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August 11, 2017
NINDS Welcomes New Class of Summer Students

Each year, NINDS offers hands-on research training in brain and nervous system research to hundreds of students through its Summer Internship Program (SIP). This year, NINDS officially welcomed the 2017 class at an orientation on June 29.

“It’s really exciting to have all of the energy and enthusiasm we know you’re going to bring us this year,” said NINDS scientific director Dr. Alan Koretsky, who joined SIP coordinator Dr. Rita Devine, NINDS clinical director Dr. Avindra Nath and NINDS director Dr. Walter Koroshetz to give opening remarks.

NINDS director Dr. Walter Koroshetz chats with a group of summer trainees during their orientation session.
NINDS director Dr. Walter Koroshetz chats with a group of summer trainees during their orientation session.

PHOTO: SHANNON E. GARNETT

The orientation featured presentations on NINDS’s Clinical Fellowship Program and Office of Technology Transfer, the NIH Blood Bank, as well as important IT security information and upcoming SIP event reminders.

SIP—founded more than 30 years ago by Levon Parker, former NINDS minority and special concerns program officer—provides a unique opportunity for academically trained high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students to receive first-rate training in neurological research. Students get practical experience working with leading scientists in the institute’s Division of Intramural Research.

At the same time, students make a valuable contribution to the NINDS research mission.

“We really need people like you to think about neurological diseases and how you will contribute to therapies for them,” said Nath to the students.

This year’s class—consisting of 122 students from 20 different states and Guam—represent many of the country’s leading academic institutions, including NINDS grantee institutions. Over the past 10 years, the program has had a particular interest in attracting Native American students. This year, the class included more than 25 Native American students from more than 10 different tribes.

Throughout the summer, SIP students—94 first-timers and 28 returning to the program—are conducting research in 55 NINDS laboratories.

“As you are trying to decide your next steps in life,” said Koroshetz, “you want to shoot for something that will give you a fulfilling life. Science is one thing that can do that. For people who want freedom and power of thought, science offers that.”

As part of SIP, students engage in meetings and seminars within their labs and attend lectures and symposia. They also participate in other activities including NIH Summer Research Program Poster Day, which gives them an opportunity to present their work to the NIH scientific community, and NINDS’s Summer Program Awards ceremony, which recognizes exceptional students.

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