Frequently asked questions for current scholars
- What happens once I am selected as a NOAA Hollings Scholarship recipient?
- What are the responsibilities of a NOAA Hollings student 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 Hollings scholarship?
- May I study abroad during my junior or senior 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 if I contact a NOAA scientist not listed in the SSIO database?
- 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 a NOAA Hollings scholarship recipient?
Successful scholarship recipients will be notified by NOAA via email. NOAA will follow-up with an appointment letter which must be signed and returned indicating acceptance of the scholarship award. All scholars must participate in a one-week mandatory orientation program at the NOAA Silver Spring Metro Center Campus in Silver Spring, Maryland during the last week of May (travel commences the Memorial Day holiday).
A NOAA support contractor will coordinate the scholars travel and hotel arrangements for the one-week mandatory orientation program held at the NOAA Silver Spring Metro Center Campus in Silver Spring, Maryland. Public transportation to and from the airport to a hotel in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland will be the responsibility of the scholar. Scholars will be reimbursed the cost of public ground transportation. 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 paperwork and receipts. A recipient who chooses to drive a personal vehicle to Silver Spring, Maryland for the Orientation Program, upon receiving prior approval from Hollings Scholarship program staff , will be reimbursed up to the cost of a round-trip airline ticket. Hollings Scholarship program staff does not recommend nor encourage scholars to drive due to limited local parking in Silver Spring, MD. Parking cost at the hotel and NOAA Silver Spring Campus are the responsibility of the scholar.
2. What are the responsibilities of a NOAA Hollings student scholar?
Hollings scholars are responsible for:
- Attending the mandatory orientation program the last week of May;
- Conducting an internship site visit during their winter semester or quarter break;
- Completing an agreed upon project within 9 weeks during the summer internship;
- Completing bi-weekly project/research status reports during the summer internship;
- Presenting their project results to the NOAA community in Silver Spring, Maryland, during the Science and Education Symposium the last week of July/first week of August; and
- Submitting a certification of enrollment and official transcript to the Hollings scholarship program staff at the start of each semester.
3. What is the purpose of NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
NOAA provides 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 program activities during the mandatory orientation program. In addition, NOAA organizations describe the types of projects that are/may be available for the summer internships.
During the mandatory orientation program, Hollings Scholarship program staff present detailed information about the scholarship program including selecting a summer internship, travel procedures, scholar's and NOAA mentor's responsibilities, and stipend payments. Tours of NOAA facilities will be provided.
Also during the mandatory orientation program, scholars will be assigned NOAA e-mail accounts (which will be used for all official electronic communication between scholars and NOAA after the mandatory orientation program) and NOAA ID badges.
4. What is the dress code for NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
During the mandatory orientation program and the final presentation week scholars are required to dress in business casual attire. There will be photo opportunities with NOAA senior staff that may appear on NOAA web sites, in video clips and print media, brochures, etc. The dress code for the tours of NOAA facilities is casual (sneakers, jeans, t- shirts, etc.). At no time are cut-off jeans, sagging pants, shirts or blouses displaying midriffs, miniskirts, or flip flops appropriate.
5. Will I be paid for attending NOAA's mandatory orientation program?
No. Scholars do not receive a stipend for attending the mandatory orientation program. However, all approved travel costs are included for the mandatory orientation program as part of the scholarship. Scholars will receive a meal stipend prior to travelling to Maryland.
6. When will I start receiving scholarship payments?
Scholars receive up to a maximum of $9,500 during the academic year. Payments are deposited directly into the scholar's checking or savings account and are disbursed on or around the end of the month in September, November, January and March. However, Hollings scholarship program staff must first receive verification of enrollment as a full-time student at an accredited institution.
7. Will I be paid for attending the Science and Education Symposium (Final Presentation Week)?
Yes. Scholars are required to present their summary project reports during the final presentation week and will be paid. The Presentation Week is considered the 10th week of the summer internship, at which time the scholar's final presentation must be made.
