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Fellows enjoy food and fellowship at Lake Crabtree picnic

By Sophie Bolick
September 2010

Fellows showcasing their volleyball skills
Fellows took a break from the lab to showcase their volleyball skills on a Saturday afternoon at Lake Crabtree Park. (Photo courtesy of Allison Schorzman)

from left, David Draper, Ph.D., Schorzman, and Collins share a laugh
Left to right above, David Draper, Ph.D., Schorzman, and Collins shared a laugh as they filled their plates with fried chicken and barbecue before moving on to the potluck dishes. (Photo courtesy of Xiaoqing Chang)

Fellows relaxing in the shade
Fellows relaxed in the shade and allowed their meals to settle as they caught up with old friends and made new ones. (Photo courtesy of Allison Schorzman)

children enjoying the bouce house
There was no shortage of activities for children. They enjoyed the bounce house as well as the playground and lake. (Photo courtesy of Allison Schorzman)

A summer of record high temperatures and an overcast morning did nothing to dissuade approximately 25 fellows and their families from turning out for an afternoon of fun on Aug. 14. Early morning clouds gave way to sunny skies and gentle breezes in the late afternoon for the First Annual NIEHS Trainees Assembly (NTA) Summer Picnic at Lake Crabtree Park.

"The NTA wanted to organize an activity that got fellows away from lab work, publishing, and the job search - if only for an afternoon. We also wanted to provide an opportunity for fellows to socialize with people they may pass in the hallway every day," said Allison Schorzman, Ph.D., a fellow with the Mass Spectrometry Group and organizer of the event.

Children enjoyed the park playground and bounce house, while adults took advantage of the sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits. Fellows showcased their culinary talents with a variety of excellent side dishes and desserts, which rounded out the entrees of fried chicken and barbecue.

Tammy Collins, Ph.D., a fellow in the Mitochondrial DNA Replication Group, stated, "It was a great opportunity to get to know fellows from other labs while enjoying some good ol' NC BBQ." She added, "I hope to see the NTA continue to offer social events such as this to help build community among trainees."

Raj Gosavi, Ph.D., a fellow with the Structure and Function Research Group in the Laboratory of Structural Biology, organized an impromptu game of volleyball. Of their efforts, he commented, "Perhaps none of us were playing on the level of professionals, but nevertheless it was fun and was certainly competitive. There were people on my team with whom I had never interacted before, which also made it interesting."

The NIEHS NTA is an organization created and governed by fellows. One of the missions of the NTA is to foster communication among fellows at social events such as the monthly coffee hours, the annual Postdoc Appreciation Day, and this picnic. Schorzman summed it up best by stating, "What better way to get to know people than over good food and a beautiful view."

(Sophie Bolick, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow with the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Group in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis.)

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