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Mentors & Program Coordinators

As a mentor, you are the foundation of a successful research participation program, and you are commended for undertaking this important role. By hosting individuals at your facility, you are contributing to the education and training of the next generation of scientists, as well as advancing the mission of DoD. It is essential that you read through all sections listed below.


 

  • Establishing an ORISE Appointment

    Research appointments are easily and efficiently established.

    ORISE staff will guide you through the process.

  • Introducing Zintellect

    Zintellect, our Research Participation Opportunity Listing and Tracking System, is a powerful tool now in use at all DoD sponsoring offices.

    Zintellect provides listings of internships, research experiences and other experiential learning opportunities funded by government and private sector organizations. Through the system, applicants can access information for hundreds of opportunities, mentors can review and select candidates, participants receive valuable appointment information, and administrators can monitor program recruitment efforts.

    zintellect-screen.png

    Applicants may use Zintellect’s opportunity catalog to view available opportunities and search using keyword, academic level, discipline, organization and program.

    Mentors/program coordinators can search for and view details for opportunities to which they have been assigned or for opportunities open to anyone within their agency or department. Mentors can review applications to opportunities and select candidates.

    To register in Zintellect as a Mentor, go to https://www.zintellect.com.

    ORISE participants go through an onboarding process through Zintellect to ensure a successful appointment experience. Participants also gain access to training modules and courses, including ORISE Learn, a series of online proprietary courses designed to enhance and complement the research experiences afforded through ORISE appointments.

    For technical assistance with Zintellect, contact Zintellect@orau.org.

  • Nature of the Appointment

    The ORISE Research Participation Program provides students, recent graduates, and university faculty opportunities to participate in project specific research and developmental activities that are detailed in the appointment project description.

    An ORISE research participant at DoD is not an employee of ORISE, ORAU, DoD, the host facility, or any other office or agency. Instead, the participant has a guest appointment at the DoD-designated facility and is administratively affiliated with ORISE through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment.

    Inherently government functions (IGF) are those functions that are so intimately related to public interest as to require performance by federal government employees. The participant’s project should not include activities that are reserved for federal employees, nor should the participant provide expert advice; supervise, mentor, hire or fire DoD staff or other ORISE participants; have budget program management or signature authority; carry an official job title; or function in any way as a representative of the federal government.

    Although the participant is involved in a research project under your mentorship, the ORISE program is designed primarily to benefit the participant. The research project gives the participant an opportunity to receive hands-on experience that complements his or her academic course of study. Participants should be encouraged 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.

    • Types of Appointments takes you to the applicant information page. Can we please put the same information as a drop down?
    • Mentor Responsibilities (removed a lot of text, just replace what is there with the text here)

    Mentors should:

    • Work with the DoD program coordinator to make necessary arrangements for the participant to gain access to the facility. Arrange for orientation to the facility and its procedures.
    • Develop a training plan for the participant, including the areas of participation in the research project, attendance in meetings, conferences, special courses, etc. You are welcome to use an Individual Development Plan for this purpose.
    • Provide ongoing technical guidance and advice.
    • Be accessible.
    • Approve travel in a timely fashion. The participant will submit a travel request to you, which needs to be signed and forwarded to the DoD program coordinator for approval.
    • Approve appropriate absences.
    • Make sure that ORISE is immediately informed if stipend payment needs to be adjusted due to an adjusted schedule, an unpaid absence, or an early termination.
    • Assist in preparation of participant’s renewal request or final reports and make recommendations on extension of appointment.
    • Immediately involve ORISE if a participant demonstrates an inability to function effectively within your research environment.

    Mentors should NOT:

    • Consider the participant an employee for any purpose. Participants do not receive a salary nor employee benefits; instead they receive a monthly stipend, which is designed to cover living expenses while engaged in an educational experience.
    • Consider the participant to be performing work.
    • Consider the participant as rendering advisory or personal services.
    • Consider the participant as providing expert advice.
    • Consider the appointment as a commitment to future employment by DoD or others.
    • Consider the appointments 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 a participant.

  • Types of Appointments

    Candidates for an appointment are defined by four categories.

    Find out more

  • Mentor Responsibilities

    Guidelines for establishing a successful mentor relationship with the participant.

    Mentors should:

    • Work with the DoD program coordinator to make necessary arrangements for the participant to gain access to the facility. Arrange for orientation to the facility and its procedures.
    • Be on site the first day of the participant’s appointment or designate a substitute to welcome the participant on your behalf. Introduce the participant to the appropriate staff members.
    • Develop a training plan for the participant, including the areas of participation in the research project, attendance in meetings, conferences, special courses, etc. You are welcome to use this Individual Development Plan for this purpose.
    • Clearly define the activities in which the participant will be involved. Let the participant know your expectations for research progress, professional behavior, compliance, attendance, etc.
    • Provide the participant with information and reading materials related to the specific project prior to the beginning of the appointment or on the participant’s first day.
    • Assist the participant in getting settled into your facility and in becoming a productive member of your facility’s community.
    • Provide the appropriate materials, equipment, safety training, technical and clerical support, and office space for the participant to conduct the project.
    • Provide a nurturing and stimulating intellectual atmosphere for the participant.
    • Encourage the participant to continue his or her education.
    • Encourage the participant to write a report on the research or technical project being conducted during the appointment period.
    • Leave instructions for the participant when you are unavailable, and designate a substitute mentor to serve in your absence.
    • Approve travel in a timely fashion. The participant will submit a travel request to you, which needs to be signed and forwarded to the DoD program coordinator for approval.
    • Provide ongoing technical guidance and advice.
    • Be accessible.
    • Periodically review the status of the participant’s activities and give appropriate feedback.
    • Approve appropriate absences by the participant.
    • Make sure that ORISE is immediately informed if stipend payment needs to be adjusted due to an adjusted schedule, an unpaid absence, or an early termination.
    • Assist in preparation of participant’s renewal request or final reports and make recommendations on extension of appointment.
    • Immediately involve ORISE if a participant demonstrates an inability to function effectively within your research environment.

