|T H E N I H C A T A L Y S T||M A Y J U N E 2001|
They might not look like human microscopes, but this group of NIHers and friends spent more than 126 hours over the course of 14 months making microbes visible.
The group is made up of volunteers for the Washington-area chapter of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). On March 22, the group celebrated the completion of the taping of its first entire book, now known to visually impaired readers as Shelf #GC180, Brock Biology of Microorganisms.
Volunteers read at a Building 31 recording booth loaned by Calvin Jackson of the NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison. Even as the group was recording the Brock text, it was being borrowed by six readers across the country.
Additional students had signed up for copies of the recordings as soon as the set of 32 tapescovering more than 900 pages of text, figures, and appendiceswas complete.
Because there is a large backlog of biomedical texts sought by visually impaired students, RFB&D is hoping to establish its own recording studio at NIH with extended hours, more volunteers, and digital recording equipment. RFB&D is currently recruiting volunteers to read computer manuals, statistics texts, and other technical materials at its main recording studio in Washington, D.C. (5225 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., across the street from the Friendship Heights Metro stop on the red line).
When expanded hours are available on the NIH campus, the group will recruit more biomedical readers to record here. For information, call Chris Smith at RFB&D at 202-244-8990
On Recruiting Fellows
Here are few comments on Michael Gottesmans article on recruiting fellows to NIH (The NIH Catalyst, MarchApril 2001) on the difficulty of evaluating potential visiting fellows before they come here.
I am sure everybody agrees that this is very difficult, because letters of recommendation that future sponsors receive often largely exaggerate candidates competence and obfuscate their true motivation.
It happens only rarely that a candidate makes it as easy for a future sponsor to decide to hire or not as a recent applicant did for me. He sent me his CV as an e-mail attachment, and in the short cover letter [included] a sentence to the effect that the most important thing for him was that he be admitted to the U.S. based on the H1b visa.
In my response, I let him know that I am looking for associates whose most important reason to come to the NIH is to learn a lot and do some good work. I also let him know that I did not bother to open the attachment.
Neither can one disagree with [Gottesmans] recommendation "that potential fellows be interviewed whenever possible, preferably in person in their home country or by bringing them to NIH for a visit, before committing a postdoc position at NIH." This, of course, would always be possible were the moneys to fund such trips available. Are they?
Paul Kovac, NIDDK
With respect to funding the interviewing of potential candidates, this is a decision that needs to be made as part of the recruitment process in each lab and in each intramural program.
Frequently, visiting fellows can be interviewed during scientific meetings or other scientific trips abroad, or fellows may be travelling to the United States and can be interviewed during their visits here.
Michael Gottesman, DDIR
On Priorities of a New NIH Director
To improve the selection of lab directors so that they are not only very good scientists but properly trained at managing and leading people (with respect to their employees).
Return to Table of Contents