Congratulations: You've been selected for a Knauss Fellowship
Adapted from the National Sea Grant Office Knauss Fellowship Website
Modified by Maryland Sea Grant July 2012
Congratulations on being selected to be a Knauss Fellow with the class of 2013-2014. We are sure you are going to have a wonderful year. To help you navigate your fellowship year we have prepared the information below. Any time before and during your fellowship year we encourage you to call us with any comments or questions. Remember, Maryland Sea Grant pays for this fellowship and you need to keep us informed of your activities and paperwork throughout the fellowship. Consider us your "go to" group for any issues related to your fellowship experience.
Pre-Placement Week Details
Make sure you have up to $2000 set aside for expenses (hotel, travel, food, etc.) during placement week (though for Maryland and DC residence it is likely to be closer to $1500). If you are unable to pay "up front" costs contact either Theresa Lee or Jeannette Connors in the Maryland Sea Grant office to discuss options. Make sure you save all your receipts during placement week. This includes hotel, parking, taxi, metro, Internet access in your hotel room, etc. Maryland Sea Grant (MDSG) pays a per diem rate for meals of: $8 breakfast, $10 lunch and $24 dinner. You do not need to show receipts to receive this rate, however, you will not be reimbursed for meals that are provided by the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO) as part of the selection week program. If you exceed your spending for a given meal, you may provide a receipt and a detailed explanation of why this occurred and the circumstances to be considered for a reimbursement. Consider this a very unlikely event. Reimbursement for car mileage is $0.555/mile. You are allocated up to a total of $2000 for placement week from your fellowship award. What you do not spend can be applied to other fellowship costs during your fellowship year.
Once placement week is over you must submit your expense statement (on the specific Maryland Sea Grant form) and your receipts to Jeannette Connors (firstname.lastname@example.org). It will take 2 - 4 weeks from when you submit your expense statement and receipts to when you receive your reimbursement.
Make sure you are in e-mail contact between the placement week and the start of the fellowship with your host office, NSGO and MDSG. Use gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc. if you're no longer in your school e-mail system.
"Host" is an office that has requested a Knauss Fellow for the year. Read the host offerings (on the NSGO web site, usually posted late October - early November) and look up the offices on the web. Remember, fellows are not allowed to contact host offices, but you can contact former or current fellows and ask them questions about their position or experiences. Pre-arrangements made with "hosts" may result in immediate dismissal from the program.
During Placement Week
- Be prepared to wear suits or other conservative, professional attire. You may want to bring comfortable shoes to wear in between interviews and during transit time, as you will be doing a lot of walking during placement week.
- Stay relaxed, be flexible, and stay open-minded.
- Don't pre-determine where you want to go.
- Remember this week, as well as the fellowship itself, is an educational opportunity for you.
- Ask lots of questions-refer to sample questions on the NOAA Knauss web site, or ask former fellows and peers what are good questions to ask.
- Limit the number of interviews you schedule. Having options is good, however, not getting complete information about the offices, the type of work, or the people you will be working with can lead to disappointments or misconceptions.
- Remember that the hosts want you. You should view the interview process as an opportunity to learn about a particular office and why you would want to work there. They are pitching to you, rather than in a job interview where your responsibility is to convince the interviewer that they want to hire you.
- If possible, contact the current fellow in the office (if there is one) or a former fellow and ask them questions about the office and their duties.
- Make sure you can interview or speak with co-workers and your potential immediate supervisor.
- Check to see if the office accepts international students (if applicable).
After Placement Week, Before You Begin Your Fellowship
Fellowship Award Total: $52,500
Your Fellowship Award is distributed as $41,500 for your stipend and $9,000 to cover mandatory health benefits, fringe and moving expenses, and up to $2,000 for placement week. Any remaining funds, beyond the $41,500 shall be used during the Fellowship year, first to satisfy academic degree- related activities (e.g. tuition), and second for Fellowship-related activities. Details below, specific allocations of money beyond the $41,500 stipend is developed individually with each Maryland Sea Grant fellow and the Maryland Sea Grant program.
Fellowship Start and End Dates
The award start date and host start date are February 1, 2013. Your pay periods will begin on February 1, 2013 and will end on January 31, 2014.
Stipend and Benefits - Maryland Sea Grant
Your benefits and costs will vary whether your status is as a student or a non-student during your Fellowship. Sometimes, student status may change during the Fellowship year (i.e. if you graduate). That is not a problem, but it may result in changes in some costs to you and the Fellowship. It is important before you begin your Fellowship to be clear on what your status will be, so that you can estimate your expenses accurately. Maryland Sea Grant office will help you with this.
Please begin discussions regarding your health care benefits with Maryland Sea Grant in December
You are required to carry health insurance as part of your Fellowship agreement. The University of Maryland offers a number of health insurance options. Your health insurance is paid through the University of Maryland System. Depending on what plan you select you will have different costs associated with it regarding co-payments. Your fellowship award provides up to $9000 (plus any funds remaining from the $2000 allocated to placement week) to pay for the University portion of the health insurance payment and the fringe costs on your stipend. You are responsible for paying the employee premium cost, as well as, any plan required health insurance co-payments. Maryland Sea Grant can explain the different health benefit packages to you and discuss the costs. Please contact Theresa Lee at Maryland Sea Grant to complete your health benefit package. In general, Maryland Sea Grant budgets $2000 for placement week costs, $6,000 for benefits and fringe and the remaining $3000 for travel and other education related costs during your fellowship year.
To ensure that your health benefits are in place by your February 1 start date, please submit your benefit enrollment form to Maryland Sea Grant by January 7th, 2013.
