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Office of Education

Brenda Hanning, Director, Office of Education Yvette Pittman, Associate Director, Office of Education
  • Brenda Hanning, Director, Office of Education
  • Yvette R. Pittman, PhD, Associate Director

The Office of Education delivers workshops, programs, and individualized opportunities to a population averaging 320 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, 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 over 80 people to address scientific developments and careers. The program is developed and run by a fellow/student steering committee.

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; support of accreditation; contributions to mentoring, evaluation, and career guidance; and creation of new training initiatives. Additional areas of involvement include an increased focus on career development programming, networking among fellows and alumni, grantsmanship, and the enhancement of fellows’ competitiveness for awards, as well as support of new tenure-track investigators.

Notable accomplishments of the past year

At the end of April this year, Yvette Pittman (formerly a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Thomas Dever) joined the office in a new position as Associate Director, bringing much needed support to the office for all programming and to meet needs of individual trainees at all levels. In spring 2013, the Division of Intramural Research gave its sixth Mentor of the Year awards to investigator Mary Dasso and postdoctoral fellow Schuyler van Engelenburg. FARE 2014 (Fellows Award for Research Excellence) awards went to an impressive 26 applicants. The NICHD Scholars Developing Talent program, established in 2011, added one new member, MD/PhD student Dezmond Taylor-Douglas, who joins Ashleigh Bouchelion, also and MD/PhD student; departing scholar Carla Lopez was admitted to Yale University School of Medicine. Key program activities included the annual grantsmanship workshop, the second year of a teaching workshop series associated with the University of Maryland, and public speaking workshops including one on maximizing visibility on Linked In. Our annual "Becoming an Effective Scientist" course, organized and taught by fellows for postbaccalaureate trainees, entered its eighth year. The annual fellows retreat took place at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and featured keynote speakers Shirley Tilghman, President of Princeton University, and the science journalist and ethicist John Bohannon. The Fellows Intramural Grant Supplement (FIGS) recognizes grant applicants and awardees with stipend increases; the first competitive Fellows Recruitment Incentive Award was given to Michael Cashel, who recruited Tamara James as a postdoctoral fellow. The NICHD Connection, a monthly newsletter run and written by fellows, continues to highlight programs and fellows' scientific successes.

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