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 EERE and DOE.

Mentors should:

  • At the beginning of the appointment (before your intern 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 intern 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 intern on your behalf.  Introduce them to the appropriate staff members.
  • Provide a nurturing and stimulating intellectual atmosphere.
  • Encourage your intern 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 intern when you are unavailable, and designate a substitute mentor to serve in your absence.

Status of Program Participants

The EERE Robotics Internship Program provides participants with opportunities for hands-on experience that complement their academic course of study. Please encourage your intern 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 person you are hosting is not an employee performing a job, and there are restrictions on the types of assignments that you can make. For example, the intern's project should not include work activities that are reserved for your regular employees or federal employees, nor should the project require the intern 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 your organization or the federal government.

Time Schedules

A full-time intern is making a full-time commitment and should avoid obligations that will interrupt the appointment. Your intern should be assigned a project that demands full-time attention (based on 40 hours per week). Part-time interns’ assignments should also be based on their appointment agreements.

Interns 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 an intern's schedule that will result in a different stipend payment than regularly received.

Interns are paid for holidays that are considered paid holidays by your organization. For holidays and emergency closings, the intern follows the same schedule as your facility.

Should your intern 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 that may necessitate a change in regular stipend payments is essential.

Suggestions for a Successful Relationship

Mentors should NOT:

Consider your intern an employee for any purpose. Interns receive no salary or fringe benefits, but receive a stipend during their educational experience.

Consider your intern to be performing work; rather, the intern is participating in an educational experience.

Consider them as rendering advisory or personal services.

Consider them as providing expert advice.

Consider the appointment as a commitment to future employment by EERE or others. Although the internship is an excellent opportunity to preview the quality of an intern in consideration for your future employment needs and could result in an employment offer; it is not an employment commitment in and of itself.

Assign program management authority, signature authority, or official job titles to your intern

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.

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.