Current scholars: Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions for current EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholars
- What happens once I am selected as an EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship recipient?
- What are the responsibilities of an EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholar?
- What is the purpose of NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
- What is the dress code for NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
- Will I be paid for attending NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
- When will I start receiving scholarship payments?
- Will I be paid for attending the Science and Education Symposium (Final Presentation Week)?
- How does NOAA ensure students are enrolled full-time at a University?
- Can I transfer to another university after I accept a EPP/MSI scholarship?
- May I study abroad during my Jr. or Sr. year?
- Will my award be affected by other student scholarship or internship programs in which I am involved?
- Is my financial award subject to taxes?
- What is the process of obtaining a NOAA identification badge?
The Summer Internship
- How do I find an internship?
- What happens once I have identified a potential internship?
- Can I drive my personal vehicle to my 10-week summer internship?
- Can I drive a government vehicle during my 10-week Summer Internship?
- If I rent a vehicle during my 10-week internship, will I be reimbursed for the cost?
- When will my internship begin?
- When do summer payments begin and how much are they?
- If I work on my project for more than 40 hours per week during the internship, will I be paid overtime?
- How do I find summer housing during the 10-week internship?
- What are the requirements for the Science and Education Symposium (final presentation week)?
- Will NOAA provide printing services for posters during the Science and Education Symposium (final presentation week)?
- Will I be paid for attending the Science and Education Symposium (final presentation week)?
1. What happens once I am selected as an EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship recipient?
Scholarship recipients will be notified by NOAA via an email. NOAA will follow-up with an appointment letter which must be signed and returned indicating acceptance of the scholarship award. All scholars, during the first summer, must participate in an eleven-week summer internship beginning mid-May which includes a 2-week mandatory orientation program at the NOAA Silver Spring Metro Center Campus in Silver Spring, Maryland.
A NOAA support contractor will coordinate the student scholarship recipient's travel and apartment housing arrangements for the first summer internship in Silver Spring, MD. NOAA pays for all pre-approved costs associated with the student scholarship recipients’ travel. Pre-approved taxi and metro fares are reimbursed when accompanied by the appropriate original paperwork and receipts. A recipient, who chooses to drive a personal vehicle to Silver Spring, Maryland, after receiving prior approval from NOAA, will be reimbursed up to the cost of a round-trip airline ticket. NOAA does not recommend or encourage recipients to drive due to limited local parking in Silver Spring, Maryland.
1st Summer Internship: NOAA EPP/MSI USP scholars participate in two summer internships at NOAA facilities. The first summer internship is spent at NOAA Headquarter Offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Scholars are housed in an apartment complex in close proximity to the NOAA Silver Spring campus. Scholars are provided a list of internship opportunities located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area at the start of the first summer.
It is the student's responsibility, with the support of program staff, to identify an internship opportunity of interest and to contact the NOAA mentor to discuss a summer project. If the scholar and the mentor agree, a description of the project is submitted to the NOAA EPP/MSI USP program staff. Scholars may also develop an internship opportunity, in coordination with a NOAA scientist and with the approval of the Program Office, based on their research interest.
2nd Summer Internship: A list of NOAA internship opportunities located nationwide is made available to all Office of Education scholarship recipients in the fall semester. The program requires scholar, in their 2nd year of the program, to travel during to an approved NOAA site to interview and discuss the second summer internship. The site visit (not to exceed three days) provides the scholar with the opportunity to meet with the NOAA scientist(s) and discuss the research project of interest to both NOAA and the scholar for the student's second summer internship. The scholar is also allowed time to identify potential housing during the site visit. Scholars are provided a Travel Request form to complete and submit to the NOAA EPP/MSI program team for review and approval. The scholar begins the second ten-week summer internship the last week of May.
As part of the summer internship, scholars are required to complete a project plan, submit a bi-weekly training record and an evaluation of the program.
