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UGSP Summer 2013 Newsletter

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning."
- Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and the General Theory


Welcome 2013 summer UGSP scholars!!
Summer is an exciting and busy time here at NIH as it welcomes hundreds of students that come together to perform cutting-edge research and work with an outstanding group of investigators. Hence, we hope you all are having a great summer so far. More importantly, we hope you are taking advantage of all the resources and opportunities that NIH has to offer.

We are very excited to launch the first quarterly issue of the UGSP Newsletter. This summer issue is dedicated to the 2013 UGSP Summer Internship Scholars. To get to know your summer peers, we asked some of our current summer scholars to share with everyone something unique about themselves. This issue also includes statements from current paybacks, who shared interesting and informative aspects about their NIH experience. Also, You will also find information on upcoming events at NIH focusing on career and professional development events (e.g. workshops, seminars, scientific talks).

We hope that this newsletter will prove informative and help summer interns navigate through their summer research experience, while also inspiring a continued commitment to research. Finally, don't miss out the social events planned for all UGSP scholars to get the opportunity to meet and NETWORK!!!


Meet the 2013 Summer Scholars
Leslie Smith-University-NYU-Senior: I play varsity (soccer) for NYU. I spent my spring semester abroad in Sydney, (Australia).

Jonathan O'Rawe: I am not allowed to donate blood because I was in the UK during the Mad Cow disease outbreak.

Mariya Grygorenko: I am Ukrainian and moved to Texas with my family. I went to school at the University of Texas at Austin and got degrees in Biology and French. In my spare time, I love to go salsa dancing. If I weren't doing clinical research, I would love to work in a bakery making cakes and cupcakes.

Anna Kkrumah: I am from Ghana and I have been in the US since 2003. One of my greatest desires right now is to travel around abroad. A backpacking trip to Europe is something I dream about quite often.

Jordan Krebs: I did a research project with Planetary Protection at NASA- JPL/Caltech.

Angela Davis: One interesting fact about me is that I was born with twelve fingers. On a
more serious note, I would like to start a non-profit organization educating children & families from low-income communities on eating/cooking healthy.

Courtney (Katie) Pickworth: I graduated from Albion College where I majored in Biology and Psychology and plan to attend medical school after my payback in the section of Growth and Obesity. In my spare time, I'm training for a half marathon but I would always rather be hanging out with my cat and watching British sitcoms.

Daniel Letwin: Ballroom dancing is a great way to exercise and to develop skills that help with research. I play the clarinet.

Dahima Cintron: I love sports and long distance running. If you see me behind the wheel, stay away. I'm a really bad driver.

Mohammad F. Taria: I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and I aspire to be a computational neuroscientist.

Where are they now?
Suzanne Mate UGSP Scholar 2007
Undoubtedly, the training and mentorship that I received as a UGSP scholar provided the foundation for my current success. While providing hands-on research training, the summer internship also improved my confidence and scientific leadership skills through coursework and communication training given by NIH faculty members who serve as our role models. More importantly, it brought me into a community of young professionals also interested in pursuing scientific careers, providing a network and peer support. My acquired skills and confidence made for a smooth transition into graduate school at The George Washington University where I completed a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a dissertation thesis characterizing novel neuromuscular junction proteins through a comparative genomic and proteomic study. From my dissertation work, I gained an interest in information science and the use of biological databases to support research efforts. The superior leadership and mentorship of the UGSP cadre supported this interest by securing a payback position that would maximize my learning and career potential. I am currently completing my payback at NCBI as a GenBank Curator where I support our mission to uphold data quality standards and open access of biological data for use by the research community. After I complete my payback, I will have the privilege to continue to serve as a member of the NIH faculty as a Research Fellow at NCBI where I will continue to support the biomedical research community. This is an extraordinary opportunity given the current "Big Data" climate of high throughput research methods. For these reasons, I attribute my current success to being a UGSP scholar. I am grateful to have participated in the UGSP, for the financial support to complete my undergraduate education, for the superior mentorship of its cadre, and for their diligence in securing my future career at the NIH.

How to make the most out of your summer research experience at NIH?
Greetings new scholars!
Welcome to the NIH! I hope that you're excited to have a great experience that you can't get anywhere else! You've come to the right place at the right time, so brace yourself for an aromatic mix of cutting-edge science and summer festivities, both at the tips of your fingers. All you have to do is reach for them! Follow me for a few words of advice that I think you will find useful while spending your next few weeks in Bethesda.

So you're at the NIH, what's next?
Grand Rounds. Journal Club. Shadowing. Oh my! There are an abundance of activities available for you during the summer in addition to working on your research project. Just be sure to ask some questions (especially to colleagues both in and out of your field of interest) and you will find that you have several ways to enhance your on-campus experience. Last summer, I enjoyed attending grand rounds and linked up with the post-doc in my group to attend her clinical fellow rounds, which not only helped broaden my scope of our field, but also resulted in increased networking opportunities.

