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Frequently Asked Questions

About the DOE Scholars Program

  • The DOE Scholars Program is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-wide program that complements other DOE workforce development initiatives. The program is designed to promote DOE's strategic objectives of creating a pipeline of highly qualified participants in disciplinary fields that support programs in mission-critical areas.

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

  • The DOE Scholars Program offers opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates to receive hands-on experiences that provide them with an understanding of the mission, operations, and culture of DOE. Scholars may be assigned to research, technical or policy-related projects.

  • ORISE provides Zintellect a custom, convenient platform for applying to all the DOE Scholars Program.  Eligibility requirements may differ. To qualify for an opportunity, you must meet the eligibility requirements detailed for the opportunity in Zintellect.

  • To be considered you must be pursuing a degree or have a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) discipline or have demonstrated interest or experience in a field that supports the DOE operations mission including but not limited to communications, management, business and law.

Eligibility

  • To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

    • Be a U.S. citizen.
    • Be at least 18 years of age.
    • Meet one of the following conditions:
      • Be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited institution of higher education.
      • Have completed an undergraduate (B.A., B.S. or equivalent) or graduate (M.S., DVM, Ph.D., or equivalent) degree within five years of the intended start date.
      • Be a U.S. military Veteran who has been honorably discharged and/or who has been medically discharged because of a service-connected disability and who received a college degree in an appropriate discipline within ten years of the desired start date.
      • Have completed a qualifying certificate program within one year of the desired start date. The qualifying certificate program must be offered by an accredited academic institution; must require a minimum of 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent; must be in an appropriate science, technology, engineering, or math discipline; and should be related to or complement a prior degree earned (bachelor’s degree or higher).
    • Be pursuing a degree or have a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) discipline or a field that supports the DOE operations mission including but not limited to communications, management, business and law.

    Other opportunities offered through the DOE Scholars Program may have different eligibility requirements depending on project assignment.

    The DOE Scholars Program 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.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen at the time of application. No exceptions are allowed and proof of citizenship is required upon selection.

  • 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.

  • Eligibility requirements have been expanded for Veterans who have been honorably discharged or who are disabled service members to allow them the opportunity to use the technical and leadership skills they gained during their military tenure and to assist them in the transition to civilian status.

Application and Selection

  • The main competition will close in January. This competition seeks candidates primarily for summer appointments. However, additional opportunities may be available during the year depending on the needs of the sponsoring offices. The deadline for these opportunities depends on the needs of the sponsoring offices. We encourage you to visit this site often for updates.

    The deadline for additional opportunities offered during the year depends on the needs of the sponsoring offices. We encourage you to visit this site often for updates.

  • To apply, you may upload unofficial transcripts or copies of the student academic records printed from internal institutional systems. If selected, you will have to provide copies of official transcripts before you can start an appointment.

  • You will know that your portion of the application is complete when you are able to submit it. Zintellect will stop you from submitting it if any required information is missing, and will let you know what to fix. The application however is not considered complete until a recommendation has been submitted on your behalf. You can check the status in your Zintellect dashboard.

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

  • Yes.  Editing an application requires you unsubmit your application. You must submit your application again before the opportunity closes to be considered for the opportunity. 

  • You will enter your recommender’s contact information in Zintellect, and requests will be sent automatically when you submit your application. There is also a “send now” button that you can use to send the requests before you submit your application. It’s a good idea to let your recommender know to watch for an email from zintellect@orau.org.

    You can view the status of your recommendation and resend your recommendation requests from the application card on your dashboard after the application is submitted.

  • You may request more than one recommendation but only the first one received will be attached to your application.

    If you fear that your recommendation will not be available to submit a recommendation by the deadline, we highly encourage you to consider adding a new recommendation!

  • If you have requested a recommendation from someone previously, he/she will get another request for recommendation and will have the option to reuse the prior recommendation or customize the recommendation for the opportunity.

  • All recommendations must be submitted via Zintellect. If your recommender has problems submitting a recommendation on your behalf, please ask him/her to contact us at DOEScholars@orise.orau.gov.

