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Teaching and Mentoring

The OITE recognizes the need to increase the skill sets for teaching and mentoring in the graduate, postdoc, and fellow populations of the intramural NIH program.

Preparing for a Teaching Career

Developing Mentoring Skills

Teaching and Mentoring Opportunities

Preparing for a Teaching Career

Scientists Teaching Science workshop

This 2-hour workshop provides graduate students and postdoctoral fellows considering careers in education, an introduction to the basics of learning styles, teaching philosophies, and course development. The subjects covered in this seminar-style presentation include writing a syllabus, common teaching methods and visual aids, self reflection, a brief introduction to Bloom's Taxonomy for learning objectives, and alternatives to lecturing. Check the schedule of up-coming events for the next session.

Scientists Teaching Science Online pedagogy course (will return in 2017)

9-week online course examines, in more depth, the topics introduced in the 2-hour workshop, as well as exploring subjects such as inquiry-based science, curriculum development, classroom dynamics, cultural awareness and diversity, assessments of learning environments, active learning and expert learners. Approached from a cognitive science perspective this course encourages individual participation and emphasizes team learning, group discussion, and home-based investigation. Open to NIH graduate students and postdocs at all NIH campuses. Participants who meet the assignment deadlines and successfully complete additional course requirements are awarded a certificate of training. Check on future offerings in the upcoming events of the OITE website.

Developing Mentoring Skills

The OITE offers two mentor training opportunities every Spring, a 2-hour workshop and a multi-week course, to prepare graduate students and postdocs/clinical fellows to become mentors to younger trainees such as summer interns and postbacs.

Topics include:

  • Establishing mentor-mentee expectations
  • Developing strategies for helping mentees build confidence, independence, creativity, and communication skills
  • Improving cultural competency in mentoring
  • Developing a mentoring philosophy
  • Designing a project for a mentee

Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate.

Blog and Video Resources

Teaching and Mentoring Opportunities

At the NIH

Mentoring a Summer Intern or Postbac

NIH IRP grad students, postdocs and fellows should have a conversation with their principal investigators about mentoring a younger trainee. Typically, each research group has their own budget, selection procedures and philosophies on hiring a younger trainee. The OITE maintains a database of applicants for both the Summer Intern and the Postbac programs. Contact your PI to access this database for finding a trainee. 

NIH Summer Mentor Award

The NIH Summer Mentor Award program provides for a centrally funded summer intern to qualified graduate students, Postdoc fellows (IRTA/CRTA/Research Fellow), Visiting Fellows, and Clinical fellows. This program also provides mentoring training for selected awardees. Application deadlines are typically in December, and announced through the OITE listservs. For more information on this program contact Erika Barr.

Summer Intern Journal Club Leader

There are approximately 40 journal clubs provided for the ~1000 summer interns at the NIH. These 6-week journal clubs are designed, planned and led by NIH grad students, postdocs, and fellows. Typically the call for new journal clubs comes in the Spring of each year. Leading one of these journal clubs is an excellent way to gain valuable teaching and mentoring experience while helping helping young scientists to learn how to extract and understand the critical information in a scientific manuscript and to communicate that material in a meaningful way to others. Watch the Tips for Mentoring a Summer Intern and Leading a Journal Club for valuable advice.

FAES Graduate School

The Foundation for the Advancement of Education in the Sciences (FAES) Graduate School offeres nearly 200 courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Many are taught by graduate students and postdoctoral or clinical fellows. For more information about teaching opportunities contact the Dean of the FAES Graduate School, Connie Noguchi.

Outside the NIH

Community College and 4-year College/University Opportunities

Many local community colleges and universities welcome NIH trainees to teach one lecture on up to full courses. These opportunities are commonly called "adjunct positions". Most adjunct positions are found through institution websites, the OITE Job Board, or by you directly connecting with faculty at your targeted institution. Fellows who have taken the 9-week STS course or the FAES teaching bootcamp have had better success in securing adjunct faculty postions. 

Some local institutions where previous IRP fellows have been adjuncts include:

There are many 4-year colleges and universities in the MD, VA, DC area. A quick internet search showed over 30 institutions in the area. Researching the schools that fit your teaching needs can help you to better focus your teaching opportunities search.

K-12 Opportunities

Big Learning

This before and after school program is designed to develop skills children need to thrive and become leaders of tomorrow. The program provides high quality and affordable educational enrichment programs for children in Pre-K through 8th grade and is based in Montgomery County. For more information go to Big Learning.

Schools Without Walls

The School Without Walls program is a small public magnet high school in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington D.C. that offers an alternative to conventional programs using the city as a classroom. For more information go to Schools Without Walls.

Science Fair Judging and Similar Opportunities

Local K-12 institutions are continually looking for volunteers to help with activities such as Science Fair judging. Notices of these opportunities frequently appear on many NIH listservs, both at the IC level and for the broader NIH community. One such list serve is Fellow-L. To subscribe to Fellow-L or any other NIH supported list serve, got to, click on the Browse button to locate the list serve you are interested in and then subscribe.