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Summer training in aging research—now accepting applications

Arlene Jackson
Intramural Recruitment Specialist,
Office of the Scientific Director (OSD)

Do you know a high school, college, graduate or medical/dental student interested in biomedical research? Perhaps s/he is looking for an internship to help inform her/his career path. How about recommending the student come work for a summer at the National Institute on Aging?

Each summer, NIA’s Intramural Research Program opens its lab doors for an 8 to 10-week intensive research experience. The Summer Training in Aging Research Program is an opportunity for bright and motivated students to move beyond replicating standard protocols in school labs. It’s also more than just pouring gels and inputting data…

The aging research experience

Summer interns live life as a scientist. They work alongside intramural investigators and postdoctoral fellows to answer original research questions. NIA encourages the intramural scientists to work with interns so that they develop their own research questions. Many interns really develop a sense of ownership of (and pride in!) the research that they accomplish.

Participants receive career mentorship from an NIA senior scientist. Some interns may even have the chance to co-author a journal article, as has happened these past several summers.

The program culminates with a day-long poster session. This is where participants start to emerge as professional scientists. Interns present their research to NIA scientific leadership and their peers. It’s a chance for them to demonstrate their newfound expertise. Posters are judged and winners receive the Barbara A. Hughes Award of Excellence.

Poster day also features a keynote speaker, typically a leading scientist from outside of NIH. The speaker talks about his/her path to research and shares sage advice based on personal lessons learned.

Who can participate and how many…

NIA’s program—part of the broader NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research—attracts a diverse group of applicants.

NIA has hosted students in high school and college, as well as medical school and graduate programs. Some undergraduates are premed, others primarily interested in working at the bench. Many students have not yet decided.

And not all have a specific interest in aging. Yet, they all display enthusiasm and an open mind to learning more about the field.

The number of students each year varies based on quantity and quality of applications. Forty-three students participated last summer. Program organizers estimate that NIA has mentored more than 1,000 summer interns over the 22 year history.

How to apply

The NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research is now accepting applications. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2015 (11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).

Interested students should apply online through the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education website. There, you will find suggestions for creating a successful application.

Applicants who express an interest in aging in their cover letter or select the NIA as their institute of choice will be directed to the NIA.

After an application is submitted online, notify me by email, so I can retrieve it from the NIH database and place it in the NIA applicant pool for consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!

If you have internship questions of broad interest, please get in touch with me by commenting below. For questions about your specific application or situation, please email me.