.

“There was a misconception among a lot of students that, as its name suggests, NIEHS was involved only in environmental research,” Pandya said. “Events like ABRCMS enable us to convey our Institute’s robust health and biomedical science research program.”

(Anshul Pandya, Ph.D., is an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellow in the NIEHS Laboratory of Neurobiology.)


Anshul Pandya, Ph.D.

Pandya is a member of the Ion Channel Physiology Group led by Jerrel Yakel, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)


Ericka Reid, Ph.D.

As director of the NIEHS Office of Science Education and Diversity, one of Reid’s duties is to raise awareness about the Institute, through local, state, and national outreach efforts. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)




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