DOE Scholars Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

About the DOE Scholars Program

1. What kind of program is the DOE Scholars Program? What is its purpose?
2. How can I get more information about the DOE Scholars Program?
3. What is ORAU?
4. What kinds of opportunities are available through the DOE Scholars Program?
5. What does the internship provide?
6. How much are stipends?
7. How do I apply for the DOE Scholars Program?
8. What disciplines are needed for the DOE Scholars Program?

Eligibility

9. Who can participate in this program?
10. Can I apply if I am not a citizen of the United States?
11. Can current students participate in the DOE Scholars Program?
12. What if I can only participate for a portion of the appointment period due to other commitments?

Application Process

13. When is the application deadline?
14. How will I know when my application is complete?
15. Is my online application data secure?
16. May I update my application after I have submitted it?

Selection Process

17. How does the selection process work?
18. How are the applications reviewed?
19. When and how will I be notified if I am selected?
20. Do my transcripts need to be official?
21. Do I have to have health insurance coverage to apply or can I wait until I’m selected to acquire it?
22. My mentor has told me that i have been selected for an appointment. When will I receive notification from ORAU?
23. What are the chances of getting selected?

Internship Information

24. When do the internships start?
25. How long do the summer internships last?
26. Where are the internships located? If selected, do I get to choose my location?
27. Will the program pay for my transportation to the internship site?
28. Will I be required to have my personal vehicle at the site?
29. Does the DOE Scholars Program pay for housing? Or is there a housing allowance?
30. What is my tax liability for the stipend I am paid as a participant in this program?
31. If I have a conflict with the starting date, may I arrange to start my internship earlier (or later)?
32. Can I travel before I receive my appointment letter?
33. Do I get any vacation during the appointment period?
34. How often do I receive a stipend payment and where does it come from?
35. Can I receive undergraduate credit for my fellowship experience?
36. By participating in this program, do I become an employee of the administrator, the host facility, or DOE?
37. Do I have to prepare a report or give a presentation at the end of my appointment?
38. What should I expect from the mentoring relationship at the laboratory.

General Questions

39. Where can I learn more about the U.S. Department of Energy and its mission?
40. Are there other educational programs managed by ORAU that I might be eligible for?
41. If I have questions, whom should I contact?

About the DOE Scholars Program

1. What kind of program is the DOE Scholars Program? What is its purpose?

The DOE Scholars Program is a Department of Energy-wide program that complements other DOE workforce development initiatives. The program is designed with a variety of components that promote DOE’s strategic objectives of creating a pipeline of highly qualified participants in disciplinary fields that support programs in mission-critical areas.

2. How can I get more information about the DOE Scholars Program?

Review the Overview of the DOE Scholars Program page on this website.

3. What is ORAU?

See About ORAU.  

4. What kinds of opportunities are available through the DOE Scholars Program?

5. What does the internship provide?

6. How much are stipends?

Stipends are up to $650 per week (depending on academic status); exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for summer appointments only. Stipends will be deposited to your bank account in accordance with the stipend schedule provided. You should be prepared to cover all expenses for the first 30 days of your appointment.

7. How do I apply for the DOE Scholars Program?

Visit the DOE Scholars Application page.

8. What disciplines are needed for the DOE Scholars Program?

A list of disciplines is available on this website.

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Eligibility

9. Who can participate in this program?

A participant must be a U.S. citizen, at least 16 years of age (no exceptions), and an undergraduate student, graduate student, or a post-graduate. Exceptions may be made on academic status on a case-by-case basis for summer appointments only. This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation or covered veteran’s status.

10. Can I apply if I am not a citizen of the United States?

No, only U.S. citizens are eligible for this program. No exceptions are allowed and proof of citizenship is required upon selection.

11. Can current students participate in the DOE Scholars Program?

Eligible students may hold appointments during the summer or part-time appointments during the semester dependent on the requirements of the open positions.

12. What if I can only participate for a portion of the appointment period due to other commitments?

Participation requires a commitment for the duration of the appointment period. You should plan to be at the facility for the specified term and avoid obligations that will interrupt your appointment.

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Application Process

13. When is the application deadline?

Visit the DOE Scholars Application page for the current deadline.

14. How will I know when my application is complete?

The electronic application will not allow you to “submit” an application until all required fields are completed. Once all questions in the application are completed, submit the application by clicking the “submit” button.

15. Is my online application data secure?

Absolutely. ORAU follows all federal rules and regulations regarding personally identifiable information and data collection.

16. May I update my application after I have submitted it?

No.

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Selection Process

17. How does the selection process work?

Your electronic application will be reviewed by participating DOE managers who select their own interns for their office/site. Participation by a DOE location is dependent upon program need and available funding. Selections will be based on how your education and experience match DOE needs.

18. How are the applications reviewed?

Applications are reviewed in an electronic database by DOE managers. Your application will be judged on your educational experience, your interests, and skills. Be sure to carefully complete the application by the deadline.

19. When and how will I be notified if I am selected?

The selection and appointment process for the summer will begin in February and continue through May. Most selections by DOE managers will be made by April 30. Notifications will be made by email if you are selected, followed by an official letter from ORISE.

