Friday, October 14, 2011

Community College Day at NIH Extends STEM Students Keys to the Future

The National Institutes of Health held its third annual Community College Day Tuesday, Oct. 11 for students entering or interested in high-growth STEM careers where, according to Sharon Milgram, Ph.D., director of the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education, “the options are much bigger than we imagined.”

As part of the event, Baltimore City Community College fielded 25 students enrolled in its national cutting-edge Life Sciences Institute at the University of Maryland BioPark, where students become full-fledged members of the university community and gain opportunities to intern and work part time in some of the world’s leading biotechnology firms.

NIH seeks students interested in math and science who through the community college setting are taking practical approaches to their education — “global citizens,” according to Milgram, who are “adaptable, flexible and resilient.” Chief among NIH’s current offerings to community college students is its Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP), a prestigious 10-week opportunity to perform research or work with a Principal Investigator (PI) on a multiplicity of projects at any (or at least, many) of NIH’s 27 medical institutes and centers.

Despite the recession, opportunities to play a working role in the biotechnology revolution are seemingly limitless. Jobs are sprouting up in research and development, clinical trial management, and for those skilled in technology transfer, intellectual property law, regulatory affairs and policy, and the traditional fields of communication and marketing.

Much has been said about America needing to get back to “making things.” From drug development and the discovery of ways to slow such diseases as chronic myelogenous leukemia, to unraveling why certain young people lack enough free radicals to stop a fatal liver abnormality, biotechnology may be the way of the 21st century. Today, according to Milgram, “we need global citizens who can work on teams; those who are broadly trained and think they might have the communications skills to take on creative challenges. And we value diversity.”

If this sounds like you, visit or email Ms. Milgram to inquire about informational interviews for upcoming internship and career programs at