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Office of Education

Brenda Hanning, Director, Office of Education
  • Brenda Hanning, Director, Office of Education

Goals and Objectives

The intramural Office of Education was established in September 2004 to support the training needs of intramural scientists, fellows, and students at all levels. This is achieved through recruitment and development of academic support programs; maintenance of accreditation; contributions to mentoring, evaluation, and career guidance; and creation of new training initiatives. Expanded areas of involvement include international exchanges for the training of graduate students, networking among fellows and alumni, grantsmanship, and the enhancement of fellows' competitiveness for awards, as well as support of new tenure-track investigators.


The Office of Education delivers workshops, programs, and individualized opportunities to a population averaging 300 trainees, including postdoctoral, visiting, and research fellows; clinical fellows and medical students; graduate students; and postbaccalaureate and technical fellows. Typical activities include public speaking workshops, job interviewing, writing and editorial services, grantsmanship and study section observerships, career presentations and counseling, teaching opportunities through the NICHD "Becoming an Effective Scientist" course for postbaccalaureate fellows, teaching-skills workshops, and management programs. Each spring, a retreat for fellows and graduate students, which includes presentations by fellows and a poster presentation by each attendee, is held for about 80 people to address scientific developments and careers. The program is developed and run by a fellow/student steering committee.

Notable accomplishments of the past year: In May 2012, the Division of Intramural Research gave its fifth Mentor of the Year awards to investigator Karl Pfeifer and postdoctoral fellow Prabuddha Sengupta. FARE 2013 (Fellows Award for Research Excellence) awards went to 15 applicants. The NICHD Scholars Developing Talent program, established in 2011, added one new member, MD/PhD student Ashleigh Bouchelion; Carla Lopez continued in her second year, and Chinedu Anyaeji joined the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Key program activities included the annual grantsmanship workshop, a new teaching workshop series associated with the University of Maryland, public speaking workshops addressing job interviewing and giving one-hour talks and "elevator pitches." Our annual "Becoming an Effective Scientist" course, organized and taught by fellows for postbaccalaureate trainees, entered its seventh year. The annual fellows retreat took place at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in DC. A new program, the Fellows Intramural Grant Supplement (FIGS), recognizes grant applicants and awardees with stipend increases; the competitive Fellows Recruitment Incentive Award gives support to investigators who recruit postdoctoral fellows to NICHD from backgrounds underrepresented in science. The NICHD Connection, a monthly newsletter run and written by fellows, continues its focus on mentoring, career, and academic programs. In the Office of the Scientific Director, the Poster of the Month board displays research from each intramural program on a rotating basis.

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