FAQ


 
If I have questions who do I contact?  
You may address your question(s) to Annette Headley at 202-745-3700 or by email at meisppinternships@varcom.com.
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I thought the Internship was with the U.S. Department of Energy. Who is VARCom Solutions LLC?  
The U.S. Department of Energy contracted VARCom Solutions LLC, hereafter referred to as the "Contractor," to manage and administer the MEISPP. As such, the Contractor is your primary point of contact before, during, and after the Internship.
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I am not a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible to participate in the MEISPP? 
No, the U.S. Department of Energy student programs are for U.S. citizens only.
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How will Internship placements be determined? Will we get to select from a list of available positions?  
Each participating office within the U.S. Department of Energy selects its own Interns based on the alignment of office/project needs and applicant qualifications. You are encouraged to accurately reflect your interests and abilities on the MEISPP application.
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May I switch Internships if I feel it's not a good match?  
No, once you are assigned to a position you are required to remain in the position for the duration of the Internship. You may contact the U.S. Department of Energy senior program advisor if you have questions about changes to your assignment.
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Does the MEISPP provide medical/health benefits for me during the program?  
No, you are responsible for your own medical/health insurance.
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How will I arrive to my Internship site? 
The MEISPP covers the cost of all Interns' roundtrip transportation to and from their assigned Internship site. You will be instructed to contact the contractor upon acceptance into the program to make plane, metro, or bus reservations.
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I am planning to drive to my Internship site. Will the MEISPP reimburse me for mileage?  
We strongly recommend that out-of-state Washington, DC based interns do not bring their personal vehicles to participate in the program and will not be responsible for any parking costs, damages or incidents resulting from use of personal vehicles. However, for those students electing to drive to the internship location, mileage will be reimbursed from your point of origin to DOE HQ for DC based interns or your field headquarters for interns in the field and back to the point of origin at a rate of $0.565 per mile, up to a maximum of $300.  The internship does not provide a daily transportation stipend to locally based students. 
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What if I am accepted into the program but it's in the field and I don't want to go? Can I automatically get sent to a DC site?  
If you have been extended an offer into the program in the field and you choose not to accept the field assignment, you will not automatically be reassigned to another office in DC. Specific offices make each offer on a case by case basis.
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Do I have to find my own lodging for the summer?  
No, the MEISPP will secure summer lodging for you. If you prefer to secure your own lodging you may do so at your own expense. Please notify us immediately if you plan to secure your own lodging.
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Will I have a roommate? 
Yes, you will have at least one (1) same-sex roommate.
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What type of accommodations will I have during the summer?  
Interns assigned to Washington, DC or Germantown, MD will be housed in residence halls at a local university. Interns assigned to National Laboratories across the U.S. will be housed in similar type accommodations.
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I want to spend a few vacation days in the city where I am assigned this summer. How early can I arrive and how late can I stay after the Internship is over?  
You are allowed to check into your summer lodging one day before the Internship begins and you are required to check-out one day after the Internship ends. If you choose to arrive earlier or stay later you will be responsible for securing and paying your own lodging costs for the additional days.
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How will I get back and forth to my Internship every day?  
You are responsible for arranging your own daily transportation to and from work. The MEISPP goes to great lengths to find summer lodging that is convenient to Intern work sites and/or to public transportation. In Washington, DC, Interns have easy access to the metro rail, metro bus, and taxi service. Some Intern sites, particularly those at National Laboratories, are not easily accessible by public transportation. The MEISPP is available to help you research transportation options.
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Will I receive transportation vouchers for commuting to and from my Internship, especially if public transportation is not easily accessible?  
No, the MEISPP does not provide transportation vouchers for Interns. You are responsible for paying for your own daily transportation to and from work.
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What is the difference between a local and non-local student?  
Students are considered local interns if they live in the Washington, DC metropolitan commuting area. This will be assessed on a case by case basis. Students outside the DC metropolitan commuting area are non-local students.
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How much will my student stipend be for the Internship? Does it vary by position or do all Interns get stipends at the same rate?  
