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Improving online application systems for DOE science workforce internships and fellowships

Michael Bellamy

Photo credit: Lynn Freeny, DOE

Under the direction and guidance of the DOE Office of Science Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), ORISE implemented a redesign of the web application system for WDTS-sponsored internship and fellowship programs at DOE national laboratories. The new system features streamlined account setup, a simple user interface design with easy-to-follow application instructions, and the capability to provide users with timely status updates on where their applications are in the selection process. The system also allows selecting officials at the national laboratories to view applications and makes it possible for administrators at those laboratories to monitor selections and make offers to selectees.

During FY13, three WDTS programs—Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) Program, Community College Internship Program, and the Visiting Faculty Program—were incorporated into the new system. As a result, more than 2,100 applications were processed from which 772 undergraduates and faculty were selected for fellowships and research participation programs at 16 national laboratories during the summer of 2013. One such participant, Kerestin Goodman (pictured here), an undergraduate in chemistry from Albany State University, researched carbon dioxide emissions from large peat bogs while in the SULI program at ORNL.

Since launch, the new online systems have also enabled improved management of application and participant information and the collection and archiving of participant deliverables, including surveys. An important component of the systems is their ability to support simple evaluation of program performance and impact, in both the short term and over several decades.