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First Career Fair for Foreign Fellows Held at NIH

A sense of expectation and curiosity filled the atrium of the Natcher conference center when NIH visiting fellows (VFs) from around the world assembled recently to attend the first-ever Career Fair for Foreign Fellows held at NIH. The event aimed to address a critical need for information on post-NIH career opportunities, particularly for fellows from developing countries.

Representatives from more than 25 embassies, government offices and international organizations, including some who came from overseas, attended the fair to present information on career options in their countries. Nearby, fellows learned about career counseling and other services offered by NIH. Groups gathered around tables covered with information and handouts — brochures and other literature, CDs, t-shirts, posters and pens — that drew them to ask questions and to talk with representatives who participated. It was also a chance for the fellows to chat among themselves and compare notes on possibilities as well as obstacles that would confront them after NIH.

Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research, welcomes fellows and exhibitors.

Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research, welcomed the fellows and exhibitors. He recognized the visiting fellows' important contributions to NIH's work and thanked organizers of the event for understanding the challenges facing fellows.

"I am confident that this is only the first of many such events," said Dr. Sharon Hrynkow, acting director of the Fogarty International Center. "It is yet another way to highlight opportunities for the many talented visiting fellows at NIH to benefit their countries as well as their careers, especially for those who are returning to the developing world."

Visiting fellows gather information.

The NIH visiting fellows committee, formed in July 2003, handed out a questionnaire to get feedback on proposed future ventures. The committee's web site,, was launched to coincide with the fair.

Dr. Donna Vogel, who has long worked with visiting fellows at NCI as director of NCI's Fellowship Office, and who is keenly aware of their needs, said the event "could only have been done as a partnership. Never before have the ideas, enthusiasm, motivation and knowledge of career skill-building and the international scene been brought together in this way to benefit the visiting fellows, who form such a large and important part of our research enterprise."

The event was organized by NCI, FIC, NIEHS and the visiting fellows committee.

At the visiting fellow's committee table are (from l) Valeria Coelho, NIA; Kamala Tirumalai, NIAID; Donna Vogel, NCI; Devyani Haldar, NICHD; Soma Ghosh, NICHD; and Douglas Osei-hyiaman, NIAAA.

Staff at the FIC table include (from l) David Lindeman, program director at the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation; Natalie Tomitch and Sonja Madeira of FIC; and Gail Bernabe, NIAID.

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