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NIH Record

NIH Welcomes Summer Undergraduate Students

By Susan Athey

Photos by Bill Branson

On the Front Page...

Nearly 300 undergraduate students and a handful of high school and graduate students packed Masur Auditorium on June 25 for a welcoming ceremony in their honor. The students, who are working at NIH this summer through various programs, were brought together by the NIGMS Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Branch to give them the opportunity to meet one another, as well as key staff involved with NIH programs.


NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus delivers keynote speech.

Dr. Clifton Poodry, director of the NIGMS Division of Minority Opportunities in Research, welcomed the students, stating that he hoped their experiences at NIH would be productive and would live up to their expectations.

The students were also welcomed by Brenda Hanning, acting director of the NIH Office of Education, who noted that "more than 3,000 applications were received electronically this year for NIH's summer programs from applicants across the country." She spoke about the many different paths the students took to get to NIH and offered advice on career planning.

"Think about preparing rather than planning for your careers," she urged. Students also heard from Dr. Arlyn Garcia-Perez, assistant director for intramural research at NIH, who spoke to the students about the "lessons of life in the pursuit of happiness.

"No one can take away from you the knowledge that you acquire," she told the students, encouraging them to read a lot and to "become students of life."

Dr. Anthony René, NIGMS assistant director for referral and liaison, greets two summer students during the reception.
The event's keynote speaker was NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus, or "the person who runs this place" as he identified himself. He gave students an overview of NIH's key emphases in the coming years, stressing the importance of such areas as genomics, reinvigorating clinical research, harnessing allied disciplines and reducing health disparities.

Summer students take the opportunity to meet one another following the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, students attended a reception in their honor at the Visitor Information Center.

For more than 10 years, the MARC Branch has brought together its summer students for a welcoming ceremony. This year marks the first time that a welcoming ceremony followed by a reception was held for all NIH undergraduate students.

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