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Summer Internship Program Community and History

You will have the opportunity to meet some of the most influential names in science, so take advantage of it!
— Erin Kirkby, NIA Summer Intern, 2009

Take a Look Inside the Summer Program

View photos from past NIA Summer Internship Programs on our Flickr page. Connect with the NIA IRP Summer Internship Program on Facebook. 

Take advantage of the plethora of knowledge at NIA and not just with your mentor, but with the organizers and leaders of the program. They are a great resource for not only helping you with your career choices, but also with dealing with life.
— Ariel Harrison, NIA Summer Intern, 2012

History of the NIA Summer Program and Summer Student Poster Day

See also "NIA’s Summer Student Poster Day Celebrates 25 Years" (September 8, 2017)

Since the inception of a Summer Student Poster Day in 1992, more than 1,200 students from universities and colleges across the country have presented results of their summer research projects on the NIA Poster Day. In 1992, 5 students created posters and invited staff to view them. We acknowledge 1993 as the first year of a structured, formal poster day celebration. This year, there are 46 students presenting.

Over the past 11 years, 43 students have been awarded the Barbara A. Hughes Award of Excellence for outstanding poster presentations. This award is named in honor of Barbara A. Hughes, Ph.D., the former director of the NIA Office of Minority Recruitment and Human Relations, who organized our first poster sessions in 1992 with just 5 students. Ms. Arlene Jackson began working with Dr. Hughes in 1990 and was integral in helping build the program. The competition was developed to serve as a bonding experience amongst students, encourage healthy competition, involve the intramural scientific staff in evaluation of the summer research product, and continue to enhance the NIA Summer Program.

Dr. Hughes received a B.S. in Biology from Bennett College, in Greensboro, NC and a Ph.D. in Human Services from Walden University. Dr. Hughes began working with the National Institute on Aging in 1975 with Dr. Joseph Pitha as a Research Biochemist in the Macromolecular Chemistry section of the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology. She served as Personnel Management Specialist in the NIA Intramural Research Program, Personnel officer form 1985 through 1990. She was appointed Director of the NIA Office of Minority Recruitment and Human Relations in 1990, where she served as an EEO Specialist until her retirement in 1997. From 2000 until 2013, Dr. Hughes worked as the Program Manager for the Healthy Families Program, a Baltimore City Success by 6 Partnership Initiative.

Dr. Michele K. Evans joined the NIA IRP in 1991 and became the Deputy Scientific Director and Training Director in 1997. Under Dr. Evans, the IRP summer program has continued to grow in its scope, size and mission. The program boasts students from across the country – from as far Northwest as Alaska and as far Southeast as Puerto Rico. Our students come to us from small, liberal arts colleges to massive state universities. We host students who have never left their home state and those who consider themselves world travelers. Our alumni include students from the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) for college students with disabilities, as well as U.S. Military Veterans. The summer program team works hard to ensure that students from diverse populations and special concerns, such as those whose pathways in science was blocked by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, are given the opportunity to experience our program.

Winners of the Barbara A. Hughes Award of Excellence for Poster Presentations


Winners of the 2017 Poster awards
2017 Barbara A. Hughes Award winners with Dr. Hughes and Dr. K. Torian Easterling (center)

Ifeoma J. Azinge (Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics) Junior, University of Maryland Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD
STIM1, but not STIM2, is the calcium sensor critical for sweat secretion

Zachary Cook (Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology) Senior, University of Rochester - Rochester, NY
Assessment of CDK2-mediated Phosphorylation on WRN Recruitment to Double Strand DNA Breaks

Raul Y. Ramos Sanchez (Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology) Sophomore, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus - San Juan, PR
SIRT3 regulates mitochondrial DNA repair by LIG3 deacetylation

Tara N. Srinivas (Translation Gerontology Branch) Sophomore, Brown University - Providence, RI
Detection of Autophagy in Human CD4+ T Cell

Henry Zhang (Laboratory of Neurogenetics) Junior, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology - Alexandria, VA
Mapping the Projection of ALDH1A1-Positive Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurons in Mouse Dorsal Striatum


Brenda Y. Miao (Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science) Freshman, Dartmouth College - Hanover, NH.
Higher Circulating SRAGE Significantly Reduces LPS-induced Intravascular NETosis in the Murine Lung.

Shannon Y. Fang (Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology) High School Junior, Pembroke Hill High School - Kansas City, MO.
Evaluating Clonal Expansion of Naive and Memory CD4 and CD8 T Cells in Healthy Humans.

Steven Isett (Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology), Freshman, Tufts University - Medford, MA.
Compromised Telomere Maintenance Induces Mitochondrial Dysfunctions and Mitochondrial Aging.

Amber Lloyd (Translational Gerontology Branch), Junior, University of Missouri Kansas City - Kansas City, MO.
Assessment of Frailty and Body Composition: Year One Results from the SLAM Study.


Collin D. Wang (Laboratory of Neurosciences) Senior, University of California Los Angeles - Los Angeles, CA.
Intermittent 2 Deoxyglucose Administration Rescues Motor Function Deficits in a Parkinson's Disease Animal Model.

Krista Opsahl-Ong (Laboratory of Genetics) Freshman, Duke University - Durham, NC.
Estimating mitochondrial DNA copy number from whole genome sequencing data .

Ashley Wirth (Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science), Sophomore, Williams College - Williamstown, MA.
Dawn of the Dead: Understanding the Excitation of Dormant Pacemaker Cells in Response to Environmental Stimuli

Bilguunzaya Battogtokh (Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science), Sophomore, Yorktown High School - Arlington, Va.
Using Machine Learning on Fundus Images to Diagnose Age Related Macular Degeneration


Eric Sun (Laboratory of Genetics) Sophomore, Pueblo West High School - Pueblo West, CO.
Measuring Aging Rates in the SardiNIA Population Using Pattern Recognition.

Rajiv Deshpande (Laboratory of Clinical Investigation) Freshman, Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD.
Changes in Skeletal Muscle Composition with Aging and Their Relationship with Mobility.

Abraham D. Killanin (Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences), Junior, Yale University - New Haven, CT.
Is Personality Associated with Cognitive Change Across the Life Span?

Annie Yang (Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science), Freshman, Dartmouth College - Hanover, NH.
Inflamed with RAGE: Decoding AGE Signal Generated NFkß RelA/p65 Barcode that Directs Collagen 1 Expression.


Haleigh Larson (Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology), Junior, Fargo South High School - Fargo, ND.
Is Age Really But a Number? A Look into the Degenerative Function of B­ Cells with Age.

Jacqueline Nguyen (Translational Gerontology Branch), Sophomore, University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley, CA .
Therapeutic Potential of DPP-4 Inhibitors in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease Induced by 6-Hydroxydopamine.

Kaivalya Deshpande (Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience, Senior, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI.
Dissociating Perceptual Decision from Motor Response using a Delayed Response Task in Mice.

Emily Zagorski (Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology), Senior, Drexel College of Medicine - ­Philadelphia, PA.
Inventing Novel Fluorescent Compounds which Induce Mitochondrial DNA Cross Links.

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