You will receive a stipend of $41,500 paid over 26 pay periods. To ensure that you receive your paycheck on the first payday after your February 1 start date, you must work with Maryland Sea Grant to complete the necessary payroll documentation by the end of the first week in January. Contact Theresa Lee in December to schedule an appointment to discuss completing your payroll documentation.
Payroll documentation must be submitted to Maryland Sea Grant by January 7th, 2013.
If you are a student at an institution in Maryland or the District of Columbia, then you are tax-exempt for FICA (social security and Medicare). If you are not a student during any part of your fellowship year you will be taxed for FICA at 7.65%. As an example, if you spend your whole fellowship year without being a registered student from your stipend of $41.5K, you would have to pay $3174 (from your paycheck) and another $3174 would be paid from your $6K budget. For more information regarding federal taxes and withholding go to: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p505.pdf.
The state you will be living in for the fellowship (MD, VA, DC), is probably where you will have to pay state taxes, so make sure your sponsor state doesn't take out taxes for your home (pre-fellowship) state. Check state rates first and try to pay the lowest. DC is generally higher than any other.
Re-confirm your start date
Re-confirm the start date with your host. This will serve two purposes. It will remind them that you are coming and give you an opportunity to ask about any necessary reading, opportunities to visit the office prior to the start, or possible early travel opportunities with your host. Contact Maryland Sea Grant to make sure that your paperwork for pay and benefits that you submitted in early January will be in place by your start date.
Submit photo and biographical sketch to Maryland Sea Grant
In January, we highlight our new MDSG Knauss Fellows in the Maryland Sea Grant Magazine: Chesapeake Quarterly. To help us do this we need you to send us a photo and biographical sketch by December 14, 2012. The photo preferably would be a field or outside shot of you alone. If you scan a picture and send it as an email attachment, the please scan at 300 DPI and at least 3X5 inches. If you want to send a COLOR picture in hard copy, that is ok as long as it is very clear, comes from slide film, and it is at least 3 X 5 inches. We also need a summary paragraph (max. 250 words) about you and your placement office and Host/Manager. Details that highlight special things you have done (peace corps, volunteer, exotic research places) add to the interest of the biography. If you need examples of these from previous fellows contact Fredrika Moser, Maryland Sea Grant or look on our web site.
If you are relocating you may use funds in the $9K budget portion of your support (remember, minimally $6,000 to $7,500 of this money will need to be available for your mandatory health insurance and fringe costs as well as possibly tuition, so budget wisely) the remainder of this money may be used for related travel and other expenses to help defray moving expenses including mileage to house hunt and moving truck rental. You need to use a travel reimbursement form to request reimbursement. Remember, if you are moving you can change your address with the post office, locate contact information and sign up for utilities and services (newspaper, cable, phone, gas, internet, etc.), and obtain community information at the following site: https://www.moversguide.com/.
See NOAA Knauss Web Site: Lessons Learned and Housing 101 (http://www.seagrant.noaa.gov/knauss/knaussgeneraldocuments.html)
Your Fellowship Year
If you have funds available in your estimated $3,000 travel expense account (the remainder from the $9,000 portion of your support) after moving and other costs, this can be used for "degree-related" or "fellowship-related" travel during your fellowship year.
The Host and the sponsoring Sea Grant Director must approve all travel in advance. A travel request letter (paper or email) should include the destination, purpose of travel, approximate costs and travel dates. This letter is initiated by the Fellow, approved by the Host and then sent to Theresa Lee or Fredrika Moser at Maryland Sea Grant. This process must be completed 30 days prior to departure to ensure adequate opportunity for the Host's and the Sea Grant Director's comment and approval.
Foreign travel is a little more complicated. You need to provide a travel request letter (or email) from your host and approval letters (or email) from your host and Maryland Sea Grant that you submit to Maryland Sea Grant. Maryland Sea Grant will then submit a foreign travel request (FTR) to NOAA Grants through NOAA Grants-Online for approval. Because this processes is more complicated than domestic travel, you must provide your travel request letter and your host and Maryland Sea Grant's approval 45 days prior to departure.
Both domestic and foreign travel
Once the Host and Maryland Sea Grant (and NOAA Grants, if necessary) approve your travel, you may complete your travel arrangements. Remember to keep all your receipts if you are to be reimbursed. You will need to submit a travel expense statement and receipts for reimbursements. The same reimbursement procedures and per diem support rules apply to travel during your fellowship year as applied to your placement week travels. Maryland Sea Grant Fellows per diem rates and reimbursement procedures are based on those of the University of Maryland, not those of the federal government. Make sure you stay in contact with Maryland Sea Grant so that your travel and reimbursement goes smoothly.
Once you start your fellowship you are basically on your own. Though if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us. You must contact Maryland Sea Grant to submit your mid-year progress report (July) and your final report (January) as well as complete the necessary paperwork to remove you from our payroll, as well as any travel for which you want approval and reimbursement. However, beyond that we don't expect to hear much from you.
While you are on your fellowship network, network, network! Remember to take a stack of your cards with you everywhere you go. Order cards the first week of work as they take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get to you. Some offices will pay for this; in others, you will pay for this. You may use money, if available, from your $1,500 travel money to pay for business cards. However, many people just make them on their computer.
For information on other topics that might make your fellowship year more enjoyable, such as
- Vehicle Registration, Driver's License, Parking, etc.
- NOAA/NIH Social Clubs
- Getting Started
We urge you to visit the NOAA Knauss Web Site: Lessons Learned (http://www.seagrant.noaa.gov/knauss/knaussgeneraldocuments.html) because it has terrific information on how to behave, look and what to expect during your fellowship experience.