The Training Page
FROM THE FELLOWS COMMITTEE
LGBT Fellows and Friends
January marked not only the beginning of a new year, but also the birth of a new group: NIH LGBT Fellows and Friends.
LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The organizers Julien Senac (NHGRI) and Christiane Kuschal (NCI) say this new group “aims to make LGBT [people] at NIH more visible by giving seminars on issues of interest to LGBT individuals and by having social and networking events.” In addition, they point out that the group is open to anyone, and every event is all-inclusive, whether or not individuals identify as LGBT.
The group certainly is in line with the value NIH places on diversity. The first meeting took the form of a seminar and discussion in which the NIH LGBT Research Coordinating Committee co-chairs, Elizabeth Wehr (NICHD) and Meredith D. Temple-O’Connor (OD), presented an overview of the Institute of Medicine report on LGBT health.
Personally, I didn’t even know there was any NIH LGBT research that would require a committee to coordinate it, so I learned something new right away. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that not only was there a decent turnout for the meeting, but that there were also all kinds of people there—people of various ages, ethnicities, and sexes, and from all walks of NIH life.
To find out about upcoming seminars, professional development activities, networking opportunities, and other LGBT events, join the NIH LGBT Fellows and Friends LISTSERV at http://list.nih.gov/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A0=NIH-LGBT-FF.
FROM THE OFFICE OF INTRAMURAL TRAINING AND EDUCATION
New Spoken English Course for Non-native Speakers
“He asked me a question after my talk. I knew the answer, but I just couldn’t explain it.”
“I am so embarrassed in my lab. I have a lot of data, but no one knows I’m doing anything because I don’t feel comfortable talking about it.”
Understanding that some international trainees face these and other English-language challenges, OITE has for several years been offering programs geared toward helping non-native English-speaking scientists to feel more comfortable at work and in their social circles. Recently, OITE began exploring even better ways to help non-native speakers perfect their English.
In the summer of 2010, OITE connected with Mike Long, a professor of second-language acquisition at the University of Maryland (College Park, Md.). His team performed a needs analysis that identified trainees’ most serious language difficulties: The greatest challenges arise during nonscripted scientific discussions, such as after presentations and during lab meetings.
In the fall of 2011, OITE piloted a new series of English classes designed to help international students improve their oral and listening fluency, particularly in areas related to their research. According to the program evaluations, both from those who completed the classes and those who dropped out, many students learned a great deal and became more proficient in English. Those who did not complete the class cited lack of time and scheduling challenges as the main problems.
To address the time issue, OITE will pilot a shorter, two-day course in March 2012. The course aims to increase trainees’ comfort with English and help them understand how to continue practicing the language. In addition, within the next few months, OITE plans to dedicate a section of its Web site to English language learning. The site will feature helpful resources including “TalkShare,” a LISTSERV aimed at helping NIH community members find language partners to practice with. To sign up for the TalkShare LISTSERV, go to https://list.nih.gov/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A0=oite-talkshare.
Moving to a foreign country to live and work, especially when one doesn’t feel comfortable with the language, can be scary. OITE staff hopes that its resources will help trainees become more confident and successful in their labs and beyond. For more information and to sign up for a course, visit the OITE Web site at https://www.training.nih.gov. For questions, contact Julie Gold at email@example.com.
This page was last updated on Monday, May 2, 2022