The National Institutes of Health, one of the world’s leading medical research centers and an agency of the U.S Department of Health, is opening its doors to CNMI students who want to pursue higher education in health-related fields once they step out of high school.
NIH has partnered with the Public School System through the Step-Up program to provide a gateway for students to apply for scholarships if they are interested in pursuing a career in health.
According to interim Education Commissioner Jackie Quitugua, this partnership with NIH through the Step-Up program gives participants a gateway to higher education opportunities because NIH would have their résumés on hand containing the kind of extensive research they have done in high school.
“There are these opportunities for our kids and any of our students who want to pursue this route. …NIH would already have their résumé and their résumés would already have the kind of research that they have initiated through this program and it’s like a gateway into more funding opportunities for scholarships,” she said.
She clarified, though, that although it gives one a higher chance at receiving scholarships, it’s also not a guarantee as there is always a list of students who are also vying for the same scholarships in the same field.
“In all scholarships, there are processing and requirements, that’s why I use the word ‘gateway’ because they are already registered with NIH through their research and through their [participation],” she said.
When asked if there were any previous Step-Up students who have gained scholarships or vied for a scholarships through NIH after graduating, Quitugua said there were a few.
“I do need to look into that whether we had really availed but I know we had some students who were really interested who went abroad but we may not have that document but I remember there were quite a number of them,” she said.
Quitugua said that NIH has been a strong partner in the work that PSS has been doing in encouraging students to “reach for the stars” when choosing a career.
“It’s really about the student’s success and the desire of where our kids are heading, how we can support them and give them the opportunities as they are searching for the pathway they want in life,” she said.