Before scientists attain the kind of stature that has made Salk one of the most influential research organizations in the world, they first emerge as brilliant young investigators whose extraordinary promise makes them highly sought after as postdoctoral fellows. The lifeblood of a research laboratory are graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. They work closely with the senior scientists to carry out complex investigations that advance the frontiers of biological research. As the largest component of the workforce in biomedical science, they bring highly specialized training to the research enterprise and are responsible for the majority of the hands-on lab work. At the same time, postdoctoral positions are critical opportunities for these accomplished young investigators, enabling the most promising to gain the experience and credentials they need to launch independent research careers and establish laboratories of their own.
The Salk trains the next generation of distinguished scientsts, and reaches out to the community to introduce an even younger group of students to science. The Salk High School Summer Scholars Program is one of three signature programs of the Institute's Education Outreach program, which is dedicated to providing San Diego County students from middle through high school with hands-on science education. This program organizes the March of Dimes High School Science Day each spring and operates the Salk Moblile Science Lab at middle schools and community events throughout the school year. The results of this visionary effort can be measured in the thousands of students who otherwise would have had little exposure to laboratory research. Experiencing the thrill of scientific discovery is responsible for many young people pursuing careers in science.