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Vol. LXIV, No. 18
August 31, 2012
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Poster Day Shows Off Strengths of Young Minds

James K. Wang (l) explains his poster to a visitor.
James K. Wang (l) explains his poster to a visitor.

London may have hosted the Olympic Village this summer, but NIH on Aug. 9 held the intellectual equivalent—the annual poster day for students in the NIH Summer Internship Program, sponsored by the Office of Intramural Training & Education. Lithe minds rather than bodies were the emphasis at the 3-session, day-long event in Natcher Bldg.

Because the day featured youngsters just starting their research careers, it was not uncommon to see braces, hair dyed purple or blue and the green school blazers worn by members of the Physician Scientist Training Program, a summer internship for minorities that enrolls 7th graders and trains them every summer through senior year of college.

PSTP trainees spend the summers after grades 8 and 9 learning basic science techniques and the fundamentals of lab bench work at Southern Methodist University. Following grades 9 and 10, the kids study at the University of Pennsylvania. “We basically live like college kids,” said Alexis Berry.

The Philadelphia native explained that 11th graders, such as herself, and the 30 other members of her class split into 2 groups: half studied at NIH’s Bethesda campus this summer while the others worked for NIA and NIDA at the Bayview campus near Baltimore.

When they are seniors next summer, most will do research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas or work in Seattle’s pharmaceutical industry.

Erica J. Richardson (l) and her sister Erin A. Richardso Poster presentation NIH director Dr. Francis Collins wove an account of his decades-long interest in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.

At Poster Day 2012 (from l) Erica J. Richardson (l) and her sister Erin A. Richardson participated for the first time in Poster Day this summer. They will enter Maryland’s Stevenson University this fall; in the next two photos, exhibitors defend their work.

Photos: Rich McManus

James K. Wang (l) explains his poster to a visitor. NIDCR summer intern Daniel Zemel (l) explains his summer science.
Safiya Correia (r) of NIDA describes her work to a visitor to her poster. NIDCR summer intern Daniel Zemel (l) explains his summer science.

“After that, we are expected to make use of the connections we have made at all the summer internships and find our own research positions,” said Natasha Ceballos, of the U.S. Virgin Islands. PSTP students can also go back and mentor people in grades below them, said Candace Johnson of Fulton, Md.

All three of the young women plan on medical and/or research careers, they declared.

In all, some 760 students participated in Poster Day, hailing from schools in 45 states, plus the Virgin Islands, D.C. and Puerto Rico.—Rich McManus

(from l) Natasha Ceballos, Alexis Berry and Candace Johnson are members of the Physician Scientist Training Program and exhibited at Poster Day. Nikki Boggess (l) worked in NIA’s Laboratory of Genetics and offers an explanation of her work.
11th graders (from l) Natasha Ceballos, Alexis Berry and Candace Johnson are members of the Physician Scientist Training Program and exhibited at Poster Day. Nikki Boggess (l) worked in NIA’s Laboratory of Genetics and offers an explanation of her work.
(from l) Natasha Ceballos, Alexis Berry and Candace Johnson are members of the Physician Scientist Training Program and exhibited at Poster Day. Hanna X. Lee of NICHD has the same work to do, albeit with a younger attendee.
Juliet Arcila-Rojas of NIDA makes her work clear to a visitor. Hanna X. Lee of NICHD has the same work to do, albeit with a younger attendee.
NIDA’s Jennifer Cha (l) enjoys dialogue with a visitor Ceballos (l) of the U.S. Virgin Islands explains her poster to an attendee.
NIDA’s Jennifer Cha (l) enjoys dialogue with a visitor Ceballos (l) of the U.S. Virgin Islands explains her poster to an attendee.

 


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