NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Recruitment Effort Targets Virginia Colleges, Universities

Four members of an NIAID recruitment team
The OWER team included (from l) Judy Wongsam, JR Smith, Renetta Washington and Frances Garcia.

In an effort to support NIH’s goal to attract high-performing candidates and to promote an inclusive and diverse workforce, the NIAID Office of Workforce Effectiveness and Resources (OWER) employment outreach team coordinated a number of outreach events throughout 2018. In a collaborative effort within the NIH inclusive recruitment initiative subcommittee led by the NIH Office of Human Resources corporate recruitment unit, NIAID was able to partner with the Office of Research Facilities (ORF) last fall for a 5-day Virginia College Road Trip Tour. The trip included a visit to seven central and northeastern Virginia colleges and universities. 

The purpose was to provide outreach to students, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, by providing an overview of NIH and the many career opportunities available here. During discussions with students, the NIH ambassadors found that few were aware that NIH is a U.S. federal agency responsible for broad biomedical and public health research. Many participants were also unaware that NIH has a research hospital—the Clinical Center. 

The tour included the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Christopher Newport University, Hampton University and the College of William and Mary. 

Overall, the outreach road trip was successful. Each institution had well-qualified students who showed an interest in NIH and NIAID programs. The college tour served as an opportunity for the NIAID team to re-connect with existing partnerships as well as to establish new collaborations. Highlights included meeting more than 150 STEM and non-STEM students interested in applying to NIH training programs, in addition to forming new connections and collaborations between VCU and ORF. 

If your department or branch would like to partner with OWER or ORF, contact Frances Garcia at

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