Celebrating 25 Years of Student Mentoring

By Marsha Nelson-Duncan, Contributing Writer
WHK 25 anniversary logo

Most employees of NCI at Frederick have heard of the Werner H. Kirsten Student Intern Program (WHK SIP). The reason is simple—it has been wildly successful. And on Friday, April 22, the program will celebrate 25 years of mentoring and learning at the WHK SIP 25th Anniversary Symposium and Awards Ceremony.

During the morning session, several former interns will talk about the impact that the WHK program has had on their lives. The afternoon session will begin with a panel of current and former mentors who will answer questions from students interested in the program and staff members interested in becoming mentors. Other afternoon speakers include current and former mentors, as well as Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent, Theresa Alban, Ph.D. The event will conclude with a presentation of awards and, of course, cake, as you cannot have a celebration without it. 

The WHK SIP began well over two decades ago, when several scientists and staff members had the innovative idea to give high school students wet lab experience. Recently, the program has expanded to include dry lab positions in areas such as information technology, bioinformatics, and communications.

The program’s inaugural year drew six students and mentors. Since then, more than 1,000 students have had the opportunity to work with some of the nation’s leading scientists in one of the nation’s top research facilities. The student interns work during the summer before their senior year of high school, as well as for a few hours each day during the school year, giving them a full year of either wet lab or dry lab experience before continuing on to the next phase of their education.

In appreciation of the WHK SIP’s positive impact, please join us from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 22 in the Building 549 auditorium to celebrate the people who have made this program what it is today.