    Mentors should NOT:

    • Consider the participant an employee for any purpose. Participants do not receive a salary nor employee benefits; instead they receive a monthly stipend, which is designed to cover living expenses while engaged in an educational experience.
    • Consider the participant to be performing work.
    • Consider the participant as rendering advisory or personal services.
    • Consider the participant as providing expert advice.
    • Consider the appointment as a commitment to future employment by DoD or others.
    • Consider the appointments 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 a participant.
  • Identifying a Project and Posting the Opportunity

    The first step in establishing a research appointment is to identify a suitable research project.

    An appropriate project should provide hands-on experience that will complement a participant’s academic studies in his/her chosen STEM field. The project should require full-time attention (40 hours per week), unless a part-time appointment is requested.

    Once you have identified a research project, please contact ORISE to post the opportunity in Zintellect, ORISE’s online opportunity catalogue and application system.

    All opportunities must be posted in Zintellect before an applicant is selected to ensure that there is a fair and competitive application process. Potential candidates identified through other means (such as word of mouth or at networking events) must still apply to the posted opportunity in Zintellect.

    ORISE can also offer additional assistance with targeted recruitment strategies for those hard-to-find candidates in less common STEM fields. To request more information about recruitment, please reach out to your ORISE point of contact.

     

  • Candidate Selection

    A streamlined process is in place for screening applicants and determining the candidate.

    DoD mentors/program coordinators review and rate applicants, then select their candidate of choice – all within the Zintellect system. To register in Zintellect as a Mentor, go to https://www.zintellect.com.  For more information, reach out to your ORISE point of contact.

  • Time Schedules and Handling Absences

    All participants should be on-site at the facility and should avoid obligations that will interrupt the appointment. Appointments are typically fulltime. Part-time appointments are also available.

    The schedule/pattern of participation is established by the mentor and the participant, and it generally coincides with the operating hours of the assigned facility. Based on sponsor approved guidelines, the mentor may approve absences during the appointment year. As such, mentors should discuss expectations and scheduling with their participants prior to the appointment start date.

    General Information:

    • Participants in the ORISE program are not employees and are not entitled to annual/personal or medical/sick leave, or overtime compensation.
    • Participants do not report on federal holidays nor during emergency closings of the facility. The stipend is not impacted.

    For safety and security, please notify ORISE of all changes in participation.

     

  • How to Renew a Participant

    The renewal request is initiated by the mentor, preferably at least one month prior to the participant’s current end date to allow enough processing time.

    Appointment renewal is based on the recommendation of the mentor and approval of the DoD program coordinator, and is contingent upon project needs and funding availability. Once ORISE has received the renewal request from the program coordinator, ORISE will process the paperwork and then send the participant a renewal letter for signature.

  • Ending an Appointment

    Appointment end dates must be strictly observed.

    The duration of the research appointment is specified in the appointment letter (and any subsequent renewal letters) that a participant receives from ORISE. Appointment end dates may not be changed without the appropriate communication from ORISE. 

    Ending an Appointment Early

    Should a participant need to leave the program before the scheduled end-date of the appointment, the participant should directly inform ORISE by email and copy the DoD mentor and program coordinator. Non-U.S. citizens should also copy the ORISE immigration office. A minimum of two weeks of notice is requested. Providing insufficient notice or failure to communicate directly with ORISE, could result in unnecessary complications with final stipend payments. 

    All appointments are contingent on availability of funds. Appointments without adequate funding may be suspended until funds become available; should funds not become available, the appointment would end early.

  • Mentor and Program Coordinator Required Training

    Instructions for taking required Zintellect training

    All mentors and program coordinators are required to complete the ORISE Training on Zintellect. Follow the steps below to register. (If you already have an account, skip to item 3 below).  

    1. Register as a mentor at www.zintellect.com.
    2. ORISE will approve your account (typically within 24 hours).
    3. Log into Zintellect, and complete the mentor training (approximately 23 minutes in length).

    Note: Additional training modules will be added to Zintellect throughout the year. You will be prompted to take the required training when you log in. For technical support in Zintellect, contact Zintellect@orau.org.

  • Additional Resources for Mentors

    Whether you’re a first-time or a seasoned mentor, there are resources that can help provide new insights to your mentoring process.

    Because ORISE believes that good mentoring is the cornerstone of quality educational programs, our staff has developed an online mentor orientation module. Please note this is different from the required mentor training in Zintellect. 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 Research 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 ORISE Mentor Orientation.

    For additional information on mentoring, please see  Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering, developed by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

  • Participant Information

    This page can help you answer questions from participants. 

    Find out more


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