Q. What kinds of activities do Hutton Scholars participate in?
A. Since our mentors are located all over the country and work for a wide variety of organizations, each student’s experience will be unique. The student may work outdoors in the field, on a boat, in a laboratory, in an office, and in other settings. Possible activities might include: taking fish population surveys, establishing aquatic vegetation and fish habitat, electrofishing, assisting with children’s educational programs, snorkeling, examining specimens under a microscope, water quality testing, and much more. Some fieldwork activities can be quite rigorous and can involve overnight, multiple day, or week-long trips. Students should be physically fit and willing to perform the duties outlined by the mentor in their preliminary meeting.
Q. Is the program available in my area?
A. Yes. Even if we have not yet had a mentor or students participate in your area before, we are constantly expanding the program. Should the student be selected, we will do everything possible to match them with a mentor in their area.
Q. What is a student’s schedule like?
A. Students are expected to work eight 5-day, 40-hour weeks. However, mentors have the flexibility of arranging the work schedule to fit their needs and those of the student.
Q. Can a student work more than 40 hours in one week?
A. Yes. AFS leaves the exact details of the student’s schedule up to the mentor, since they may have various projects that may take the full 40 hours or more one week and less than 40 hours in another week. If a student works extra hours in a given week, it is expected that the mentor will allow them to work less than 40 hours in another week.
Q. Can a student participate in the program for more than 8 weeks?
A. Yes, a student can choose to participate for longer than the minimum required time, but the scholarship amount will not change. In the past, some mentor agencies have chosen to employ their student or provide them with an internship after the student’s participation in the Hutton Program has ended. Students interested in continuing their work should talk to their mentors directly to find out about any opportunities that may be available.
Q. Can a student take a vacation during the program?
A. Vacations and holidays are left up to the mentor’s discretion and will not affect the scholarship amount. However, if extensive time off is requested, such as a week or more, it is expected that the student will make up that time so that the minimum requirement of 8 weeks of full participation is achieved. Students should make these arrangements directly with their mentors.
Q. What happens if a mentor will be out of the office on vacation or business?
A. If a mentor will be unavailable for a portion of the program, they should make arrangements with a colleague so the student can continue to participate in the program in the mentor’s absence. The Hutton Program staff should be notified in advance and provided with the colleague’s contact information.
Q. When will mentors and students be notified that they’ve been accepted into in the program?
A. A selection panel meets in March to determine the students who will participate in the program. Final decisions are made by late April, and all student applicants are informed by mail of their selection status, with a portion informed that they have been chosen as alternates. Selected students are provided with an acceptance form and information on their mentor match. Mentors will be notified by email and mail and given the students’ contact information. Student-mentor pairs make arrangements to meet together with the student’s parent(s)/guardian to discuss the duties, responsibilities, and summer schedule. If the mentoring arrangement is acceptable to the student, mentor, and parent(s)/guardian, the student accepts the internship and scholarship by completing the acceptance form, having it signed by the mentor and parent(s), and returning the form to AFS by May 18th to reserve the student’s place in the program. Alternates are notified of their status soon after May 18th.
Q. If I recruit a student to mentor, are we both guaranteed to get into the program?
A. No. Recruiting a student does not guarantee their placement in the program. Selection is based on the student’s personal statement, grades, recommendations, and other factors. The AFS staff makes every attempt to match a mentor with the student they have recruited (should the student be selected for the program), but we cannot guarantee it. AFS retains the right to match any student with any mentor. It is recommended that mentors recruit as many students as possible in their local schools so that they will increase their chances of mentoring a student for the summer.
Q. If I was a student in last year’s Hutton Program, am I guaranteed to get into the program this year?
A. No. We cannot guarantee that each returning student will be accepted. Acceptance will depend on the strength of the mentor’s recommendation from the previous year, the strength of the student’s new application, and the competition from new applicants to the program.
Q. Do mentors have to fill out a time sheet for the student?
A. No.The mentor only has to submit two brief monthly check-in reports on the student’s conduct and participation and one final report detailing the summer’s experience. Guidelines for the check-in reports and the final report are provided under “Mentor Report Guidelines” in the Mentors section of the Hutton website. The Hutton Coordinator will remind mentors via email of all report deadlines, and reports can be sent over email.
