Coming to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

>> How did you first find out about NIH?

>> It's just too big to not know about it.

>> I remember that very keenly

that when the conversations would come,

oh someone from NIH is coming and oh, it was the entity,

the body, the people that you wanted to be sure you impressed.

>> Very good question, like no matter

where in this world you are working--

>> Exactly.

>> -- the first thing is in your mind

that I wish I could work at NIH.

>> What was your first day at NIH like?

Do you still remember?

>> Yeah. Well, I remember being surprised.

>> You know, on Sunday night when you have to go

to work on Monday morning?

I don't get that bad feeling

when I started working here.

I was looking forward to coming in.

>> I remember walking and seeing Building 1 and I was looking

at it, I said, I have to take a selfie [laughter],

and send it to everybody.

I'm here. I'm in NIH.

>> Out of the blue, you are in a new place, you know,

everyone is very nice you, but you really don't know anything

about how the place works.

>> Yes.

>> Ranging from where I can get some food

to how can I get this training done,

because the hyperlink is not working.

>> OK. Let's see what we have here now.

How did you learn your way around at NIH

when you first started?

>> I walked around the campus just amazed

at all the buildings.

And I said, this is a small town.

>> When I first came to NIH, it was in 1999 so it's--

the Clinical Center was half as big as it is now.

>> The numbers of the buildings is definitely not in an easy

or any kind of logic order.

>> So I just think I'm still learning.

I've been here for 12, 13 years

and I'm still learning the campus.

>> Oh my gosh, I walk into the north lobby

and this is a magnificent place,

and I see all these people in their white coats.

>> Yeah, it's huge.

>> And it was so overwhelming and I looked so lost.

My now boss came looking for me in the lobby, telling me, yeah,

you look dazed or something, you looked lost out there.

You were looking at every place.

>> OK. What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done

for you at NIH?

>> Oh my gosh.

>> Yeah, I was very, very blessed to have people around me

that I can go and rely on.

>> The mentoring I received has been just extraordinary.

And it goes so far beyond just somebody offering me advice

and guidance on how to do my job well.

It extends so far beyond that and it was

like a real investment in me as a person.

>> Oh, this is a good one.

>> What advice would you give someone who's just starting

to work at NIH?

>> One of the most important things is to ask questions,

to connect with other people.

>> No matter what you are working on, there's probably a,

you know, a world expert somewhere on this campus.

>> Don't be afraid of asking questions.

>> All you have to do is just reach out

and because people don't have to teach, they don't have

to write a grants, people are amazingly friendly

and are available with respect to, you know,

offering their time, their thoughts, their discussion.

>> I think what is so special about the NIH and especially

about this campus here is it's a very, very big community.

>> Take advantage of the excitement

of this research environment.

>> I think the other really important thing is

to find a mentor and not necessarily just one mentor

because I have many mentors and I go to different people

for different reasons.

So I think finding people that you trust that you can go

to for a safe place, if you have questions,

if your research isn't going the way that you want to,

if you need someone to encourage you.

>> I guess if you want to learn something,

if you want to collaborate with anyone or want to see something,

you have the opportunity to do that here.

>> There's so much on campus,

so much that's scientifically exciting that what I have

to advise them to do is focus because you can get distracted

by all the wonderful different kinds of work going on.

>> For some, a clinician who wants to practice science,

I can't think of a better place.

And that would be my advice for all those clinicians out there

who are looking at the NIH who want to do science,

it's a really unique place where you can do it.