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The mission of OITE Career Services is to meet the career development needs of trainees across all Institutes and Centers at the NIH.


Individual career counseling/advising appointments

Trainees have access to individual appointments to discuss:

  • Self-assessment
  • Career exploration
  • Academic/industry career options
  • Non-academic/non-industry career options
  • Interview preparation
  • Resumes, CVs, and cover letters
  • Job search process, negotiation
  • Graduate/professional school advising
  • Leadership skills
  • Professional development
  • Adapting to US culture
  • English language training
  • Communication skills
  • Managing mentor/trainee relationships
  • Work/life balance

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you schedule an appointment for advising, counseling or a mock interview, you should be prepared to honor that commitment.  If you fail to cancel the appointment several hours in advance, that time cannot be given to another fellow.

Limitations on Pre-professional Advising for Applicants to Graduate and Professional School

The OITE is committed to assisting postbacs and summer interns with the application process for graduate and professional (medical, dental, pharmacy, etc.) school.  However, given the large number of trainees interested in this service and the need for application materials to reflect the applicant's interests and skills, we want to clarify the extent and nature of the services we can provide.

  • The Office of Career Services will review one final draft of a personal statement for graduate or professional school.  The Staff will not review secondary application essays or review a statement more than once.  An applicant may request a review from only one staff member. 
  • Counselors will review the content of personal statements, including the structure and organization of the essay and whether the message intended by the applicant is being effectively communicated. The service does not include correction of grammar, misspelling, and punctuation errors.  We will refer trainees to grammar and punctuation resources, many of which are now available on the OITE Web site at      
  • Staff members in the Office of Career Services will assist applicants with preparation for interviews. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as extreme anxiety, applicants will be eligible for only one mock interview or discussion of the interview process.
  • Overall, the staff of the Career Services Center will meet with applicants a maximum of twice during the pre-application season. The two-appointment limit will apply to application review, interview preparation, and pre-med advising . Trainees may schedule additional visits should they need assistance with other career planning issues.

NOTE: prior to keeping appointments, trainees  are expected to have attended the relevant pre-med or graduate school  workshops or viewed them on the OITE Web site.)

What to expect when you see a career counselor

Formal assessments

The following two instruments are available for free to all trainees. Eligible trainees must first meet with a career counselor before the assessment is administered. To schedule an appointment, visit Appointments.

  • The Strong Interest Inventory identifies career interests.  Eligible trainees must make an appointment to meet with a career counselor prior to completing the assessment.
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) analyzes personality type.  If you are interested in completing the MBTI, please register for an OITE MBTI workshop. Registering will enable you to complete the assessment.  At the workshop you will receive the results and learn how to interpret and use them.  Should you want additional information after the workshop, you can make an appointment with a career counselor.

Mock interviews

Trainees can make an appointment with the Career Services Center to schedule a mock interview. 

OITE has had a great deal of success with group mock interviews for postbacs.  Trainees are grouped by their educational goals, e.g., medical school vs. graduate school, psychology vs. bioinformatics.  Watch for this opportunity, which will allow you both to practice and to learn from the skills of others.

Workshops and seminars

OITE hosts a wide variety of workshops on career-related topics. You should look both at the Calendar of Events, which will tell you what's coming up and Prior events for programming that might meet your needs.

Career services library

The main circulating library is located on the 2nd floor, Building 2, Bethesda campus.  Career Services Libraries are also located in Baltimore in the Biomedical Research Center, Room 04B409B and in Frederick in the Science Library in Building 549.

Career Services Staff

Lori Conlan, PhD Director, Career Services Center Dr. Conlan is also Director, Office of Postdoctoral Services, so her particular focus is that group.
Julie Gold, MA, MSW Leadership & Professional Development Coach specializes in difficult transitions and relationship issues
William Higgins, PhD Pre-professional Advisor an expert on getting to college, graduate school and professional school and succeeding there
Anne Kirchgessner, LCPC, NCC Career Counselor expert in all aspects of career services
Denise Saunders, PhD Career Counselor expert in all aspects of career services; located in RTP, NC

Hours and Locations

OITE Career Services is housed on the second floor of Building 2 on the Bethesda campus. Most career counselors and advisors are available between the core hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.  However, some may begin work earlier or remain at work later, so appointments may be available outside these times.

Career Services staff members visit Baltimore and Frederick on a regular basis.  Denise Saunders provides career assistance to trainees at NIEHS.  If you are at another location, counselors/advisors will come to you or we will arrange phone appointments.