DHS Education Programs >HS-STEM Summer Internship Program > FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Benefits
Application
Review & Selection

 

Benefits

What travel expenses are covered by my internship?
If you choose to travel by plane or train, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education (ORISE) will make travel arrangements and purchase the plane or train tickets for you. You will have an opportunity to review your itinerary before the ticket is purchased. To help defray the cost of flying or shipping your personal belongings to and from the internship Hosting Site, you will receive up to $100 in reimbursement for luggage or parcel shipping expenses. If you plan to drive your personal vehicle, you will be reimbursed for actual mileage at the current U.S. General Services Administration mileage reimbursement rate up to a maximum of $350, one-way.

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Is there any financial help for housing?
Students are responsible for securing their own living space and determining their means of local transportation prior to arriving at the assigned Hosting Site. Some Hosting Sites provide assistance in locating housing and/or provide additional funds for housing. For more information, refer to the Site Information documents on the Hosting Sites page and contact the Hosting Site internship coordinators if additional information is required.

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Will I receive an undergraduate or a graduate stipend?
Your stipend will be based on your status by the application deadline. In order to receive the graduate student stipend, you must be enrolled as a graduate student by the application deadline.

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Application

What makes a good reference?
References are asked to describe students’ Scientific Capabilities and Personal Characteristics and must specify how they know the students. The best references are from professionals who can speak to the applicant’s abilities and potential. The weakest references are those from personal (non-professional) acquaintances such as friends, relatives, and neighbors.

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How do I choose a project?
First and foremost try to identify research projects of interest. Read the project descriptions carefully to find projects that best match your research interests and academic background. You may search the Project Catalog by keywords and filter projects by Disciplines, Research Areas and/or Hosting Sites.

Research mentors are listed for each project. You may contact the research mentors to better assess your interest in the project and to determine if you have the required academic background, skills and/or experience for the project. Identify yourself as an applicant to the DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program and keep in mind that the mentor does not have the authority to offer you or guarantee you a DHS-funded summer internship. Only ORISE, on behalf of DHS, can offer you a DHS-funded summer internship through this program. Mentors will be available to answer questions until the application deadline. After this date, you should not contact mentors until you have been notified that you have been selected to participate in the program and have been provided the details of your internship assignment.

Second, familiarize yourself with the Hosting Sites. Review the information provided for each Hosting Site concerning location, housing, on-site transportation or other information that may be of interest to you. Contact information of the Hosting Site internship coordinator is provided for further assistance with questions regarding the Hosting Site: local housing availability, cost or roommates; local transportation; security clearance requirements; internship start and end dates; and other administrative issues specific to that research facility. When contacting the internship coordinator, identify yourself as an applicant to the DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program.

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What makes outstanding essays?
Research Interests Essay: The best essays demonstrate an understanding of and genuine interest in the DHS mission and DHS mission-relevant research, as described in the DHS Research Areas. These essays define an area of research and one or more research problems that are of interest to the student and are also relevant to one or more DHS Research Areas. All essays should contain only original thought or properly attributed information.

Professional Goals Essay: The best essays provide insight into the career of interest, the steps that may be taken to achieve educational and professional goals, how the internship experience will contribute to achieving those goals, and how the student's professional goals are aligned with the DHS mission.

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What are the GPA requirements?
To apply, a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher on a 4.00 scale as of Spring/Summer 2015 is required. You must enter the cumulative GPA for each academic institution listed on your application. If an institution does not calculate the GPA, you should try to calculate it using the key provided on the back of the transcripts.

For eligibility verification purposes including GPA verification, candidates selected for an internship appointment must have an authorized university office (e.g. Registrar’s Office) submit official transcripts including grades directly to ORISE. Selected candidates will also be required to provide proof of enrollment during Spring 2016.

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What is an acceptable proof of current enrollment?
Most universities show proof of enrollment and current courses in the transcripts. If this information is missing from your transcript, then you must provide separate documentation listing the courses and credit hours in which you are currently enrolled. To apply, courses and credit hours for Fall 2015 term are required.

Selected candidates will be required to provide proof of enrollment for Spring 2016. If this information is missing from your transcript, then you must provide separate documentation with the following specifications:

  • Document must be on university letterhead, and include the student name;
  • Document must be signed by an authorized university official (e.g., registrar officer, academic advisor, or department head);
  • Document must confirm the full-time enrollment of the student;
  • And document must list the courses and credit hours in which the student is enrolled.

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Review & Selection

How will my application be reviewed?
Applications are reviewed by ORISE for eligibility and completeness and by DHS for strength and relevance to the DHS mission. Selected applications are then evaluated by the hosting sites chosen by the students. Mentors evaluate each application to determine if there is a match between the internship projects selected by the student and the student’s knowledge, skills, and interests. If there is not a match for the student’s first choice project, an attempt is made to match the student’s second (and possibly third) choice. After matches are established, DHS approves project assignments and selected students are notified.

In evaluating student applications, DHS and hosting site researchers consider the student’s academic record, reference reports, and essays. Preferences of the students and hosting sites are taken into consideration in assigning students to projects. All assignments are subject to DHS approval.

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How will I be notified when selections are complete?
All selection notifications will be made by ORISE via email. It is anticipated that selections will be complete in March. Additionally, selection notification will be made to the hosting sites.

Hosting site representatives, including potential research mentors, do not have the authority to offer or guarantee DHS-funded summer internships to applicants to this program. Only ORISE, on behalf of DHS, can offer DHS-funded summer internships through this program.

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When and how do I provide proof of U.S. Citizenship?
Selected students must provide evidence of U.S. citizenship (such as a photocopy of a U.S. passport, birth certificate, Certificate of U.S. Naturalization or Certificate of U.S. Citizenship) at the time the appointment is accepted.

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