DOE Scholars Program

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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 DOE.

Mentors should:

  • Develop a training plan for your 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 ORISE 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 ORISE if your participant demonstrates an inability to function effectively within your environment.
  • Immediately involve ORISE if any concerning incidents occur or if the participant registers a serious concern.

Status of Program Participants

The DOE Scholars 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.

Because the primary purpose of the program is educational, the Participant takes part in the assigned program solely for the educational benefit it provides.  The Participant’s assigned project should not include activities that are reserved for federal employees nor should it require him/her to perform inherently governmental functions such as:  supervise or mentor federal employees or federal contractor staff, 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 should clearly identify her/himself as a Participant at all times and not as an employee of DOE, ORISE, or the host facility or sponsoring agency.

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). Part-time participants’ assignments should also be based on their appointment agreements.

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.

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, ORISE should immediately be informed (either by you or through your program coordinator). It is imperative that ORISE 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 the participant choose to end the appointment early, it is essential that you notify ORISE of the early termination immediately. Your cooperation in making sure that ORISE is always informed – with as much notice as possible – of any schedule changes which may necessitate a change in regular stipend payments is essential.

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 DOE 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

Suggestions for a Successful Relationship


Additional Information

Because we believe that good mentoring is the cornerstone of quality educational programs, ORAU/ORISE 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:

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