Howard Young Receives Mentoring Award from Women Scientists Advisors

By Chris Worthington, staff writer; contributed images
Howard Young with the Women Scientist Advisors

Howard Young, Ph.D., has received many awards during his tenure at NCI at Frederick—but the latest could be among the most meaningful.

At the recent NCI Principal Investigators Retreat, Young was given the 2019 Mentoring Award by the Women Scientists Advisors (WSA), a group that supports and promotes career development for women in science.

“The award is meant to recognize extraordinary mentoring efforts—not just for women, though the emphasis is on women and underrepresented minorities in science,” said Mary Kearney, Ph.D., who recently joined the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) chapter of WSA.

Kearney presented the award to Young at a short ceremony and related a few of his numerous contributions to the NCI at Frederick community—including the Spring Research Festival and associated poster awards, the new employee mini bios, and the Fellows & Young Investigators Seminar Series.

Kearney shared the following statement from Jie Yin, Ph.D., one of Young’s fellows:

“Dr. Young has been a scientist and mentor at NCI at Frederick for over 30 years, and has mentored countless fellows including postdocs, postbacs, and student interns. In every instance, what springs to mind most readily is the way that Dr. Young mentors: He is open. His door is always open; his mind is always open to new ideas, experiments, or discussion; he openly shares data, resources, and credit with his fellows, colleagues, and collaborators. And he provides an exemplary work environment for women scientists.”

For his part, Young was tremendously honored to receive the award.

“I have always felt that mentoring is a core responsibility for all NIH principal investigators,” he said. “My ultimate goal for any trainee is to have them say, at the end of their tenure in the lab, that the time spent there was worth it. I can’t say that I’ve been 100% successful, but that is my goal.”

Young added that mentoring should benefit the whole community, not just the mentor’s lab, which he has demonstrated repeatedly throughout his career.

His contributions include working with NCI at Frederick administrators to initiate the Werner H. Kirsten Student Intern Program in 1989 and serving as a scientific advisor for the program’s first 13 years; founding the Summer Student Seminar Series in 1997; initiating and co-organizing the Frederick Summer Student Poster Day in 2005; and helping the library with scientific input and serving as a judge for the Summer Student Jeopardy! Tournament since 2007.

Young shared the 2019 WSA Mentoring Award with Patricia Steeg, Ph.D., who represented the Bethesda location of the Center for Cancer Research. A third award was given to Laufey Amundadottir, Ph.D., a scientist in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.