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Frequently Asked Questions: For mentors of EPP/MSI graduate students & NERTO

❮ NOAA Experiential Research & Training Opportunities (NERTO) website

 

Mentoring a graduate-level EPP Cooperative Science Center-funded student

  1. Do all Cooperative Science Center-funded graduate students need a NOAA mentor?
  2. What is the role of the NOAA mentor for an EPP-funded graduate student’s thesis or dissertation research
  3. What is the time commitment required for a NOAA mentor serving on an EPP-funded student’s thesis or dissertation committee or for a postdoctoral fellow’s research?
  4. What is the time commitment for mentoring an EPP-funded student on a 12-week NERTO internship project at a NOAA facility?
  5. Must a NOAA mentor be an official member of a student’s graduate degree committee?
  6. What are tested and optimal approaches for EPP-funded graduate students to be matched with a NOAA mentor?
  7. Does the NOAA mentor for a CSC graduate student have to create a project in the Student Scholarship Internship Opportunity (SSIO) database?
  8. Is there recommended training for NOAA mentors?

Mentoring for a NOAA Experiential Research Training Opportunity (NERTO)

 
NERTO internship logistics
  1. What are the NOAA host office responsibilities for hosting an EPP CSC-supported cohort student?
  2. Who funds the EPP CSC student during the NOAA internship?
  3. At end of a NOAA internship, is employment with NOAA guaranteed?
  4. Are all EPP-funded CSC post-secondary cohort students required to complete a NERTO and is there a minimum duration for a NERTO?
  5. Can participation in research cruises be considered a NERTO?
  6. Do EPP CSC-supported students need to have a background check to participate in NERTOs?
  7. Who should I contact for additional questions or information?
Using the Student Scholarship Internship Opportunity (SSIO) database
  1. Is there a template for preparation of NOAA internship projects that are to be uploaded in the SSIO online system?
  2. Is there a way to distinguish NOAA internship projects for EPP Cooperative Science Center-supported students in the SSIO?
  3. Is there an instruction page for using the NOAA internship projects through the SSIO online portal?
  4. How would one know if an SSIO project is tagged for CSC students?
  5. How do EPP CSC students learn about internship opportunities in the SSIO?
  6. How does an EPP CSC student apply for an opportunity listed in the SSIO?
  7. What is the typical application package for an EPP CSC graduate level student SSIO project?
  8. Who submits a CSC application for a NOAA Internship associated with an SSIO projects?

Mentoring a graduate-level EPP Cooperative Science Center-funded student

 

1. Do Cooperative Science Center-funded graduate students need a NOAA mentor?

Yes, a NOAA mentor is required for NOAA mission-alignment of the Cooperative Science Center-funded student's thesis or dissertation research.

2. What is the role of the NOAA mentor for an EPP-funded graduate student’s thesis or dissertation research?

The NOAA mentor on the EPP-funded CSC cohort graduate student’s committee is a valuable contributor to ensure the research is NOAA mission-aligned and meets the requirements for the student to be considered a competitive candidate for the future NOAA mission workforce. The NOAA mentor must be engaged early in developing the EPP-funded student’s graduate level thesis/dissertation research project.

3. What is the time commitment required for a NOAA mentor serving on an EPP-funded student’s thesis or dissertation committee or for a postdoctoral fellow’s research?

The time commitment required by a NOAA mentor is situational and dependent on a number of factors. When all partners plan for an engagement early in the process, they can more accurately determine the time requirement. The specific time commitment by the NOAA mentor is determined by the attributes of the project. The following factors provide guidance to estimate time commitments:

  • An actual time commitment is generated collaboratively with the academic advisor and NOAA mentor and varies depending on the status of the participant’s project. Front end engagement (e.g. developing, reviewing and agreeing on a research project) and planning can range from 10 – 20 hours prior to the student beginning an internship or research experience at a NOAA facility;
  • Frequency of meetings between the CSC participant and the NOAA mentor may average one hour daily; 
  • Frequency of meetings with the NOAA mentor, academic advisor and CSC participant may occur on an as needed basis, but a minimum of one hour weekly is recommended once the experience begins; and,
  • Engagement in the development, planning, and approval stages of the EPP CSC postdoctoral fellow's six-month in-residence research at a NOAA facility, will require commitments ranging from 2 - 4 days for pre-residence and a minimum of one hour weekly (recommended) once the experience begins.

4. What is the time commitment for mentoring an EPP-funded student during a 12-week NERTO internship project at a NOAA facility?

The specific time commitment by the NOAA mentor is determined by the attributes of the project and the specific student experience. Prior to beginning the NERTO,  the amount of time invested by the NOAA mentor is gauged by discussion, review, and clearance of the 12-week internship plan. The following provides guidance to estimate time commitments for NOAA employees supporting a NERTO project:

  • Planning for a NERTO engagement, as with all collaborations, requires early engagement of the CSC academic advisor, the NOAA mentor and the student in the development of the 12-week NERTO internship plan which determines the time requirements;
  • Frequency of contact time between the CSC student and the NOAA mentor during the NERTO at a NOAA facility is determined by student and mentor, during the first week of the project, and may be adjusted as needed; and,
  • Once the project has begun, the frequency of status meetings between the NOAA mentor, academic advisor and CSC student should occur, at a minimum, one hour biweekly.

5. Must a NOAA mentor be an official member of a student’s graduate degree committee?

No. For an EPP-funded graduate student, the NOAA mentor provides the expertise to ensure that the student’s NOAA-mission aligned research is completed using best-in-class methodologies. The NOAA mentor may serve as an official member of a student’s graduate degree committee if he or she is appropriately accredited and meets the institutional academic program requirements. Serving as an official member of a student’s graduate degree committee is at the discretion of the academic institution.

