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Apply now for NIA's Summer Training in Aging Research program

Michele Evans
Michele EVANS,
Senior Investigator (Clinical),
Office of the Scientific Director (OSD)

Each summer, NIA’s Intramural Research Program opens its lab doors to students for an 8- to 10-week intensive research experience. The Summer Training in Aging Research (STAR) Program is an opportunity for bright and motivated students to move beyond replicating standard protocols in school labs. It’s much more than just pouring gels and inputting data; it’s an unparalleled experience that can change or solidify your career trajectory. I invite you to join us.

The aging research experience

As a summer intern, you’ll work with intramural investigators and postdoctoral fellows to answer original research questions. You will learn the scientific method and cutting-edge experimental techniques to help unravel the biology of aging. Some of you may even have the chance to follow some of your predecessors, in co-authoring a journal article. Throughout the summer, you will attend scientific seminars on age-related research topics and learn how to develop poster presentations of scientific results. A special bonus is career mentorship from NIA scientists and staff, including help with preparation of professional and graduate school applications.

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Dr. Michele Evans and NIA summer program alumnus Dr. Demetrio Sierra (2003 and 2004). Dr. Sierra is an assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine; he returned to NIA as the 2015 Summer Program Poster Day speaker.

The program culminates in the Summer Program Poster Day. Highlights include a seminar in the morning by a distinguished NIA summer program alumnus. You’ll have lunch with the speaker and a chance to discuss the presentation, science in general, and your potential career path. In the afternoon, you demonstrate your newfound expertise in a poster session attended by peers and NIA staff. Winning posters receive the Barbara A. Hughes Award of Excellence. The Summer Program Poster Day highlights your talents and accomplishments during your time with us. It also shows our senior scientists and staff how valuable their mentoring investment is to the future of the interns in the program.

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.

We have hosted students in high school, college, medical school, and graduate programs. Some undergraduates are premed, others are interested in working in the laboratory, many are undecided. Not everyone has a specific interest in aging, but all applicants display enthusiasm and an open mind to learning more about the field.

The number of students each year varies, depending on the quantity and quality of applications, as well as the size of our budget. Last summer, 42 students participated. We estimate that NIA has mentored more than 1,100 summer interns over the 23-year history of the program.

A new training program for special populations

In 2015, the training office within the Office of the NIA Scientific Director developed and implemented the Diversity in Aging Research Pipeline Program (DARPP). DARPP is a multi-entry pipeline program to develop underrepresented minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged students, and expose them to aging research. Participants are selected from those who apply to the NIH Summer Internship Program. Long-term support and follow-through are provided to students through the various levels of their education. We believe that this unique learning experience provides a vibrant platform for our next – and diverse -- generation of aging researchers.

How to apply

We are now accepting applications. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2016 (11:30 p.m., Eastern time).

If you’re interested, you must apply online through the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) website. There you will find suggestions for creating a successful application (PDF, 120K) as well as a video on “Applying Successfully .” It is critical to read all of the information on this site before submitting your application.

If you express an interest in aging in your cover letter or select the NIA as your Institute of choice, your application will be directed here. After you’ve submitted your online application, you may contact NIA Intramural Recruitment Specialist Arlene Jackson so she can retrieve it from the NIH database and place it in the NIA applicant pool for consideration.

If you have questions not answered on the program and application site, please feel free to comment below. Good luck, and I hope to see you this summer!

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