I am NIMH: Q&A with Aneka Reid
Aneka Reid, M.H.A.
Office of Fellowship Training
What is your name and job title?
My name is Aneka Reid, M.H.A., and my job title is program analyst.
I love working with like-minded people who want to be of service. We all want to help and do the best we can each day.
How would you summarize what you do?
I work for the Office of Fellowship Training. The office oversees our intramural trainee community, which has approximately 300 trainees annually. As part of the Office of Fellowship Training Team, I lead a portfolio of training and career/professional development projects to help trainees through their different research experiences, build their skill set, and hopefully get them closer to what that next step is going be once they depart from their research experience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
How did you come to NIMH?
I initially came to the NIH as a volunteer in the Clinical Center volunteer program, and I started working in this office, helping with administrative duties. After about 8 months, my volunteer work turned into a contract position. Here I am in a federal position 12 years later. Seeing how our training program has blossomed in the last 12 years has been wonderful.
What makes you want to stay at NIMH?
The team! We each bring a unique set of perspectives and backgrounds to the position, but we share a common goal of wanting to provide guidance and help young scientists figure out what they want to do and how to get there.
I would also say the NIMH mission. I've had close relatives and other folks I know who've struggled with mental health challenges. Getting to be part of the community that actively does the research to understand, to some degree, all the things that are going on to try to make it better is very satisfying.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The engagement. I'm very much a people person. I thrive off the energy and environment that I'm a part of. I love working with like-minded people who want to be of service. We all want to help and do the best we can each day. That's been a big motivating factor.
What would you tell a friend if they were considering working here?
Working here is a great opportunity if you are up for a challenge and you want to propel the idea of service forward. There are so many different opportunities to get involved. When people think of NIH, the first thing they generally think of is research. But NIH is a whole enterprise. You have purchasing, administrators, logistics, communications, etc. There are many ways to contribute to the mission and get the word out about NIH.
We know from going to conferences that people really aren't aware that NIH has a training program. One of the gold standard things we try to accomplish every year is educating people about the intramural training program. The more groups we can get the word out to, the better.
What’s one life lesson you’ve learned from your career?
To embrace flexibility and be able to adapt. There's always going to be new leadership or new things going on. Knowing that's the case and embracing it makes it much more pleasant and doable when that transition happens, so you're proactive instead of reactive.
What is a benefit of working here that not many people know about?
The collaborative nature of NIH. No matter what sector you're involved with, it overlaps with all the other key players and stakeholders. You get the chance to meet people like Dr. Fauci. You would think those folks are so far removed, but you get a sense the NIH leaders are accessible and reachable.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Hands down, I would be a teacher. Early on, that's something that I thought about exploring, and funny enough, through this job, I have some qualities like interacting with trainees and engaging with other administrative and scientific staff. There is always something that somebody doesn't know, and I love helping people fill in that gap and become aware of something new. That is a driving force for me. Sharing is caring.