2. What are the responsibilities of an EPP/MSI USP student scholar?
Undergraduate student scholars are responsible for:
- Attending the 2-week mandatory orientation program beginning in mid-May during the first year of the appointment;
- Completing an agreed upon summer project within 9 weeks;
- Submitting the Research Training record through an online system every 2 weeks during the summer internship;
- Presenting their project at the end of each summer to the NOAA community in Silver Spring, MD 10 weeks after the internship begins;
- Conducting a site visit to a NOAA facility where the second internship will be conducted; and
- Completing an approved NOAA mission relevant research project during their junior year in coordination with an academic mentor.
- Completing a six month approved NOAA mission relevant public service activity during their senior year.
3. What is the purpose of NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
NOAA provides student scholars the opportunity to learn about the agency, meet senior managers and understand the mission of the agency. NOAA organizations and selected staff offices present their research programs and activities during the mandatory orientation program. In addition, NOAA organizations describe the types of projects that are/may be available for the summer internships.
Also during the mandatory orientation program, program staff present more detailed information about the student scholarship program, including: finding a summer internship, selecting a NOAA mentor, travel procedures, student scholar’s and NOAA mentor’s responsibilities, stipend payments, and meeting the administrative support contractor. Tours of selected NOAA facilities are provided during the orientation.
During the mandatory orientation program, a NOAA E-mail account will be assigned to each participant. Scholars are required to use this assigned account for all official electronic communication with the scholarship management team for the duration of the appointment. Photos are taken for NOAA ID badges that must be used at all NOAA facilities during the summer internships.
4. What is the dress code for NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
During the orientation program and the final presentation week, student scholarship recipients are required to dress in business casual attire. There will be photo opportunities with NOAA senior staff that may appear on NOAA websites, in video clips and print media, brochures, etc.
Examples of business casual attire include:
- Sports jackets
- Slacks (dress and khaki)
- Shirts with collars
The dress code on tours is casual (sneakers, jeans, t-shirts, etc.), however, sagging pants are not acceptable. At no time are cut-off jeans, shirts or blouses displaying midriffs, miniskirts or flip flops appropriate.
5. Will I be paid for attending NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
Yes. The orientation program is part of the 1st summer internship.
6. When will I start receiving scholarship payments?
Student scholarship recipients receive bi-weekly stipends beginning the last week of May. Payments are deposited directly into the student scholar's checking or savings account every other Friday following the orientation program and upon receipt of the signed formal written acceptance of the scholarship award.
7. Will I be paid for attending the Final Presentation Week?
Yes. Student scholars are required to present their summary project reports during the final week and will be paid. The Presentation Week is considered the 10th week of the summer internship.
8. How does NOAA ensure students are enrolled full-time at a college/university?
At the start of each term student scholars are required to submit a Certification of Enrollment to NOAA to ensure that the student scholars continue their major field of study related to NOAA’s mission and are enrolled full-time.
9. Can I transfer to another university after I accept an EPP/MSI USP Scholarship?
Yes. If a scholar transfers to another university or changes their major, NOAA and the support contractor must be notified in writing prior to the transfer or change in major to obtain approval for continued scholarship funds. EPP/MSI USP scholars must attend an MSI for the duration of the scholarship appointment.
10. May I study abroad during my junior or senior year?
Yes. A student scholar may study abroad during their junior or senior year and receive the scholarship. To study abroad and maintain a scholarship the student scholar is required to provide the following documentation:
- A letter from their university indicating they have been approved to study abroad and that the university is an accredited program from which their units will transfer;
- A letter from their study abroad program indicating that the student scholar will be a full-time student, the duration of their study abroad program, and the courses the student scholar will be taking, that the scholar will receive letter grades and the grades will be transferred; and,
- Upon arrival at their study abroad institution, a letter from the institution certifying full-time status with a copy of the student scholar's course schedule and an updated contact information sheet to the EPP/MSI Undergraduate Program staff.
Student scholars must complete their site-visit and finalize all logistics for the upcoming summer internship prior to departing the U.S. for the study abroad academic term.
