Clinical Center News
January/February 2016

An extraordinary opportunity: high school student shares her volunteer experience

Rebecca Vichi holding a camera to her face
Rebecca Vichi, Walter Johnson High School Senior.

By Rebecca Vichi, Walter Johnson High School Senior

As a high school student, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work as an intern in the Clinical Center’s Office of Communications and Media Relation (OCMR) at the NIH. I have learned a lot in my ten months here, and hope to continue my work with the department until I go off to college this fall.

While volunteering, I have been given many opportunities to help with very exciting projects. My absolute favorite assignments that have had the most influence on me include assisting with film crews in the building, photographing the Clinical Center and visiting The Children's Inn at NIH.

I was introduced to the OCMR team and was able to shadow a documentary film crew in one of the labs at NIH. We helped the lab technician focus on his interview and avoid distractions. I found the laboratory extremely fascinating. The technician was working on an experiment showing the effects different medications had on the brain. I even got to be filmed while the technician elucidated his experiment and processes to me.

I was also able to shadow another film crew and meet a brilliant patient who was currently enrolled in medical school. She was very inspiring and uplifting. It shows that if you put your mind to something, you can do anything.

Another project I work on is taking seasonal pictures of the outside of the Clinical Center. This way, I can contribute to my love to photography, and explore different parts of the building that I may not get to regularly see on a normal day. My photos have been used on the social media accounts and as the main image of the website, for thousands to see.

While working, I was also able to visit The Children's Inn at NIH. I was there specifically to get consents for some pictures that were taken on Sibling Day, however I experienced much more. I sat there as I watched the siblings of very sick children tell their families about their experiences. It was so touching that I shed tears. I was so heartbroken for what the families were going through and yet was also encouraged at their strength and bravery. Aside from my favorite projects, I have also done other things such as editing important documents and transcribing interviews. Although they are smaller jobs, they are just as significant to me as anything else I get to do. No matter the assignment, it is important to put in full effort.

There is so much going on at NIH all the time. At first I was very frightened and overwhelmed, like anyone would be on their first day of anything. New is stressful. Everything the Communications department does is extremely necessary and important. However, everyone in the department has been more than friendly. They are all very serious about their jobs, but I feel like they are all one big family. They have been helpful, loving and attentive.

It has been very generous and trusting of them to let me take part on such important projects, and I have learned a lot. I am currently a senior, so it has helped me with writing and editing college essays. Socializing and communicating with many different types of people has also helped me improve my speaking skills. The work is so thorough and so intelligent that you have no choice to be very focused and patient. The Clinical Center is a huge and important place, and I am very thankful to be able to take part in the activities that take place here.

Senior leaders at NIH cut a ribbon opening two hospice suites at the Clinical Center
Laptop with stethoscope nearby
Patient Photography Studio
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH sties in a chair to the left. Barbra Streisand holds a microphone and sits in a chair to the right – speaks to the audience
Dr. James Gilman stands with Alba C. Murphy as they smile and hold a certificate
A paper cutout of a hand shape with a stick on the end. Text on the paper says I [heart] clean hands
Patient with Degos disease addresses symposium attendees
CDC and NIH representatives stand in a special isolation patient room at the NIH Clinical Center
Eight young men and women line up holding graduation certificates in Lipsett Auditorium
A four panel exhibit with photos, text and artifacts on NIH medical pioneers Christian Anfinsen and Michael Potter
NIH Clinical Center volunteer Chaoyang Wang
Woman with scientific cap on her head plays a touch game
Doctors at NIH speak in a lecture hall during Nurses Week
NIH Clinical Center doctor receives award
Children participate in Take Your Child to Work Day Hematology Lab
Leslie Wehrlen holds a plaque.
Sixteen women, graduates of the program and departmental leaders, gather for a photo
Pius Aiyelawo swearing into the Senior Executive Service with Dr. Lawrence Tabak
Jackson Taylor (right) and his donor Sean McLaughlin (left)
Dr. Thomas Burklow
Two care providers look at a computer
Child reading a book
NIH employee, Ricky Day, trys the prototype device
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams tours Clinical Center with CC CEO Dr. James K. Gilman
First Lady Melania Trump gets together with five children to pose for a picture
Patient and doctor
Harold Varmus, Robert Frasca, Mark Hatfield and John Gallin at the groundbreaking of the hospital's new addition
Black and White photo of the first meeting of the National Advisory Eye Council (13 men) gathering on steps
Jim Gilman at Town Hall in Masur Auditorium
Avish Parashar brought audience members on stage to showcase that planning is important, but the ability to improvise is essential during a seminar on Dec. 3.
Dr. Pete Choyke discusses his research with fifteen members of the Oncology Nursing Society.
Israeli Minister of Health MK Rabbi Yacov Litznan visits the NIH Clinical Center.
Dr. John I. Gallin presents Dr. Clare Hastings with the 'dirt award' at her retirement gathering.
About 300 awards were presented at the Clinical Center Director's Annual Address and Awards Ceremony on Dec. 18.
Rebecca Vichi, Clinical Center volunteer.
Dr. John I. Gallin cuts the ribbon with Heidi Grolig and Jerry Sachs.
People line up at the new marketplace Starbucks café