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Career Services Center: About Us

How can OITE assist you in your career development?




The mission of OITE Career Services is to meet the career development needs of trainees across all Institutes and Centers at the NIH.


Individual Career Counseling/Advising Appointments

Overview: What to Expect When You See a Career Counselor

Trainees have access to individual appointments to discuss a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to:

Formal Self-Assessments Interview Preparation/ Mock Interview Adapting to US Culture
Career Exploration Resume/CV & Cover Letters Work/Life Balance
Academic/Industry Career Options Job Search Process & Negotiation Professional Development
Non-Academic/Non-Industry Career Options Graduate/Professional School Advising Managing mentor/trainee relationships
Skills, Values, Interests English Language Training Leadership Skills
Interpersonal communication skills Assertiveness training Adjusting to a new lab


IMPORTANT NOTE: When you schedule an appointment for advising, counseling or a mock interview, you should be prepared to honor that commitment. If you fail to cancel the appointment several hours in advance, that time cannot be given to another fellow.

Graduate and Professional School Advising

Limitations on Pre-professional Advising for Applicants to Graduate and Professional School: The OITE is committed to assisting postbacs and summer interns with the application process for graduate and professional (medical, dental, pharmacy, etc.) school. However, given the large number of trainees interested in this service and the need for application materials to reflect the applicants' interests and skills, we want to clarify the extent and nature of the services we can provide.

Please note that from Oct 1, 2017-December 31, 2017, Dr. Higgins will be conducting appointments by telephone. When you make an appointment via the online system please leave a telephone number that he can reach you.

  • The Office of Career Services will review one final draft of a personal statement for graduate or professional school. The Staff will not review secondary application essays or review a statement more than once. An applicant may request a review from only one OITE staff member.
  • Counselors and other OITE staff members will review the content of personal statements, including the structure and organization of the essay and whether the message intended by the applicant is being effectively communicated. The service does not include correction of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. We will refer trainees to grammar and punctuation resources, many of which are now available on our Writing Resources page.
  • Staff members in the Office of Career Services and other OITE staff members will assist applicants with preparation for interviews. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as extreme anxiety, applicants will be eligible for only one mock interview or discussion of the interview process.
  • Overall, the OITE staff will meet with applicants a maximum of twice during the pre-application season. The two-appointment limit will apply to application review, interview preparation, and pre-med advising. Trainees may schedule additional visits should they need assistance with other career planning issues.
  • The OITE Staff members will review an applicant's FINAL version the of AMCAS personal statement and, if time permits during an appointment, the FINAL draft of the AMCAS Activities section. This review occurs after AMCAS opens in early May and before the applicant submits the final AMCAS application in early June. An applicant may receive one such review. 
  •  OITE advisers do not replace an applicant's university pre-medical committee, and therefore do not review personal statements for these groups.

    NOTE: Prior to making an appointment, trainees are expected to have attended the relevant pre-med or graduate school workshops or viewed them on the OITE Web site and, if appropriate, edited their personal statements accordingly.

Formal assessments

The following two instruments are available for free to NIH intramural postbacs, graduate students, postdocs, research fellows and clinical fellows. Eligible trainees must first meet with a career counselor before the assessment is administered. To schedule an appointment, visit Appointments.

Please note: Summer interns are encouraged to contact their university/school career or counseling center to find out about assessments like the MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory.

  • The Strong Interest Inventory identifies career interests. Eligible trainees must make an appointment to meet with a career counselor prior to completing the assessment.
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) analyzes personality type. If you are interested in completing the MBTI, please register for an OITE MBTI workshop. Registering will enable you to complete the assessment. At the workshop you will receive the results and learn how to interpret and use them. Should you want additional information after the workshop, you can make an appointment with a career counselor.

Mock Interviews

Trainees can make an appointment with the Career Services Center to schedule a mock interview for any type of upcoming interview - medical/graduate school, academic, industry, etc.

OITE has had a great deal of success with group mock interviews for postbacs. Trainees are grouped by their educational goals, e.g., medical school vs. graduate school, psychology vs. bioinformatics. Watch for this opportunity, which will allow you both to practice and to learn from the skills of others.

Career Programs and Resources

Workshops and Seminars

OITE hosts a wide variety of workshops on career-related topics. You should look both at the Calendar of Events, which will tell you what's coming up and prior events for programming that might meet your needs. Many prior events have videos, slides and other resources to give you access to the content presented.

Career Services Library

Career Services Libraries are located in the following locations:

  • Bethesda Campus - Main Circulating Library on the 2nd Floor of Building 2
  • Baltimore in the Biomedical Research Center - NIH, Room 04B409B; NIDA, Room 2A641
  • Frederick in the Science Library in Building 549
  • Montana, RML in Building A, 3rd Floor, Room 313A
  • North Carolina, RTP in the Basement of Module A in Building 101

The OITE Career Library is now a "branch" of the NIH Library

To search the OITE Career Library collection online, go to the NIH Library site. Then, from the "Research Tools" menu, chose "Online Catalog". Finally, scan the choices under "Search all libraries" and select the "OITE Career Library".

Career Services Staff

Lori Conlan, PhD Director, Career Services Center Dr. Conlan is also Director, Office of Postdoctoral Services, so her particular focus is that group.
Julia Jarvis Wellness Counselor Expert in helping trainees through transitions and the stresses of life
William Higgins, PhD Pre-professional Advisor Expert on getting to college, graduate school and professional school and succeeding there.
Elena Hernandez- Ramon, MD, PhD Director, Pre-medical Programs
Expert advisor on medical school applications and medical careers.
Anne Kirchgessner, MSEd, LCPC Career Counselor Expert in all aspects of career services; meets trainees in Bethesda.
Denise Saunders, PhD Career Counselor Expert in all aspects of career services; Located in RTP, NC
Pat Sokolove, PhD Deputy Director, OITE, and Director, Postbac and Summer Research Program Happy to discuss getting into graduate or professional school, academic careers, academic administration, and AAAS Science Policy Fellowships; particularly interested in writing and personal statements
John Taborn, PhD Career Counselor Expert in all aspects of career services; meets trainees in Bethesda, Baltimore, and Frederick.

Office Hours and Locations

OITE Career Services is housed on the second floor of Building 2 on the Bethesda campus. Most career counselors and advisors are available between the core hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. However, some may begin work earlier or remain at work later, so appointments may be available outside these times.

Career Services staff members visit Baltimore and Frederick on a regular basis. Denise Saunders provides career assistance to trainees at NIEHS. If you are at another location, counselors/advisors will come to you or we will arrange phone or Skype appointments.