Your stipend amount depends on your academic status. For high school students the stipend amount is $275/week; for undergraduate college students it is $400/week and for graduate students it is $600/week. Your academic status is determined by your status as of Spring 2018. For example, if you are graduating from undergrad in May 2018, you will be considered an undergrad student; if you are graduating from high school in May/June 2018, you will be considered a high school student and must meet the local student requirements.
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How do I receive my student stipend?  
Interns will receive a bi-weekly student stipend from the first day they start working to the last day they work. You will be stipend will be dispersed through direct deposit to a financial institution of your choice. All MEISPP Interns will be expected to have a checking account or a savings account. For direct deposit, you will be required to submit a voided check or a savings account deposit slip. You are encouraged to plan accordingly and bring enough money to cover transportation, meals and miscellaneous expenses for the first 30 days. You will receive a payroll schedule during orientation.
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Will anything be withheld from my stipend over the summer? 
No nothing will be withheld from your stipend. You will be treated as 1099 contractor and thus be responsible for filing your own taxes. In January of 2018 you will receive a 1099 form for tax purposes.
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How many hours do I have to work during the Internship? 
College and Graduate interns are required to work 5 days a week, 40 hours per week, not to exceed 400 hours over a 10-week period. High School interns are required to work 5 days a week, 40 hours per week, not to exceed 320 hours over an 8 week period. Interns will only receive a stipend for the hours that they actually worked and for the federal holiday, Wednesday July 4, 2018. Interns cannot make up any time that is missed during a given pay period outside of extenuating circumstances that will be assessed on a case by case basis. Applicants must disclose any dates they will not work within the internship period prior to submitting final application.
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Will I have to travel as part of my Intern job responsibilities?  
Depending on your placement within the U.S. Department of Energy or its National Laboratories, you may be asked to travel out of state to attend meetings, conferences, or site visits. Any expenses incurred as a result of work-related travel should be covered by your sponsoring office.
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Where can I find more information about the U.S. Department of Energy?  
You may visit the U.S. Department of Energy website at www.energy.gov.
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What are some of the responsibilities assigned to Interns?  
Intern duties and responsibilities vary according to the office of assignment. For instance, Interns may write reports on environmental management issues, assist with oil trade negotiations, assist with clean air policy and technology, help develop and advance oil, coal, and natural gas technologies, or organize conferences or visits of high-level officials. Others may research economic or environmental issues, write news stories and work on web pages.

Interns with scientific and technical backgrounds might work with issues such as energy efficiency, International nuclear safety, cyber security, and waste management. Those interested in management may use their expertise working on projects involving budgets, human resources, information systems, or general logistical support. Some may be involved in educational and political activities. Internships are excellent preparation for future careers in the U.S. Department of Energy. Some Interns have filtered into the Department as career employees.
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Do I need a security clearance for the Internship? 
You will be required to pass a security screening and test in order to participate in the program and receive your badge to access DOE buildings and facilities.
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Will only minority students be considered for the DOE MEISPP internship? 
Please note that the selection of interns is not premised upon racial factors or preference nor are individuals penalized based upon racial factors. For the Undergraduate and Graduate internships, students from all accredited institutions of higher education can apply and will be considered; however, all applicants MUST be enrolled (full-time) as a student in the fall 2018 semester.
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Outside of the actual internship, are there any other mandatory activities that the selected students have to participate in? 
Throughout the summer, all of the Washington, DC based interns must participate in mandatory professional development workshops and community service activities throughout the course of their internships (field interns will receive the materials presented at the workshops). A tentative schedule of the activities will be given to selected interns prior to their arrival in Washington, DC. In addition, interns must complete a mandatory end of program evaluation survey that they will receive two weeks before the program is over. Not participating in the community service activities and survey will cause students final stipends to be delayed or potentially not received.
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Please note that the selection of interns is not premised upon racial factors or preference nor are individuals penalized based upon racial factors. Students from all accredited institutions of higher education can apply and will be considered; however, all applicants MUST be enrolled (full-time) as a student in the fall of 2018.