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NOAA Mentors Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about how to host a Hollings scholar are answered here.

Contents:

  1. What is the role of the NOAA mentor?
  2. How do scholars select a NOAA mentor?
  3. As a potential mentor with a single opportunity and several inquiries, how do I determine which scholar is best suited for the position?
  4. Is there training available for NOAA mentors?
  5. Can NOAA mentors host more than one scholar?
  6. Do NOAA mentors provide a NOAA Badge?
  7. Will the NOAA mentor create a NOAA e-mail account for the student scholar?
  8. Can the NOAA mentor change the summer project?
  9. Can the NOAA mentor assign multiple projects to the scholar?
  10. Can the NOAA mentor pay for the scholar's travel to NOAA field sites and/or conferences?
  11. Can the NOAA mentor attend the final presentations? Will OEd pay for the NOAA mentor's travel?
  12. What is the NOAA program evaluation process?

1. What is the role of the NOAA mentor?

  • Completing Mentor trainingoffsite link at: https://doc.csod.com
  • Signing the scholar's Project/Research Training Report every two weeks;
  • Providing guidance on technology, science, outreach, policy, operations, education, and/or research activities;
  • Conducting a mid-term assessment and providing the scholar and Hollings scholarship program staff with your comments;
  • Supporting the scholar's presentation during the 10th week of the internship; and
  • Completing an evaluation form upon completion of the internship and e-mail it to StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov.

The NOAA mentor selected by the scholar is responsible for: providing the scholar with a NOAA-related project in support of the scholar's academic field of study that can be completed in 9-weeks; day-to-day guidance as needed; office space; a computer; and, access to a telephone, fax, and the internet. NOAA mentors will provide guidance on the research, science, operations, outreach, or policy topic, as well as assist the scholar in the selection of appropriate coursework related to NOAA's mission for the duration of the scholar's participation in the program. The NOAA mentor will assess the scholar's progress during a mid-term and final evaluation, and provide the scholar with constructive feedback.

Within the first two weeks of the summer internship, the NOAA mentor and scholar should complete and sign a Project Plan for the Hollings Scholarship Program and e-mail the signed plan to the Hollings scholarship program staff at StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov.

NOAA mentors will receive the scholar’s NOAA ID badge at least one week prior to the scholar’s arrival at their facility for the summer internship. The mentor is to confirm arrival of the scholar’s NOAA ID badge at their facility with the Hollings scholarship program staff at StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov.

The NOAA mentor is responsible for:

2. How do scholars select a NOAA mentor?

Scholars are provided a list of nationwide NOAA internship projects beginning in October of their junior year. Scholars contact the prospective NOAA mentor to discuss the project further to determine their interest. If a mutual agreement is reached, the scholar must e-mail the Hollings scholarship program staff information about the summer internship project and provide their resume to the NOAA mentor. After the Hollings scholarship program staff approves the scholar's participation in a project, the scholar and the NOAA mentor will select the date and time (not to exceed three days) for the site visit, which the scholar will coordinate with NOAA scholarship program staff.

3. As a potential mentor with a single opportunity and several inquiries, how do I determine which scholar is best suited for the position?

The selection process is like a job interview. Potential scholars are asked questions about their skills; their academic, scientific, and research interests; and their overall success in courses relevant to the NOAA mentor's project, etc. The mentor should be mindful of the information exchange with the potential scholar because the scholars are contacting several potential NOAA mentors, and must also agree to the selection.

4. Is there training available for NOAA mentors?

Yes. Mentor training is required. Mentor training is available at the Commerce Learning Centeroffsite link.

After completing the training, please send the Hollings Scholarship Program staff a copy of the training certificate at StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov.

5. Can NOAA mentors host more than one scholar?

Yes. NOAA mentors may host more than one scholar per summer, provided each scholar has a discreet project assigned to him/her; hence, scholars may not share a NOAA project.

6. Do NOAA mentors provide a NOAA Badge? 

No. NOAA Badges are mailed to the designated mentor for their scholar prior to the scholar’s arrival at the NOAA facility for the summer internship. NOAA badges are collected from the scholars during the final presentations week in Silver Spring, Maryland, by the NOAA Office of Education (OEd).

7. Will the NOAA mentor create a NOAA e-mail account for the student scholar? 

No. The NOAA Office of Education creates and maintains NOAA e-mail accounts for all scholars for their 2-year term in the scholarship program. The scholars are fully supported by the Hollings Scholarship Program for the 10 weeks they spend at NOAA operating units. The scholar’s email accounts will be maintained by the OFA Mail Admin Group and will not be transferred to other operating units.

8. Can the NOAA mentor change the summer project?

If a NOAA mentor needs to change the summer project, the NOAA mentor can request to change the project with the scholar and in coordination with the Hollings Scholarship program staff. Project changes must be agreed upon by the NOAA mentor, scholar and Hollings Scholarship program staff. If the new project is found to be unsuitable for the scholar, the scholar is required to select another NOAA mentor and project for the remainder of the summer internship.

9. Can the NOAA mentor assign multiple projects to the scholar? 

No. Each scholar must have one project which can be completed in 9-weeks. At the end of the 9 weeks, the scholar must present the results of that project to the NOAA scientific community in Silver Spring, Maryland. Awards are given for outstanding presentations.

10. Can the NOAA mentor pay for the scholar's travel to NOAA field sites and/or conferences?

Yes. If funds are available, NOAA mentors may pay for travel to NOAA field sites, conferences and meetings that would enhance the scholar's summer internship experience and add value to their project. The Hollings Scholarship Program has funds to support the travel for the scholar to two conferences during their term in the scholarship. NOAA mentors are encouraged to work with their scholar to submit an abstract to a professional conference where the scholar presents the results of their summer internship.

11. Can the NOAA mentor attend the final presentations? Will OEd pay for the NOAA mentor's travel?

NOAA mentors are encouraged to attend the final presentations both to support their scholar as well as to assist with the judging process. However, NOAA Office of Education is unable to provide any travel support to Silver Spring, Maryland, for the NOAA mentor to attend the final week of presentations.

12. What is the NOAA program evaluation process? 

At the end of the summer internship, NOAA mentors receive an evaluation form from the Hollings Scholarship Program staff. NOAA mentors are asked to evaluate the scholar's preparedness, contribution, and performance during the summer internship. Scholars also complete an evaluation to provide feedback on their experience with the project and the NOAA mentor.

For more information, please see: How to Host an Undergraduate Scholar