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 ARS.
Although the research participant you host is involved in a project and participates in the program under your mentorship, the program is designed primarily to serve the participant. The project gives the participant an opportunity to receive 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 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 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.
A full-time participant should be on-site at your facility and should avoid obligations that will interrupt the appointment. The participant with a full-time appointment should be assigned a research project that demands full-time attention (based on 40 hours per week).
Participants do not earn annual or medical leave, but may be allowed up to fourteen personal days a year without a reduction of their stipend. The number of personal days will be prorated for shorter/part-time appointments. All absences must be approved in advance by you, the mentor.
Should a participant need more time off in a year (for an illness, emergency, etc.), he or she should notify you; you would then secure the necessary approval through your program office and then ORISE should immediately be informed (either by you or through your administrative officer). 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.
At the beginning of the appointment (before the participant arrives or on the first day), provide the participant with information and reading materials related to the specific project.
Work with your administrative officer 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.
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.
Because we believe that good mentoring is the cornerstone of quality educational programs, ORISE staff 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.