11. Will my Scholarship be affected by other student scholarship or internship programs in which I am involved?
No. Student scholars are allowed to participate in other student scholarship and internship programs while receiving a NOAA scholarship. However, they must fulfill the requirements of the NOAA EPP/MSI USP which are: participation in the mandatory 2-week orientation program and final week of presentations; maintaining a full-time student status of enrollment; receiving a minimum 3.2 grade point average per academic term, as well as cumulatively; continuing their degree in a major field related to NOAA’s mission; and, participation in the 2 10-week summer internships. Student scholars are not permitted to receive the scholarship if they are employed by the Federal Government. There are no exceptions or substitutions to these program requirements.
12. Is my financial scholarship subject to taxes?
NOAA recommends that all student scholars contact a tax professional to determine tax obligations of financial scholarships.
13. What is the process of obtaining a NOAA ID Badge?
The NOAA ID Badge is required to enter all NOAA facilities during the 11-week summer internships. Therefore, student scholars must adhere to Federal Security Procedures to obtain a NOAA ID Badge. The EPP/MSI USP program team will arrange for the scholar’s fingerprinting in the Silver Spring security office during their 1st week of orientation. All student scholars must bring two forms of picture ID (i.e., state driver’s license, student campus ID) to Silver Spring when reporting for the mandatory May orientation.
1. How do I find a summer Internship?
Opportunities to complete the internship are available throughout the United States and U.S. territories. NOAA offices, programs, and laboratories offer a wide variety of options for the internship experience. Contact the NOAA Office of Education or visit the student opportunities database to explore the range of NOAA opportunities available at a desired location.
NOAA EPP/MSI will provide a username and password to scholars to access the online Student Scholarship Internship Opportunities (SSIO) system that identifies internships nationwide. The summer internship opportunities include a brief description and location of each project, contact information for the NOAA mentor, and a summary of the tasks associated with the project. NOAA program staff are available to assist scholars as needed. However, the scholars are advised to contact the NOAA mentor directly to discuss the project further and to determine their interest. If a mutual agreement is reached, the scholar may e-mail the mentor an updated resume and must e-mail the NOAA EPP/MSI Program information about the summer internship opportunity. After the EPP/MSI Team approves the scholar’s participation, the mentor then decides on the date and time (not to exceed three days) for a site visit. The scholar must submit a Travel Request electronically to the EPP/MSI USP team for approval prior to the site visit. NOAA will e-mail the scholar and NOAA mentor to confirm or disapprove the selection of the summer internship. If approved, EPP/MSI will contact the administrative support contractor, NOAA mentor, and scholar to proceed with travel arrangements. All scholars must finalize their internship selections by March 31.
2. What happens once I have identified a potential Summer Internship?
Once a scholar has identified an internship and receives approval from the EPP/MSI Team, scholars must submit a Travel Request Form to NOAA at email@example.com for site visit approval. NOAA will approve or deny the Travel Request and copy the NOAA mentor and support contractor. If approved, the support contractor will contact the scholar to coordinate travel arrangements for the site visit. Funds are made available for students to conduct only one site visit. The purpose of the site visit is to allow the Scholar to meet the NOAA mentor, their staff, tour the facility, and further discuss the summer project, identify summer housing and assess transportation needs.
The NOAA support contractor will purchase an airline or train ticket, pre-pay the hotel, and reimburse the scholar for pre-approved car rental and meals while in a travel status. Under no circumstances should scholars purchase their own airline, bus, or train ticket to or from their internship site or NOAA Headquarters. Scholars will not be reimbursed for travel costs incurred without approval from the program.
Scholars must submit all original travel receipts for reimbursement to the NOAA administrative support contractor. Only receipts in the scholar’s name will be reimbursed by the contractor. Receipts for meals are not required.
All site visits must be completed by April 15th. Scholars are encouraged to complete the site visit during their winter or quarter break.
Upon completion of the site visit, all scholars are required to submit the completed Site Survey Form to the NOAA Program Staff.
