2014 summer interns build experience in research and presentations
By Kelly Lenox
Students in the 2014 NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) at NIEHS experienced a summer rich with research, seminars, workshops, and new connections, as the Institute continued its efforts to develop a new generation of skilled and inspired environmental health scientists.
Organized by Debbie Wilson, coordinator of SIP, with key involvement from Tammy Collins, Ph.D., director of the NIEHS Office of Fellows’ Career Development, nearly 40 interns began their summer research projects in May and June and finished by presenting research posters in a July 24 competition.
(Launches in new window)
Workshops combine topical studies and fun
The summer program held a rich variety of learning experiences (see story), including two workshops on hot topics among environmental health scientists. The first, on June 27, explored Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHAD), and the second, on July 10, focused on Climate Change and Human Health.
At each workshop, after initial presentations, the interns worked in small groups to research specific questions. For example, in the climate change workshop, one group studied increasing rainfall in the Great Lakes region. Organized and assisted by trainees and staff (see side bar), the groups presented their findings on the problem, its causes and public health effects, and recommendations for how to mitigate those health impacts — all in only three minutes. After all groups had presented, organizers tested the interns with lively contests formatted as popular game shows.
Poster session and awards sum up great learning experience
Despite organizers’ efforts to control the crowd by splitting poster presenters into two groups, Rodbell Auditorium buzzed with activity July 24, as interns presented their summer research to NIEHS leadership, scientists, family, and interested staff.
It didn’t take long, while mingling with the well-spoken interns, to begin to feel one was talking to tomorrow’s award-winning researchers. “The quality of the interns each year is just amazing,” said Thomas Kunkel, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Replication Fidelity Group.
That excellence was celebrated in an awards ceremony and ice cream social later that afternoon. “About half of these interns were presenting posters for the first time,” remarked Bill Schrader, Ph.D., NIEHS deputy scientific director and emcee of the awards ceremony. Three best poster awards were given out — one each to a high school, undergraduate, and graduate student. Following the ceremony, one last competition was held — a trivia game covering everything from pop culture to NIH arcana.