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Jayne Lura-Brown – US Navy
Program Analyst, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
How did you become an NIH employee?
I started at the bottom and worked my way up! I came into NIH in 1991 as a clerk (I was over qualified, but wanted to begin my career as quickly as possible), and within 3-4 years, I worked my way up to a career in program analysis. During my first couple of years, I utilized some of NIH’s in-house training and development programs, and continued my college classes in computer science. By doing this, I was able to not only continue to hone my knowledge of NIH and its multitude of research areas, but I was also able to continue to grow professionally within my own areas of experience, expertise and interests which ultimately aided in landing a job in my intended field. I have been here ever since, and have truly enjoyed the meaningful work I do here at NIH.
What inspired you to want to work at NIH?
In the Navy, I was stationed aboard the USNS Comfort (hospital ship), but when the shipped was docked, I worked in personnel at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda (formerly known as Naval Medical Center, National Capital Region). We had several civilian personnel working in our land-based office who advised me on obtaining a Federal career when I was planning my separation from the Navy, and highly recommended the NIH as a place to begin a Federal career. In all honesty, the main reason I chose to work at NIH was the location. I worked at the Medical Center across the street, and my commute—which in this area, was definitely a factor for me—would not change. However after working here, and learning more about the organization, its mission, the significant research that directly improves people’s quality of life, I felt that I was working with a higher purpose, similar to how I felt in the military—a place where I am a part of something that is meaningful—so I stayed.
Was it difficult transitioning from the military into NIH?
In the military, I was used to transitioning. Because I was dually assigned to a ship and land base, I was used to transitioning back and forth from the ship to the land—which are two very different environments in themselves. Coming to the NIH directly from the military—ship life, and directly from the first Gulf War—the environment was a bit different, however, in the Federal environment there are still tons of regulations, policies, and procedures evoking that sense of ‘structure’ that we military are used to, so transition was not too difficult for me. Initially, I think waiting to be dismissed after a conversation with my boss was the biggest thing that took getting used to.
What is your role at NIH?
I currently work in the Office of the Director for Extramural Research at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and within this environment, I wear many hats. Some of my duties include regularly contributing as participant and technical advisor on key projects within the institute; developing, administering and maintaining the Division’s SharePoint sites; developing, maintaining and updating web content and community outreach materials, as well as developing visuals and other materials for publication in scientific journals; administering and maintaining program class coding systems; tracking and analyzing investigator’s research activities and tracking program initiatives; participating in community outreach efforts; IT advisory; and Council technical liaison activities. Additionally, I am a participating member on several NIH-wide technical committees.
How do you think other veterans can benefit from joining NIH?
In becoming a part of the NIH family, Veterans can benefit by knowing that, just as in the military, their work supports a mission that has a strong impact on the quality of life of others. As employees of NIH, we support a group effort to improve the health of fellow Americans. No matter what level or type of career we find ourselves in, NIH has something for us—that something that we all want—which is the chance, or another chance—to do something meaningful and to continue to be a part of something GREAT.