Q. When can I expect to receive my check?
A. Students must agree to complete the 8-week internship to be eligible to receive the scholarship funds. Rather than providing the students with the $3,000 at the end of the summer, each student’s scholarship will be divided into six equal installments of $500. In this way, those students who need to cover expenses over the summer months will have the funds available to them. Students should expect to receive checks approximately one week after checks are mailed, and most checks are sent once the corresponding reports have been sent. For more information on the schedule of reports and scholarship checks, please see the “2009 Timeline” under either the Student or Mentor sections of the Hutton website.
Q. Instead of mailing my check, can it be directly deposited?
A. No. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide direct deposit for the scholarship funds.
Q. Are Hutton Scholarships considered income for tax purposes?
A. The Hutton Scholarships are not considered wages; therefore, no W-4 form needs to be completed by the student when they begin the program, and no taxes are withheld. However, the scholarships are considered taxable income according to IRS regulations. Students are advised to consult IRS regulations regarding scholarships.
Q. If a student needs additional training, are funds available for the student to take an outside course?
A. No. The mentoring agency is required to handle any expenses related to training the student to do the work that they will be involved in during the summer.
Q. Are travel expenses for students paid for by AFS?
A. No. The students are responsible for transportation to and from the job since they are placed with a mentor within a reasonable commuting distance. It is important to note that many mentors have field activities planned for the student which means some days may not have a precise ending time. Therefore, in the past, we’ve found that it is usually best if the student can drive themselves to and from the work site rather than relying on a parent or someone else to pick them up as that person may have to wait and therefore be inconvenienced. There have been a few instances in the past where the commute was more substantial and the mentoring agency chose to help the student with that expense. Such financial assistance from a mentor would be on a voluntary basis only and would not be required by AFS. However, any expenses associated with travel while on the job (overnight field trips, etc.) are paid for by the mentor’s office.
Q. Can a student go on overnight field trips?
A. Yes. Overnight field trips provide an exciting learning opportunity for students in the program. AFS allows for such experiences, so long as the mentor receives approval from the student’s parent(s)/guardian first and sends a copy of a signed parental permission form to AFS. AFS provides a standard permission form to use; however, mentors may create one that works best for their office. Please note that per diem food expenses for the student for the trip are not covered by AFS.
Q. Does AFS provide insurance should a student be injured during the program?
A. Yes. AFS provides liability insurance for coverage up to $10,000 for each student. Each mentor is provided with the front page of the insurance policy to act as evidence of coverage (individual cards are not issued on such a policy) and a claim form to use should an accident occur. (Completed claim forms should not be submitted to AFS; they should be submitted directly to the insurance company.) As the liability insurance policy has a very high minimum number of individuals that it covers, we are able to cover all mentors as well at no additional cost.
Q. What can I do to help promote the program?
A. Mentors’ assistance in promoting the program is greatly appreciated, and there are several ways in which they can help. All mentors will be sent a press release during the summer to which they can add specific information about their student and submit to their local media outlets. Mentors are requested to take pictures of their Hutton student “in action,” if possible, to submit to AFS for use in promotional brochures and posters and for a presentation at the AFS annual meeting in September. (Photographs submitted electronically should have a resolution of at least 300 dpi at a size of at least 3.5 by 5 inches.) In addition, mentors can request brochures and posters to help recruit other mentors or to interest students at their local schools.
Q. Can Hutton students attend the American Fisheries Society’s Annual Meeting?
A. Although the AFS Annual Meeting would provide a wonderful opportunity for students to learn and meet other professionals in the fisheries field, AFS unfortunately does not currently have provisions to pay the expenses for students to attend the meeting, nor does AFS have the means to accommodate students who are not legally considered adults. For liability reasons, any student who wishes to attend the annual meeting and is not yet 18 would need to have an adult chaperone.
Q. Are there any pre-requisite classes that I should take to prepare me for my experience?
A. No pre-requisite courses are required; however, past Hutton students have found that science courses such as Ecology, Conservation, Biology, and Geology were helpful as were other courses such as Statistics and Computer Science. If such courses are available at your school, you may wish to take one or two before the summer program begins.