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Frequently Asked Questions by Current Research Participants

Frequently Asked Questions by Current Interns/Research Participants
My mentor has told me that I have been selected for an appointment. When will I receive notification from ORISE?
All ORISE appointments must be approved by the EPA project officer/ORISE program coordinator. ORISE will send an appointment letter once this approval is received and the funding for the appointment is in place. See Start of Appointment for more information.

Can I move before I receive my appointment letter?
We strongly recommend against this. Your appointment is not guaranteed until ORISE issues your appointment letter.

Can I change the start date of my appointment?
You may change your start date with approval from your mentor and the EPA project officer. Please immediately notify ORISE if your expected start date is different from what is specified in your appointment letter.

I need to end my appointment early. What should I do?
You should immediately notify your mentor, EPA project officer, and ORISE point of contact of your new end date. ORISE will notify you of any paperwork that needs to be completed before your final stipend payment will be released. See End of Appointment for more information.

What acknowledgement do I need to put on my posters and publications?
All published reports, journal articles, or professional presentations that rely on the activities conducted during your participation should carry an acknowledgement such as: “This project was supported in part by an appointment to the Internship/Research Participation Program at the [Office Name], U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and EPA.”

How many days of leave do I have?
Participants do not earn annual or medical leave, but may be allowed a certain number of personal days per appointment year without a reduction in stipend. Check with your mentor/project officer for specific information. The number of personal days will be prorated for shorter/part-time appointments. All absences must be approved in advance by the mentor and project officer.

Participants should not be present on EPA holidays. These do not count against personal days, nor will they result in a decrease in stipend.

Additional time off in excess of the allowed number of personal days may be allowed on a case-by-case basis as an unpaid absence. Extended time off for serious illness, emergencies, etc., will be unpaid and will require EPA project officer approval. You must notify ORISE in advance of any unpaid absences.

Eek! It’s snowing! Do I have to report to EPA?
You should not report to EPA when your facility is closed for holidays, emergencies, etc. Such closures will not affect your stipend.

It’s February. Why haven’t I received a 1099 form from ORISE?
Since ORISE participants are not employees or contractors (and receive stipends, not wages), they do not receive W-2 or 1099 forms. We do send a Statement of Payments that you may use in preparing your tax return. Some foreign nationals, depending upon their tax treaty status, will receive 1042-S forms from ORAU. For more information on the tax implications of stipends, please see Stipend Information.

Please be sure to inform ORISE of any changes to your mailing address, even after your appointment has ended, so that you will receive this information.

Can you tell me how much funding is left in my travel budget?
No. ORISE does not track funding for travel separate from other appointment funds. We can, upon request, let you know how much you have already spent on travel. All travel expenditures, regardless of budgeted amounts, must be approved by your mentor and EPA project officer.

Can I defer payments on my student loans while I am a participant in the ORISE program?
You may be able to defer your student loan payments since the ORISE EPA program is an educational/training program. Please contact your lender to obtain the necessary forms, and send them to your ORISE point of contact. We will verify your appointment for the lender.

Do I qualify for student loan forgiveness?
This determination will be made by your loan provider. We suggest that you provide them with copies of your appointment letter and Terms of Appointment, so that they can understand the nature of the ORISE program and whether it falls under their guidelines for loan forgiveness.

What should I do to change my banking information?
You will need to fill out a new Authorization Agreement for EFT and submit it to your ORISE point of contact.

Can ORISE provide me with business cards? Can I use the ORISE and/or EPA logo?
We cannot pay for or reimburse you for the cost of business cards. And since ORISE research participants are not employees of ORISE or EPA, neither the ORISE nor the EPA logo should be used on any business cards. Any personal cards that you may have printed must reflect your accurate status at EPA; you should always list your title on this or any other literature as “ORISE Research Participant (or Intern), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, City, State.”

Since I am not an employee of EPA or ORISE, what title should I use?
All ORISE participants have the title of “Intern.” Your signature line would read as follows: ┬áIntern, ORISE Internship/Research Participation Program at EPA. Participants with a Ph.D. or J.D. may use the title of “Fellow.”

Can I be reimbursed for printing posters or other materials?
All printing must be done through EPA and cannot be reimbursed by ORISE. If additional copies of printed materials are needed while on travel status, you must contact SEPTravel for procedures that must be followed.

I won first place in a conference poster session, and was awarded a $100 cash prize! Can I keep the money?
Yes, ORISE participants may accept awards and prizes.

Can I serve my appointment from home?
All appointments must be served at an approved EPA facility. Faculty appointments may be served at their university or at an EPA facility.