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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

Resumes, 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 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 applicant's interests and skills, we want to clarify the extent and nature of the services we can provide.

  • 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 staff member.
  • Counselors 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, misspelling, and punctuation errors. We will refer trainees to grammar and punctuation resources, many of which are now available on the OITE Web site at
  • Staff members in the Office of Career Services 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 staff of the Career Services Center 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.

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.

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 assessements 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, Room 04B409B 
  • 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". Or Click here to go to that webpage directly. 

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.

Amanda Dumsch, MA

Career Counselor

Expert in all aspects of career services; meets trainees in Bethesda, Baltimore & Frederick.

Brad Fackler, MBA

Industry Careers Advisor

Expert in helping fellows navigate the application process for industry careers.

Julie Gold, MA, MSW

Leadership & Professional Development Coach

Specializes in difficult transitions and relationship issues.

William Higgins, PhD

Pre-professional Advisor

Expert on getting to college, graduate school and professional school and succeeding there.

Anne Kirchgessner, LCPC, NCC

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 Expert advisor for policy fellowships and personal statements for graduate school.

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.