Mentor Information and Responsibilities

As a mentor, you are the foundation of a successful participation program, and you are commended for undertaking this important role. By hosting individuals, you are contributing to the education and training of the next generation, as well as advancing the mission of the MLEF Program and DOE.

Mentors should:

  • Develop a training plan for the participant, including the areas of participation in the project, attendance in meetings, conferences, special courses, etc.
  • Clearly define the activities in which your participant will be involved. Let your participant know your expectations for progress, professional behavior, compliance, attendance, etc.
  • Assist your participant in getting settled at your site and in becoming a productive member of your community.
  • Provide the appropriate materials, equipment, safety training, technical and clerical support, and office space for your participant to conduct the project.
  • Provide ongoing technical guidance and advice.
  • Be accessible.
  • Periodically review the status of your participant's activities and give appropriate feedback.
  • Approve appropriate absences by your participant.
  • Make sure that ORAU is immediately informed if a stipend payment needs to be adjusted due to an adjusted schedule, an unpaid absence, or an early termination.
  • Immediately involve ORAU if your participant demonstrates an inability to function effectively within your environment.
  • Immediately involve ORAU if any concerning incidents occur or if your participant registers a serious concern.

Status of Program Participants

The MLEF Program provides participants with opportunities for hands-on experience that complements his or her academic course of study. Please encourage your participant to attend seminars, professional meetings, staff meetings, and other functions that will provide insight into the ways in which professionals interact within your facility and with others.

The MLEF is an educational experience, not a job. Therefore certain expectations and responsibilities may not be imposed upon a participant. The person you are hosting is not an employee, thus restricting the types of assignments that you can make. For example, the participant's project should not include work activities that are reserved for federal employees, nor should the project require the participant to provide expert advice; supervise, mentor, hire or fire anyone; have budget, program management or signature authority; carry an official job title; or function in any way as a representative of the federal government. The participant is, however, expected to perform to the highest level of expectations of the signed agreement to participate in the MLEF program. They agree to the time schedule and the level of professionalism that is expected at their assigned facility.

Time Schedules

A full-time participant is making a full-time commitment and should avoid obligations that will interrupt the appointment. Your participant should be assigned a project that demands full-time attention (based on 40 hours per week).

Participants do not earn annual or medical leave, but may be allowed occasional absences without a reduction of their stipend. All absences must be approved in advance by you, the mentor, and should be allowed on a limited and as-needed basis only. Be sure to check with the MLEF site coordinator and program manager if you have any questions.

Every effort should be made to make up any missed time. If the missed time cannot be rescheduled or is not permitted without reduction in stipend, ORAU should immediately be informed (either by you or through the MLEF site coordinator or program manager). It is imperative that ORAU be quickly notified of any change in a participant's schedule that will result in a different stipend payment than regularly received.

Participants are paid for federal holidays. For holidays and emergency closings, the participant follows the same schedule as your facility.

Should your participant choose to end the appointment early, it is essential that you notify ORAU of the early termination immediately. Your cooperation in making sure that ORAU is always informed (with as much notice as possible ) of any schedule changes that may necessitate a change in regular stipend payments is essential.

Suggestions for a Successful Relationship

  • At the beginning of the appointment (before your participant arrives or on the first day), provide them with information and reading materials related to the specific project.
  • Work with your program coordinator to make necessary arrangements for your participant to gain access to the facility. Arrange for orientation to the facility and its procedures.
  • Be on site the first day of appointment, or designate a substitute to welcome your participant on your behalf. Introduce them to the appropriate staff members.
  • Provide a nurturing and stimulating intellectual atmosphere.
  • Encourage your participant to continue his or her education.
  • Encourage them to write a report on the research or technical project being conducted during the appointment period.
  • Leave instructions for your participant when you are unavailable, and designate a substitute mentor to serve in your absence.

Mentors should NOT:

  • Consider your participant an employee for any purpose. Participants receive no salary or fringe benefits, but receive a stipend during their educational experience.
  • Consider your participant to be performing work.
  • Consider them as rendering advisory or personal services.
  • Consider them as providing expert advice.
  • Consider the appointment as a commitment to future employment by MLEF or others.
  • Consider the appointment as dependent upon the performance of any specific work or the delivery of a product.
  • Assign program management authority, signature authority, or official job titles to your participant

Additional Information

Because we believe that good mentoring is the cornerstone of quality educational programs, ORAU has developed an online mentor orientation module. The purpose of this module is to provide mentors with information about how to make the most of their mentoring experience.

The module addresses the following topics:

  • Deciding to Host a Participant
  • Identifying an Appropriate Project
  • Selecting the Best Person for Your Project
  • Preparing to Host Your Participant
  • Orienting Your Participant on the First Day
  • Providing a Quality Experience
  • Preventing and Solving Problems

To access the orientation module, please visit ORAU Mentor Orientation.