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Mike Nealy – US Marine Corps
Presidential Management Fellow, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)
How did you become an NIH employee?
I joined the NIH through the Presidential Management Fellows program, which is one of several internship programs offered at the NIH. This program allows me to do 3-6 month rotations in various offices for two years. At the end of the two year program I will convert to a permanent position that is the best fit for me.
What inspired you to want to work at NIH?
Protecting public health and public service have always been important issues to me. That, combined with my background in infectious disease research, felt like a perfect fit with NIH’s mission to seek fundamental knowledge about living systems and apply that knowledge to enhance health and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. The NIH mission, the chance to use my science background while serving, and the many opportunities for professional growth drew me to the NIH, and it has been one of the best career moves that I could imagine.
Was it difficult transitioning from the military into NIH?
The culture at the NIH can be very different than the military, but I wouldn’t say that the transition has been difficult. Many of the skills that you develop in the military (such as attention to detail, organization and leadership skills, teamwork, and the ability to take direction and work independently) are transferable skills that are very useful at the NIH. Coming in with these skills combined with our growing and supportive veteran community will help you make a smooth transition from military to civilian service.
What is your role at NIH?
As a Presidential Management Fellow and a part of the intern community, I have the opportunity to rotate through different offices at the NIH for two years before I convert to a permanent position. This gives me a chance to try out several of the many different jobs offered here and choose the one that is the best fit for me. That will be a hard choice because there are so many wonderful opportunities here in science, health care, and administration. There really is a job for everybody no matter what your interest is.
How do you think other veterans can benefit from joining NIH?
The NIH‘s exciting mission to protect public health, the opportunities to make real contributions to the organization while at the same time developing as a professional, the fantastic location right outside of Washington D.C., our growing veterans’ community, and the opportunity to continue to serve our country are what drew me here, and I haven’t been disappointed. The NIH really is a great place to work, I’m excited to come to work every day, and I look forward to a long career here.