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James Richards – US Marine Corps
Budget Analyst, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
How did you become an NIH employee?
The reason that I made the decision to separate from the military was because I wanted to become a teacher. After spending some time teaching in a DOD school overseas it was time for me to transition back to the United States. I spent a lot of time looking for teaching positions but because I was relocating in the middle of a school year jobs were scarce. I decided to take advantage of my Veteran’s preference and apply to jobs in the federal government. After accepting a position at the NIH as an administrative technician I fell in love with the organization and have been here ever since.
What inspired you to want to work at NIH?
The mission of NIH is what inspired me. As an administrator it motivates me every day to know that I am potentially supporting science that may find cures and treatments for many diseases and disorders.
Was it difficult transitioning from the military into NIH?
It was not difficult, but it was definitely a change in culture. NIH’s decision making process is very committee driven and based off of consensus. This structure makes it a fantastic place for even the lowest level employee to have a say and make a difference. While the NIH decision making process is one that supports and grows its employees it can be a large paradigm shift for individuals coming from a military background.
What is your role at NIH?
I am currently working at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as a Budget Analyst. In this position I am responsible for the Division of Intramural Research and Research Management Support budgets. Prior to becoming a Budget Analyst, was a Management Intern. The NIH Management Intern Program was established in 1957. The Program has graduated over 400 interns since its inception, and the NIH currently has more than 50 former interns on staff. The Program offers highly motivated NIH employees an opportunity to explore different administrative fields, gain invaluable insight into the NIH, and change careers.
How do you think other veterans can benefit from joining NIH?
NIH offers a very collaborative and diverse work environment. Because the organization is so large, and there are 27 different institutes, there are a lot of opportunities. At the NIH team work is held with the highest regard, and even though there are many differences between how the NIH and the military conduct business, just like in the military the NIH has a high esprit de corps.