On Nov. 17, students from high school through graduate age, attended the National Interageny Confederation for Biological Research Exploring Science in a Scientific Environment hosted by the NICBR Education and Outreach Working group. The symposium was focused on students interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with emphasis on medical, biological research and/or bio-defense.

The focus of this NICBR conference was to highlight different career paths available to the students at the various agencies. The conference presented an overview of research being performed on Fort Detrick and NCI-Frederick campuses by a variety of NICBR partners.

The NICBR is a partnership of government agencies with laboratories within the Fort Detrick and NCI-Frederick campuses, including the U.S. Army, the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Navy, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Speakers at this conference included representatives from NIH-National Cancer Institute - Frederick, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, the Naval Medical Research Center-Biological Defense Research Direcorate, the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Integrated Research Facility, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service-Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.

Each speaker gave a presentation about what skills and knowledge they would be looking for as an employer. Though many of the skills overlapped, students were able to see the importance of being a well-rounded, knowledgeable student. Some of the topics the organizations emphasized to participants were microbiology, bioinformatics, biochemistry, genetics, immunology, veterinary medicine, diagnostic development and pathology.

"These are all marketable skills that multiple organizations look for in future generations of employees," Diana Sherman, project manager of the event, said.

The consequences of engaging in unlawful activities and the impact on seeking employment within the government were also discussed during the event.

Prior to lunch, students were given the opportunity to participate in a career development panel, getting their questions answered. The event closed with the option for student to tour one of the agency laboratories including USAMRIID, the USDA-ARS Plant Biocontainment Facility or NCI-Frederick. Students from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC attended the symposium, highlighting the importance of STEM events such as this one.