3. Can I drive my personal vehicle to my 10-week Summer Internship?
NOAA does not recommend scholars drive to their summer internship if it is located more than 500 miles (a one-day trip) from their departure city/town. If a scholar does drive, scholars will be reimbursed up to the cost of a round-trip airline ticket for mileage. Pre-approval must be received from NOAA EPP/MSI for scholars to drive their vehicles (no more than 8 hours is recommended).
A vehicle is not required during the internships in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Silver Spring, apartment complex will charge a parking fee directly to the scholar that NOAA will not reimburse.
4. Can I drive a government vehicle during my 10-week Summer Internship?
The NOAA Office of Education, EPP/MSI USP program does not permit scholars to drive government vehicles. In the event an EPP/MSI USP scholar is permitted to drive a government vehicle by their NOAA mentor, the Office of Education will not accept any responsibility or liability to cover insurance or repair claims if the scholar is involved in an accident.
5. If I rent a vehicle during my 10-week Summer Internship, will I be reimbursed for the cost?
NOAA will not approve or pay the cost for rental vehicles for use during the summer internship. It is highly recommended that scholars select a summer internship site where a car is not needed if a scholar does not own a vehicle. Transportation needs should be assessed during the site visit.
6. When will my Summer Internship begin?
For students attending colleges and universities on the semester system, summer orientation and begin the second week of May and ends 11 weeks thereafter. For students on the quarter system, internships may begin mid-June and end 10 weeks later in mid-August. ALL scholarship recipients are required to attend orientation.
7. When do summer payments begin and how much are they?
During the summer internships scholars receive bi-weekly payments of $1,400 which are deposited directly into the scholar’s account. Scholars also receive $300 per week as a housing allowance. The housing allowance is provided only if the scholar does not live at their permanent residence and the scholar's permanent residence is more than 50 miles from their summer internship. The housing allowance is provided to supplement, not entirely cover the cost of summer housing.
8. If I work on my project for more than 40 hours a week, will I be paid overtime?
No. Scholars receive $700.00 per week during the summer internship periods in bi-weekly stipend payments for the training they receive during the internship. Undergraduate scholars are not hired as Federal employees.
9. How do I find summer housing during the 10-week Summer Internship?
During the first summer, scholars reside in Silver Spring, Maryland for the 11 week period. The NOAA EPP/MSI Program office is located in Silver Spring, Maryland and will coordinate housing arrangements.
For all scholars, the housing allowance is $300 per week provided you do not live at your permanent residence or your permanent residence is more than 50 miles away from your summer internship. The housing allowance is not intended to cover all summer housing costs, rather to offset the costs associated with housing. Scholars residing in Silver Spring, Maryland, or other NOAA funded housing will not receive the housing allowance regardless of its cost.
10. What are the requirements for the Final Presentation Week?
Scholars' participation in the final week Symposium in Silver Spring, Maryland, is mandatory each year of the program. The NOAA mentor and scholar will determine if the summer project presentation will be in an oral or poster format.
During the second summer internship, the program requires all scholars to travel to Silver Spring, Maryland, during the tenth week of the internship to present their project in a poster or oral (with Powerpoint) format to the NOAA scientific community. Travel will be coordinated by the NOAA administrative support contractor. NOAA will not reimburse scholars who purchase their own airline, bus, or train ticket, hotel, or car rental without pre-approval from NOAA. Scholars have the option to travel home at the end of their 9th week to deposit their personal effects and travel from their homes to Silver Spring, Maryland. On Monday, all scholars will either load their Powerpoint presentations onto designated laptops and check the video/graphics or mount their poster displays.
11. Will NOAA provide printing services for posters during Final Presentation Week?
Scholars will be reimbursed for the cost of printing posters for their project summary presentation upon submission of the original receipt. Printing services are not provided by NOAA.
12. Will I be paid for attending the Science and Education Symposium?
Yes. Scholars are required to present summary project reports during the final week and will receive a stipend payment. The Science and Education Symposium is considered the 10th week of the summer internship.