20. Do my transcripts need to be official?

Yes. However, you will not need to provide them until you are selected.

21. Do I have to have health insurance coverage to apply or can I wait until I’m selected to acquire it?

You must have health insurance and provide proof of coverage in order to begin your appointment. That means that you will not be able to start your appointment or be eligible to receive a stipend payment until you have health insurance. Since some insurance providers have a waiting period from the time you apply, you may need to plan ahead in order to start your appointment at the desired time and still serve the full appointment. See Health Insurance for more information.

22. My mentor has told me that I have been selected for an appointment. When will I receive notification from ORAU?

All ORAU appointments must be approved by each DOE office/site manager. ORAU will send an appointment letter once this approval is received and the funding or the appointment is in place. Your DOE mentor will not make the official appointment offer—that must come from ORAU.

23. What are the chances of getting selected?

The number of DOE Scholars appointments varies each year. There is no way of knowing how many applications will be received nor what the quality of those applications will be. One thing is certain, however: If you don’t apply, you certainly won’t be selected.

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Internship Information

24. When do the internships start?

Generally, internships begin in June, but early starts may occur at program request.

25. How long do the summer internships last?

Most last 10 weeks.

26. Where are the internships located?

Available internships will be determined by participating DOE sites. Participation is dependent upon program need and available funding. See Locations.

27. Will the program pay for my transportation to the internship site?

Yes, the ORAU SEP Travel Office will arrange and pay for travel from your home or institution if your permanent address is more than 50 miles from your appointment site. If you choose to drive, you will be reimbursed at the current federal reimbursement rate for actual mileage from your home or institution to the appointment site, up to the cost of the lowest available commercial airfare. Reimbursements are made according to the federally approved travel policy. See Travel for more information.

28. Will I be required to have my personal vehicle at the site?

Some of the appointments are located in areas without public transportation and having your personal vehicle may be required. You are responsible for your own daily transportation to and from your DOE internship site. Contact ORAU for more information as needed.

29. Does the DOE Scholars Program pay for housing? Or is there a housing allowance?

No, you are responsible for the cost of your own housing at the appointment site during your internship. Contact ORAU for more information as needed.

30. What is my tax liability for the stipend I am paid as a participant in this program?

All stipends paid to you are reported to the Internal Revenue Service. ORAU administers all stipend payments and does not withhold taxes from these payments. Participants should give consideration to filing form 1040-ES on a quarterly basis and paying estimated income taxes in order to avoid late payment penalties. Participants should consult a tax professional regarding state and federal income tax requirements. See Stipend Information for more details.

31. If I have a conflict with the starting date, may I arrange to start my internship earlier (or later)?

Your DOE mentor will let us know when you will be expected to report, and that starting date will be stated in your official appointment letter. Most scholars start in June, but factors such as class schedules, housing availability and facility schedules may result in an earlier or later starting date. You should be willing to commit 40 hours per week during your internship. See Start of Appointment.

32. Can I travel before I receive my appointment letter?

We do not advise that you do this. Your appointment is not guaranteed until you receive, sign, and return your official letter. Additionally, if DOE Scholars does provide travel assistance, it is important that you work with ORAU to verify that costs are allowable.

33. Do I get any vacation during the appointment period?

The program does not include vacation or sick leave; however, you are not expected to be present on days that your facility is closed due to a holiday.

34. How often do I receive a stipend payment and where does it come from?

Your stipends will be directly deposited into your bank account in accordance with the stipend schedule provided. You should be prepared to cover all expenses for the first 30 days of your internship. See Stipend Information for more details.

35. Can I receive undergraduate credit for my internship experience?

You will need to check with your school to see if your experience qualifies for college credit. Your mentor or ORAU can provide you with the appropriate documentation.

36. By participating in this program, do I become an employee of the administrator, the host facility, or DOE?

No, none of the above. You will be considered an educational program participant and will not enter into an employer/employee relationship with the administrator, the host facility, or DOE. You do not receive any employment-related benefits, such as paid vacation or sick/medical leave or unemployment compensation.

37. Do I have to prepare a report or give a presentation at the end of my appointment?

Both you and your mentor will be asked to evaluate the experience at the end of the appointment. You may be asked to participate in seminars, poster sessions, and symposia, and to prepare written or oral presentations at the end of the appointment.

38. What should I expect from the mentoring relationship at the laboratory?

Your mentor should provide the following:

See Mentor Information and Responsibilities for more information.

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General Questions

39. Where can I learn more about the U.S. Department of Energy and its mission?

Visit the DOE website for a comprehensive look at the department and its programs.

40. Are there other educational programs managed by ORAU that I might be eligible for?

You may review eligibility and general program information for other education and research opportunities on the ORISE website.

41. If I have questions, whom should I contact?

Email your questions to doescholars@orau.org or contact Barbara Dunkin, program specialist, at 865.574.6440. If you have questions after you are appointed, contact your mentor, DOE Scholars Program Coordinator or ORAU for assistance.

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