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Day for Kids Brings Out Teacher in NIH'ers

Photos (except for NLM) by Ernie Branson

More than anything else, NIH's 10th almost-annual observance of Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day highlighted what a talented faculty NIH employees turn out to be. Whether it was the clear and informative overview of her field given by Laura Ediger, lead technician in the microbiology service of the Clinical Center's department of laboratory medicine, or the first-rate performance given by the cast of professional actors at NLM's Changing the Face of Medicine play, or the gentle emcee work of David A. Thomas at NIDA's "Who Wants To Be an NIDA Neuroscientist?" exhibit, which aped TV's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, the event drew out the natural teacher in our workforce, to great positive effect on the kids. And their parents.

Some 1,039 children signed up for this year's event, said Gary Morin of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, which sponsored the day. Canceled in 2003 for security reasons, the event was last held in 2002 and drew a then-record 1,000 kids.

While most of the events for the 8-15 year olds were scripted and planned, some were simply the result of youngsters getting to see what mom or dad or other adult relative or guardian does at work on a typical day. Bob Murphy, who works in an NCI laboratory, entertained a small crowd, including daughters Brogan, 11, and Kiera, 8 — both students at Wheaton's St. Catherine Laboure Elementary School — with a demonstration of how liquid nitrogen, used to freeze lab samples, boils over at room temperature, and can freeze a flower into glass-like fragility in mere seconds.

Marie Conrad (l), a technologist in the microbiology service, department of laboratory medicine, Clinical Center, has a rapt audience during her presentation.

Students from Rosa Parks Middle School in Olney, Md., including (from l) Diane Yu, 13, Ella Branson, 14, and Kelly Kessinger, 14 (whose mom Teresa is a nurse manager on 5 West in the Clinical Center) reap the goody-bag harvest.

The operating team is gowned, gloved and ready to go at an exhibit at the Natcher Bldg. The youngsters enjoyed activities that let them dress like medical professionals; many went home with the makings of future Halloween costumes.

A medical career could be starting here.

Meredith, the lab mouse, told all about her career at an interview in Natcher Bldg.

Kelly Smith, a technologist in the phlebotomy service, department of laboratory medicine, Clinical Center, helps youngsters draw blood from a fake arm.

Above, actors from the American Historical Theatre celebrate the lives and achievements of women in medicine in Changing the Face of Medicine, an original play based on the exhibition of the same name at the National Library of Medicine. In the scene below, the actors portray the role of women philanthropists in the founding of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. They donated the funds needed to open the school on the condition that women students were admitted on the same terms as men.

Youngsters pose with the NIH Police dog Daisy at an exhibit on the patio behind Bldg. 31. Daisy has been trained to detect explosives and is handled by Master Patrol Officer Alan Blaum. The NIH Police Command Station was open for tours, as well. Other activities during the day included tours of the Children's Inn; careers in nutrition; eating and the brain; NCI's Cancer Atlas; public speaking; how to build a web page; "The Adventures of an NIH Veterinarian"; rodent and aquatic tour; and country and western line dancing.

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