8. How does NOAA ensure students are enrolled full-time at a University?
At the start of each term, scholars are required to submit a certification of enrollment and official transcript to Hollings scholarship program staff to ensure that the scholars continue their major field of study related to NOAA's mission, are enrolled full-time and continue to maintain a 3.0 GPA or better.
9. Can I transfer to another university after I accept a Hollings scholarship?
Yes. If a scholar transfers to another university or changes their major, NOAA Hollings program staff must be notified in writing prior to the transfer or change in major to obtain approval for continued scholarship funds.
10. May I study abroad during my junior or senior year?
Yes. A scholar may study abroad during their junior or senior year and still receive the scholarship. To study abroad and maintain their scholarship the 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 scholar will be a full-time student, the duration of their study abroad, and the courses the scholar will be taking and that grades will be available and transferred; and,
- Upon their arrival at their study abroad institution, a letter from that institution certifying full-time status with a copy of the scholar's course schedule, and contact information.
Scholars must complete their site-visit and finalize all logistics for the summer internship prior to departing from the U.S. for the study abroad academic term.
11. Will my award be affected by other student scholarship or internship programs in which I am involved?
No. Scholars are allowed to participate in other scholarship and internship programs while receiving a NOAA award. However, they must fulfill the requirements of the Hollings Scholarship Program which are: participation in the mandatory orientation program and final presentation week; maintaining a full-time student status of enrollment; receiving a 3.0 cumulative grade point average; continuing their degree in a major field related to NOAA's mission; and, participation in the 10- week summer internship. Scholars may not receive Federal funds that cover the same funding period as the Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship award. 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 award subject to taxes?
Hollings Scholarship program staff recommend that all scholars consult a tax professional to determine tax obligations of financial awards.
13. What is the process of obtaining a NOAA identification badge?
The NOAA identification badge is required to enter all NOAA facilities during the 10-week summer internship. Therefore, scholars must adhere to Federal Security Procedures to obtain a NOAA identification badge. Scholars will be informed of the procedures to obtain a NOAA identification badge during the mandatory orientation program.
The Summer Internship
1. How do I find an internship?
The Hollings Scholarship program will provide a username and password to scholars to access the online Student Scholarship Internship Opportunities (SSIO) database system that will identify available internships nationwide. The summer internship opportunities include a brief description of each project, contact information for the NOAA mentor and location, and a summary of the tasks associated with the project. NOAA scholarship program staff are available to assist scholars as needed. However, the scholars are advised to contact the NOAA mentor to discuss the project further and determine their interest. If a mutual agreement is reached, the scholar may e-mail the mentor an updated resume and must e-mail Hollings Scholarship program staff information about the summer internship opportunity.
After Hollings Scholarship program staff approve the scholar’s participation in a project, the scholar and the mentor will select the date and time for the site visit (not to exceed three days). The scholar must submit a Travel Request electronically to the Hollings Scholarship program staff for approval of the site visit. Hollings Scholarship program staff will e-mail the scholar and NOAA mentor to confirm or disapprove the selection of the summer internship and, if approved, Hollings Scholarship program staff will contact the administrative support contractor, NOAA mentor, and scholar to proceed with travel arrangements. All scholars must finalize their internship selections by March 31st.
2. What if I contact a NOAA scientist not listed in the SSIO database?
The scholar may contact a potential mentor directly to ask them to create a 9-week project for them in the SSIO online database system. If the NOAA employee agrees to serve as a mentor, they must complete the SSIO form and submit the completed form for approval. The mentor needs to indicate on the form the scholar’s name as being selected for the internship opportunity. All internship opportunities must be submitted through the online system. The scholar is to email the Hollings scholarship program staff at StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov indicating that they and the mentor have agreed on a project and include the mentor’s name and title of the project. Hollings scholarship program staff will e-mail the mentor and student scholar approval/disapproval of the project along with further instructions.
3. What happens once I have identified a potential internship?
Once a Scholar has identified an internship and receives approval from the Hollings scholarship program staff, scholars must submit a Travel Request Form to StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov for approval of a site visit. Hollings Scholarship program staff 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 will be provided for students to conduct one site visit. The purpose of the site visit is to allow the scholar to meet the NOAA mentor, their staff, tour the facility, discuss the project to be conducted, 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 travel tickets to or from their internship site or NOAA Headquarters. Scholars will not be reimbursed for airline, bus, or other unapproved travel costs.
