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Teaching a Discerning Dog New Tricks

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It was my pleasure to offer an opening hello remotely from my home to start the 13th annual NIH Career Symposium—An Online Event. Little did I know that among those tuning in live was an inquisitive canine named Augustus Diego Hunt, or just plain Gus for short. Though Gus likely shed his glasses later to investigate other sights and smells in his loving household, the busy afternoon symposium presented some of the many promising career choices that are now available to young scientists. The event was held on May 8, 2020 and sponsored by the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE). Credit: Jacqueline Newell-Hunt with a tail wag to Gus.

NIH Family Members Giving Back: Kafui Dzirasa

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Kafui Dzirasa at UMBC

Caption: Kafui Dzirasa (front center) with the current group of Meyerhoff Scholars at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Credit: Olubukola Abiona

Kafui Dzirasa keeps an open-door policy in his busy NIH-supported lab at Duke University, Durham, NC. If his trainees have a quick question or just need to discuss an upcoming experiment, they’re always welcome to pull up a chair. The donuts are on him.

But when trainees pop by his office and see he’s out for the day, they have a good idea of what it means. Dzirasa has most likely traveled up to his native Maryland to volunteer as a mentor for students in a college program that will be forever near and dear to him. It’s the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Since its launch in 1988, this groundbreaking program has served as a needed pipeline to help increase diversity in the sciences—with more than 1,000 alumni, including Dzirasa, and 270 current students of all races.