Sharon Nouzari Louis (far l), outreach program coordinator of the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch, and Dr. Mario Cerritelli (far r), chief of the branch, pose with students and two staff members from the SEED School of Washington, D.C.
Students from the SEED School of Washington, D.C., recently visited NIH as part of a newly formed partnership with the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
The SEED (Schools for Educational Evolution and Development) Foundation opened its first school in Washington in 1998. The school is a tuition-free, lottery selection-based boarding school that aims to provide an academically rigorous college preparatory curriculum to middle and high school students from underprivileged
inner-city areas. When President Obama recently visited the SEED School of Washington, D.C., he praised the program as a “true success story” with 97 percent of graduates being admitted to college. In the past year, the school was also featured in a segment on CBS’s 60 Minutes television show as well as on CNN.
As part of the new partnership, 15 students from the school, two of whom were D.C. Science Fair winners, visited with NIAMS IRP staff for a special daylong event featuring presentations and tours. SEED staff members Keven Cotton, external operations coordinator, and Lesli Brannon, student life logistics coordinator, accompanied the youngsters.
During the visit, Dr. Mario Cerritelli, chief of NIAMS’s Career Development and Outreach Branch, gave a presentation on career opportunities at NIH and urged the students to obtain a solid and broad education, in addition to focusing on science and math. He informed the students of the importance of bringing diverse perspectives to biomedical research, which promotes greater innovation in solving the complex health problems facing our nation today.
The students also learned about animal care and the use of animals in research from Dr. Crystal Brobst-Wormell, a clinical veterinarian. This was followed by tours of the Clinical Center led by Cerritelli and of a laboratory in the NIAMS Genetics
and Genomics Branch by Geryl Wood, a research assistant. Students were also treated to lunch in the CC cafeteria, providing an opportunity to network with staff from the Career Development and Outreach Branch.
The visit showed the students the variety of research taking place at NIH and, organizers hope, inspired them to consider careers in science.