6. What are tested and optimal approaches for EPP-funded graduate students to be matched with a NOAA mentor?

There are numerous approaches to achieve success.  Provided here are recommended actions from Cooperative Science Center administration at the lead institutions.

The Cooperative Science Center Director provides the EPP/MSI Program Office and Technical Monitors with:

  • listing of all EPP-funded CSC graduate students, degree program and their areas of interest;
  • one-page research topic synopsis for NOAA review, comment, and NOAA mentor-identification, for each CSC graduate student; 
  • selected SSIO projects that match their CSC student's interest for either their thesis/dissertation or NERTO research;
  • request that shows exisiting SSIO projects that were refined and focused to address CSC students' area of interest to conduct research with a NOAA mentor; and,
  • identify area(s) of interest to conduct research with NOAA mentor(s) using the OneNOAA seminar series as a resource.

7. Is the NOAA research mentor for a CSC graduate student's thesis or dissertation research required  to create a project in the Student Scholarship Internship Opportunity (SSIO) database?

No. Only NOAA mentors hosting CSC graduate students for NERTO projects are required to enter projects into the SSIO system. Every NERTO project must be approved by the EPP/MSI Program Office through the SSIO.

8. Is there recommended training for NOAA mentors?

NOAA mentor training is accessible via the Commerce Learning Center (CLC)offsite link – any of the modules on Essential Mentoring Techniques are valuable. The NOAA Office of Education recommends Essential Mentoring Techniques: Mentoring Fundamentals as a baseline course for all NOAA mentors.

Mentoring for a NOAA Experiential Research Training Opportunity (NERTO)

 
NERTO internship logistics

1. What are the NOAA host office responsibilities for hosting an EPP CSC-supported Cohort student?

The NOAA host office:

  • enters NOAA internship project(s) for review and approval action in the SSIO online system;
  • completes the selection and offer process in coordination with the EPP/MSI Program Office;  
  • identifies a NOAA Federal Employee to host the EPP CSC--supported cohort student;
  • arranges and completes logistical requirements for the NOAA internship (e.g. NOAA badging, NOAA computer system setup and access - including network access, and email, and space).

2. Who funds the EPP CSC student during the NOAA internship?

The EPP CSC award supports the EPP CSC cohort student during the NERTO at the NOAA facility. Queries about funding the CSC student are sent to oed.epp10@noaa.gov.

3. At end of the NOAA internship, is employment with NOAA guaranteed?

No. NOAA internships do not have an employment guarantee by NOAA at the end of the internship period.

4. Are all EPP-funded CSC post-secondary cohort students required to complete a NERTO and is there a minimum duration for a NERTO?

The NERTO requirement applies only to CSC-supported Master's and Doctoral level cohort students. The NERTO duration for EPP CSC graduate students must be completed, at a NOAA facility, for a minimum duration of 12 contiguous weeks and a maximum duration of one year.

5. Can participation in research cruises be considered a NERTO?

During research cruises, contact time with a NOAA mentor would be a factor in determining if the CSC students' participation meets the NERTO requirement. Participation in research cruises is a professional development activity for any CSC-supported student.

6. Do EPP CSC-supported students need to have a background check to participate in NERTOs?

Yes. Badges are required to access NOAA facilities and computers. Therefore, students must have a background check which must be completed successfully.

7. Who should I contact for additional questions or information?

Please contact the EPP Program office either via email (oed.epp10@noaa.gov) or by phone at 301-628-2913.

 

Using the Student Scholarship Internship Opportunity (SSIO) database

1. Is there a template for preparation of NOAA internship projects that are to be uploaded in the SSIO online system?

Yes, the template for graduate level student projects is an online form accessible from the SSIO (lower left on web page).

2. Is there a way to distinguish NOAA internship projects for EPP Cooperative Science Center-supported students in the SSIO?

Yes, when submitting the project in the SSIO, the NOAA mentor includes “for CSC student” in the title of the NOAA Internship projects for EPP CSC-support student(s). The title with tag “for CSC student” allows easy access to SSIO projects by CSCs.

3. Is there an instruction page for using the NOAA internship projects through the SSIO online portal?

The SSIO provides guidance for creating student projects.

4. How would one know if an SSIO project is tagged for CSC students?

If an opportunity has in title or in the project description, “for CSC students”, then the opportunity is specifically developed and available for EPP CSC students.

5. How do EPP CSC students learn about internship opportunities in the SSIO?

The EPP CSC Director designates a CSC SSIO/NERTO Administrator. The CSC SSIO/NERTO Administrator is provided access to the SSIO and retrieves information on a regularly scheduled basis for the EPP CSC students at the Center. The CSC award recipient institution has the responsibility to ensure all EPP CSC cohort graduate level students have early access to NERTO projects. 

6. How does an EPP CSC student apply for an opportunity listed in the SSIO?

The CSC students prepare the application package using the information listed in the SSIO for the specific project. The application is submitted to EPP/MSI Program Office through the Center Director.

7. What is the typical application package for an EPP CSC graduate level student SSIO project?

A typical SSIO application package includes:

  • Letters of recommendation, including one from the Center Director;
  • Resume;
  • Unofficial transcript; and,
  • Letter of Interest (2 pages max) that addresses the following: Statement of academic and career plan, interest in, and reasons for applying for the specific SSIO project, as well as what the student expects to gain from the NOAA internship experience.

8. Who submits a CSC application for a NOAA internship associated with an SSIO projects?

The complete application package for a NOAA internship for an EPP CSC cohort student is prepared by the student and submitted by the Center Director or designee to oed.epp10@noaa.gov.