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Vol. LIX, No. 17
August 24, 2007
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Innovative Women's Internship Program Launches


  NIMH's Dr. Esther Sternberg welcomes the interns to the summer program.  
  NIMH's Dr. Esther Sternberg welcomes the interns to the summer program.  
One conversation can sometimes lead to big things. Last year, after a lecture at a conference on skin and stress in New York, Dr. Esther Sternberg of NIMH started talking with Lynne Greene, global president of Clinique. When Greene said she would like to find a way to encourage young women and minority students to pursue careers in nursing and science, an idea for a new kind of internship was formed.

"We decided that as a start, a summer student program could be a great vehicle to benefit young women, science and the NIH," said Sternberg at the kick-off for the program earlier this summer. "This fills a great gap and a great need."

The Women's Health Summer Internship Program provided an 8- to 10-week intensive biomedical research experience here for three women who were selected through a "very competitive" process, Sternberg said. The selection committee included members of the Intramural Program on Research on Women's Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research and the Office of Intramural Training and Education. The internships were funded by the Foundation for NIH through a grant from Clinique.

The kick-off luncheon, held in the elegant chapel and lecture hall of the Cloister, served as a welcome for the three young women. They were selected among a large pool of applicants focusing on dermatology and skin cancer with a secondary preference for relevance to nursing and gender differences.

Neha Agarwal was chosen to work with principal investigators Dr. David Salomon and Dr. Barbara Vonderhaar of NCI. Laurel Cummings was paired with Dr. David Schlessinger of NIA and Jean Suh worked with Dr. Maria Morasso of NIAMS. The research experience was supplemented with instruction in lab safety, a lecture series and career development workshops. The program culminated in a trip to New York where the interns presented their projects at a Poster Day.

We're very excited to be a part of this; it's an absolute privilege," said Phebe Farrow Port, Clinique's vice president of global management strategies, in an overview of the program and the company's involvement at the luncheon. She helped present the new interns with white lab coats (and some Clinique products). She also stressed, along with the other organizers, the hope that this will lead to bigger programs focused on "furthering research for the good of young women and the good of the community."

"I know you're going to have some amazing outcomes," she said.

On the left side of the staircase are interns (from top) Neha Agarwal, Laurel Cummings and Jean Suh. On the right are some of the NIH scientists they worked with: (from top) Dr. David Salomon, Dr. Barbara Vonderhaar and Dr. Maria Morasso. Cummings explains her work to Sternberg at a poster presentation in New York City

 

Left: On the left side of the staircase are interns (from top) Neha Agarwal, Laurel Cummings and Jean Suh. On the right are some of the NIH scientists they worked with: (from top) Dr. David Salomon, Dr. Barbara Vonderhaar and Dr. Maria Morasso. Top: Cummings explains her work to Sternberg at a poster presentation in New York City.

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