How about free time?
When you're here, you can't forget to have fun! The District of Columbia/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) is a fantastic place to be, especially during the summer! Last summer, I attended the Pan- African festival that was held to celebrate the diverse cultures of the African continent. There were musical and dancing performances, a runway fashion show, and speeches from different prominent chiefs (one who made history as the first female chief in her township!). It was an AMAZING event! In addition to that, I made sure to connect with a local chapter of my affiliated sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and join in with participating in various community service activities such as mentoring youth groups, fundraising for health awareness drives, and so many others.

How can you make the most out of this summer?How can you make the most out of this summer?
Be open-minded and don't be afraid to talk to people and network. It may be a little bit uncomfortable because you are getting adjusted to a new place but there is no need to fear. Through this program, you have more people who are ready and willing to support you than you think!
-Bathsheba Wariso is a Nigerian-born California native who graduated from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She will be completing her first year of payback as a UGSP scholar in June 2013.

First of all, welcome to the NIH!
Some of you will be coming to work for the first time and some will be returning for a subsequent summer or start a payback. The summer is always an exciting time for laboratories to welcome new students.

It is very important to establish a good relationship with your mentor and PI as you will be interacting with them every day. In the lab, be pro-active about your project, show your colleagues your enthusiasm and curiosity for science and don't be afraid to ask questions when you don't know. It is equally important to take advantage of the summer resources offered by the Intramural Training Program to hone your transferrable skills, such as learning to critically read a scientific paper, writing a personal statement for graduate or medical school, etc.
Also, be sure to explore Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas with your fellow UGSPers and other summer students. The capital bike share system is one the most fun way to travel around the city.

For those who are interested in gaining clinical experience, there are plenty of ways for doing so. For example, I took advantage of my language skills to volunteer as a medical interpreter at the clinical center. This experience has been greatly rewarding since it allows me to be directly involved in the patient-physician relationship.

Finally, the most important advice I have to give is to keep an open mind in order to experience your summer to its fullest. Have a blast!
-Jason Qian studied biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently working the laboratory of Dr. Rafael Casellas in B-cell genomics.

Congratulations to the 2013 UGSP scholars and the recent graduates from the 2012 cohort!
Whether it is your first time here as an NIH intern or not, it must be an exciting time for you, and for a good reason. This is a dynamic environment offering excellent opportunities to pursue your research endeavors and the quality of your experience will depend largely on your relationship with your mentor. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a great relationship with your mentor. Let your enthusiasm be obvious and be sure to find that delicate balance between hovering and seeming apathetic. I joined the Hodge lab expecting to stay-put for my payback year and thus, my primary goal was to develop the technical skills needed to ensure a more productive year. It helps to have well defined objectives and that your mentor is aware of your expectations. For those of you only here for the summer, it can be frustrating to know that by the time you figure out what you are doing, your summer will be coming to an end. However, it is enough time to make a good impression. Events such as the ‘Summer Lecture Series' and the ‘Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series' are excellent ways to broaden your scientific horizons. Beyond research, the summer is all yours, thus, you should enjoy it. Even if it is a late afternoon at the food truck festival or a visit to the National Park, DC, with its vibrant social culture, offers numerous opportunities to have fun. On a more practical note, you might find yourself in a smoke filled lab with a burnt pizza and out-of-control fire alarms, and it helps to know who to contact under emergency situations.
-Momodou Jammeh is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison known for his obsession with apples and yogurt, and for making quite possibly the best Chili ever made.


Upcoming Events at NIH (OITE website)

  • Summer Lecture Series II: Building 10, Lipsett Amphitheater; July 12, 2013 from 3:00 pm- 4:00 pm
  • 2013 Graduate & Professional School Fair: Natcher Conference Center (Building 45); July 17, 2013 from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Dissertation Proposals and Managing the Graduate Experience o Building 50, Room 1227; Jul 22, 2013 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Workplace Dynamics II: Influencing Others, Communicating, and Learning o Building 10, Room FAES 1-4; July 24, 2013 from 2:00 pm- 5:00 pm
  • Coming back to the NIH: Building 50, Room 1227; Aug 01, 2013 from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Job Search Strategies: Building 1, Wilson Hall; Aug 06, 2013 from 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm
  • SUMMER POSTER DAY 2013: Natcher Conference Center (Building 45); August 8, 2013 from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm


UGSP Social Events

  • 2013 HHS Night at the Ballpark o July 23rd, 2013 at 6:30 pm
  • Summer Scholars Farewell (You can still sign up in the link below or email Natasha Lugo-Escobar at if attending): Saturday July 28th, 2013 (Location and timeTBD)