’Tis the season for traditions and familiar customs. At NCI Frederick—and within the federal government at large—you’ll find one that isn’t mixed in with decorations but more likely nestled somewhere in your email inbox. This tradition is the Combined Federal Campaign, the government’s official nonprofit charity initiative, held from September to January every year.
Mark Twain once said that the secret to getting ahead is getting started. A group of Frederick High School (FHS) students clearly took that advice to heart when they jumped at the chance to learn more about careers in science, including the Werner H. Kirsten Student Internship Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory (FNL).
To say Cathy Cullen’s “lab” in Building 427 is nontraditional would be a bit of an understatement. Instead of pipettes, there are pipe cleaners. The chemical reactants are baking soda and lemon juice. And the “animal” is a blue plastic robotic mouse. Cullen’s operation is the epicenter of Education Outreach Services in the Office of Scientific Operations for NCI at Frederick. She is tasked with bringing extracurricular science to young people in Frederick County Public Schools and organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County and the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick.
Nearly two decades ago, NIH’s first female director formed a task force to evaluate the status of women scientists in the Intramural Research Program. The resulting report led to the creation of the Women Scientist Advisors, a group that counsels senior leaders in each institute and center on issues facing women in the sciences.
It’s half an hour to showtime in the spacious, sun-filled atrium. Glance upward and you can’t miss the painted five-foot-tall black paw print and the inscription “Panther Pride” along the open staircase’s tallest yellow wall. Clustered around the lobby, 20 presenters are steeling their nerves as best they can: pacing, fidgeting, rehearsing. Pressure to perform aside, it’s a decidedly casual event, evidenced by several shoelaces that need tying.
The Educational Outreach Program, known colloquially as the EOP, gives elementary and middle school students access to and experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields through engaging, hands-on activities such as science fairs and community events.
There’s an opportunity to inspire local children’s interest in science, enrich their education, and make them smile. It’s a chance to step outside of your lab or office and—maybe—your comfort zone to make a difference in a student’s life. It’s the Education Outreach Program (EOP), and there is room for you to volunteer.
This December, the Office of Scientific Operations (OSO) is hosting two Elementary Outreach Program open houses that will show NCI at Frederick staff how they can help educate local elementary-aged students about science. This is OSO’s first year holding such events for the Elementary Outreach Program.
You’re probably familiar with NCI at Frederick’s Werner H. Kirsten Student Intern Program, but did you know that the organization’s involvement in Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) goes much further?
Sporadic downpours drenched Frederick’s In The Street festival this year, but they failed to dampen the spirits of the thousands of people who attended, including the volunteers at the Frederick National Laboratory (FNL) tent. There, staff from FNL and NCI at Frederick enthusiastically chatted with passersby, even after the weather demanded some improvisation.