Scholars must submit all original travel receipts for reimbursement to the NOAA support contractor. Only receipts in the scholar's name will be reimbursed by support contractor. Receipts for meals are not required.
Scholars are not approved for more than one site visit. All site visits must be completed by April 15th. Scholars are encouraged to complete the site visit during their winter break. Upon the completion of the site visit, all scholars are required to submit the completed Site Survey form found on the Hollings website to Hollings Scholarship Program Staff at email@example.com
4. Can I drive my personal vehicle to my 10-week summer internship?
Hollings Scholarship program staff recommends that students do not drive to their summer internship if it is more than 500 miles (a one-day trip) from the location of their home or university. If a student does drive, students will be reimbursed up to the cost of a round-trip airline ticket.
Hollings Scholarship program staff must provide pre-approval for students to drive their vehicles. A vehicle is not required for internships in Silver Spring. NOAA will not reimburse scholars for parking of their vehicle.
5. Can I drive a government vehicle during my 10-week summer internship?
The NOAA Office of Education, Hollings Scholarship Program does not permit scholars to drive government vehicles. In the event a 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.
6. If I rent a vehicle during my 10-week 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.
7. When will my internship begin?
The summer internship is conducted between the junior and senior year. For scholars attending colleges and universities on the semester system, summer internships begin the last week of May (Tuesday after Memorial Day holiday) and end the last week of July/first week of August. For students on the quarter system, internships may begin mid-June and end by mid-August. All scholars are required to complete a 10-week summer internship (one week spent at the Science and Education Symposium in Silver Spring, MD) regardless of when it begins.
8. When do summer payments begin and how much are they?
During the summer internship scholars receive bi-weekly payments which are deposited into the scholar's account in the amount of $1,400 for the stipend and $600 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. If the summer housing is provided by NOAA (on-board research vessels, NOAA bunk houses, etc.), the scholar will not receive the housing allowance.
9. If I work on my project for more than 40 hours per week during the internship, will I be paid overtime?
No. Scholars receive $700 per week during the 10 week summer internship in bi-weekly stipend payments for the training they receive during the internship. Scholars are not hired as Federal employees.
10. How do I find summer housing during the 10-week internship?
Scholars who select NOAA laboratories and field sites are to locate summer housing during the site visit. NOAA Office of Education will not enter into a lease agreement on behalf of the scholars.
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 who reside in NOAA-funded housing will not receive the housing allowance.
11. What are the requirements for the Science and Education Symposium (final presentation week)?
Scholars’ participation in the final presentation week in Silver Spring, Maryland, is mandatory.
All scholars are required to participate in the presentation week even if they started late and their project is not complete. In that case, scholars will present a project status along with expected outcomes. At the completion of the Symposium week, the scholar will return to their summer internship site to complete the remaining weeks of their internship pending the availability of funds. The NOAA mentor and scholar will determine if the summer project lends itself to an oral or poster presentation format.
The program requires all scholars to travel to Silver Spring, Maryland, the last week of July to present their project to the NOAA scientific community; travel will be coordinated by the NOAA support contractor. The Hollings Scholarship Program will not reimburse scholars who purchase their own airline or train ticket, hotel, or car rental without pre-approval from Hollings scholarship program staff. Scholars will travel home at the end of their 9th week (end of 6th week for quarter system scholars) to deposit their personal effects and will depart their homes on Sunday and travel to Silver Spring, Maryland.
12. Will NOAA provide printing services for posters during the Science and Education Symposium (final presentation week)?
Scholars will be reimbursed for the cost of printing one poster for their project presentation upon submission of the original receipt. However, all posters must be printed prior to the scholar's arrival in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the final presentation week.
13. Will I be paid for attending the Science and Education Symposium (final presentation week)?
Yes, scholars are required to present their project results during the final week which is included in the internship stipend. The Presentation Week is considered the 10th week of the summer internship.