  • Your application will be reviewed by the staff of the sponsoring/hosting facilities. They are looking for a match between their available projects and your educational background, experience, interests, skills and career goals.

  • Sponsoring offices may choose to start reviewing applications and making selections as soon as applications are received. Hence, you should not wait until the last minute to submit an application.

    Most selections for summer appointments will be made by April 30, but the selection process may extend through May. 

    ORISE will send a letter of appointment via Zintellect. Hosting office/site representatives, including potential mentors, do not have the authority to offer or guarantee a DOE Scholars appointment. Only ORISE, on behalf of DOE, can offer an appointment through the DOE Scholars Program.

  • 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.

  • The number of DOE Scholars appointments varies each year. There is no way of knowing the number and quality of the applications received. One thing is certain, however: If you don't apply, you certainly won't be selected.

Appointment Information

  • Appointments can start at any time during the year. Generally, summer appointments begin in June, but early starts may occur at sponsoring office request and depending on the candidate’s availability.

  • You can talk with your assigned mentor about adjusting your appointment dates if there are conflicts with your class schedule, issues with housing, or other reasons that the appointment dates (given in your letter of appointment) won’t work for you.

  • Typically, summer appointments are for 10 weeks but may be extended depending on the sponsoring office needs, funding and candidate’s availability.

  • Available appointments will be determined by sponsoring DOE offices/facilties. Locations vary by year depending upon sponsoring office needs and available funding. See potential locations.

  • You will have the opportunity to indicate your interest in a particular area of DOE research, DOE Headquarters office, a DOE site office, or location in your application. Your preferences will be taken into consideration in during the selection process.

  • Yes,  you are eligible to receive reimbursement up to $1,000 for transportation expenses  from your home or institution if your relocate from an address that 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. Details of any allowance limitations will be included in your letter of appointment. Reimbursements are made according to the federally approved travel policy.

  • Some of the appointments are located in areas without public transportation and having your personal vehicle may be needed. You are responsible for your own daily transportation to and from your appointment site.

  • You are responsible for securing your own living space and determining the means of local transportation prior to arriving at the assigned appointment site. Some appointment sites may be able to provide assistance in locating housing and/or provide additional funds for housing.

  • Your stipend will be based on your academic status. In order to receive the graduate student stipend, you must be enrolled as a graduate student or have completed your undergraduate or graduate degree. You will be required to verify your academic status before your appointment starts.

    If you have completed an associate degree, you will be considered an undergraduate student and receive a stipend consistent with an undergraduate student status.

  • ORISE administers all stipend payments and does not withhold taxes from these payments. You are responsible for reporting and paying the appropriate state and federal taxes. You are encouraged to consult a tax professional regarding state and federal income tax requirements.

  • Your appointment is not guaranteed until you receive, sign, and return your official letter. Additionally, if the DOE Scholars Program does provide travel assistance, it is important that you work with ORISE to verify that costs are allowable.

  • As a program participant, you are not entitled to vacation or sick leave; however, you are not expected to be present on days that your facility is closed due to a holiday. Occasional absences may be approved by your mentor.

  • Your stipends will be directly deposited into your bank account. A stipend schedule will be provided. You should be prepared to cover all expenses for the first 30 days of your appointment.

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

  • No, you will not enter into an employer/employee relationship with ORISE, the host site, or DOE. You will be considered an educational program participant. You are not eligible to receive any employment-related benefits, such as paid vacation or sick/medical leave or unemployment compensation.

  • You may be asked to participate in seminars, poster sessions, and symposia during your appointment. You may also be asked to submit a final report to your mentor.  In order to document the effectiveness of the program, you are required to submit a pre- and post-internship survey to assess the effectiveness of the program in meeting objectives and document your experience.

  • Your mentor should provide the following:

    • On-going technical guidance and advice
    • Appropriate materials, equipment, technical and clerical support, and office space
    • A nurturing and stimulating intellectual atmosphere

General Questions

  • You may review eligibility and general program information for other education and research opportunities in Zintellect.

  • Please visit the Contact page for more information.