What does a GIFT Program summer internship entail?
Internships will be full-time positions lasting between 4 to 7 weeks at sites in the Metro-Atlanta area and statewide, dependent upon the needs of the sponsoring organizations. All Fellows (teachers) will receive a $1000 stipend per week with a maximum of $7000 for 7 weeks. All Fellows are awarded up to 10 Professional Learning Units (PLUs) upon successful completion of a satisfactory GIFT Action Plan (ie. classroom lesson plan) implementation. (See question below – What are Fellows required to do? – for more information). All GIFT Fellows will attend an orientation session the first week of internships. GIFT staff encourages all Fellows to pre-plan with their GIFT sponsors/mentors, including reviewing resources or recommended readings prior to the start of their internships.
What are Fellows (Teachers) required to do?
- Complete the summer work experience in accordance with the requirements of GIFT and the sponsoring organization.
- Attend GIFT summer and school year meetings.
- Complete the following tasks by the end of the internship period:
- Action Plan: through the assimilation of the summer internship experience and goals (set in state and national standards), create a personal and/or school team strategy for improving science and mathematics teaching in one's own classroom.
- Implementation Plan: a focused strategy for implementing and sharing some part of the summer work experience during the school year.
- Take part in the evaluation of the GIFT Program.
- Invite GIFT staff to the classroom during the following school year to verify implementation of the Action Plan. This task qualifies for an additional PLU credit.
What does GIFT provide to Fellows?
- Up to 10 Professional Learning (PLU) credits upon successful completion of all program requirements (receiving 5 PLUs upon submission and approval of the GIFT Action Plan and receiving another 5 PLUs upon verification by GIFT staff that the Action Plan has been implemented in the classroom).
- $1000 stipend per week for participation in the program.
- Opportunities for networking, attending, and presenting at professional educator and association meetings, locally, regionally, and nationally.
- Access to all GIFT Programs for teachers and K-12 students.
What are the expectations of GIFT Fellows?
- 100% commitment to the GIFT Fellowship opportunity.
- Taking ownership of the GIFT experience and spending an invigorating summer working and learning.
- Putting forth a full-time effort each week of the GIFT internship as this investment will determine the benefits of the program. Fellows will be a contributing member of the team, carrying out summer activities as initially articulated in the position description and subsequently developed with the mentor.
- Actively seeking out opportunities to learn about the sponsoring organization and to identify and develop resources that may be interesting or useful to students and colleagues.
- Participating in the GIFT orientation session, summer small group meetings, Kick-Off, End-of-Summer Celebration/Roundtables and peer mentoring/sharing workshops, as scheduled.
- Designing and implementing an Action Plan based on the summer GIFT experience that can be used in classrooms, schools, or districts during the school year.
- Participating in school year follow-up programs and site visits.
- Evaluating the GIFT Program, as requested by employer and GIFT staff.
What are the expectations of GIFT Fellows’ school district employers?
The local schools and school systems will support the GIFT Fellows in their efforts to transfer the GIFT experiences into their classrooms.
What are the eligibility requirements for the GIFT Program?
K-12 science, math, engineering and technology teachers are eligible. High school (grades 9-12) teachers must hold a professional teaching certificate in secondary school mathematics or science. Teachers of grades 6-8 must either have secondary certificates in mathematics or science, professional certification for middle grades with a concentration in mathematics or science, or be teaching in grades 5-8, with most classes being taught in the area of mathematics, science or computing and educational technologies.
Applications are acceptable from elementary teachers, those who teach non-science subjects, gifted teachers, or instructional resource teachers as appropriate. All applicants should have a minimum of two years teaching experience in mathematics or the sciences; university research applicants should have a minimum of three or more years teaching experience. Teachers without professional certification may apply, but priority is given to teachers with professional certification.
- Previous year GIFT Fellows may apply for second year GIFT Fellowships but are not given priority over other applicants.
- Application packets are considered completed when the online application has been submitted and the GIFT Program Teacher/Administrator Acknowledgement Signature Page has been signed electronically by the applicant and the principal OR school administrator (i.e. department head, headmaster, school system technology, math, science, or curriculum coordinator) and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Applicants may also be required to submit contact information for two professional references.
What are the types of internship positions available?
The following represents the three typical types of internship positions:
- Summer Work Experiences: Biology, bioengineering, animal behavior, chemistry, physics, mathematics, earth and atmospheric sciences, engineering, and computing at Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Emory University, and other Georgia research universities, institutes, and some corporations.
- Summer Work Experiences: Financial institutions, hospitals, biotechnology firms, manufacturing and power plants, companies engaged in data processing, software applications or economic analysis, market research, medical and environmental analysis research, etc.
- Summer Work Experiences: Business, research groups, and other informal science-rich organizations, such as zoos, aquariums and museums.
Early submissions of GIFT applications enhance the likelihood of an applicant being placed.
What is the application process?
Interested teachers should initially visit the GIFT Teacher Application page to preview the online application form and gather all information necessary for completing the application. Once you save and submit your application, you will not be able to log back in to make adjustments or corrections.
After submitting the online application, a link will appear on the confirmation page to download the GIFT Program Teacher/Administrator Acknowledgement Signature Page. The applicant will fill out and electronically sign the document. (Please note that you need to have the signature page opened in Adobe Acrobat to electronically sign the document). The signature page should then be forwarded to the principal OR school administrator (i.e. department head, headmaster, school system technology, math, science, or curriculum coordinator) for their electronic signature as well. The signature page is then emailed to GIFT. After this, the application packet will be considered complete.
Following initial sponsor criteria screenings, applicants will be matched to available positions. Representatives from industry, university or informal science institutions may contact applicants for interviews as part of the matching process. Applicants may be asked to interview at several work sites, depending on the availability of placements.
The essence of GIFT is the "match" between the teacher's educational background and instructional goals, and the attributes necessary for the summer work/research experience to be successful. Teachers are not "selected" so much as "matched," to give the best possible outcomes for all.
Is an applicant required to provide demographical data as indicated on the application?
No. This information is requested but not required. However, it is beneficial for the GIFT Program to have this information if provided the opportunity to reach groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.
How does the GIFT staff decide which applications to send to sponsors?
Businesses and universities who choose to participate in the GIFT Program provide a "Job/Position Description," which outlines what they are looking for in candidates. Then, GIFT staff will match the sponsor's needs with the skills revealed on the applications, generally through database queries.
Applications that best fit job/position descriptions are selected. However, some applications may be sent out to multiple sponsors, due to a variety of factors: geographic, skills-related, and the willingness of the applicant to work in environments for which positions exist. For instance, if a Norcross corporation seeks a teacher who has knowledge of Microsoft Excel, GIFT staff will sort its applicant records by
- An applicant's interest in a business experience,
- An applicant's knowledge of Microsoft Excel, and
- An applicant's willingness to commute to Norcross.
Through a database query, if an applicant comes up yes for all three points, then the application is reviewed again and sent out.
Sometimes applicants express a willingness to commute or relocate to other parts of the state for the summer in order to have a GIFT experience. While this works well for some teachers, it is important to remember that some sponsors have a strong preference for working with teachers from local schools. Most sponsors prefer to review 3 to 5 applications, so in past years all applicants have had a chance for placement.
What are the applicant's chances of getting an internship?
Placement depends primarily on the quality of the teacher application and the nature of the position description. If the application is of high quality and the teacher's skills fit the position description, that teacher will likely be selected.
As would be expected, the more flexible an applicant is in terms of willingness to travel and open-mindedness towards different types of work experiences, the more likely the applicant will be placed.
What are the next steps after a sponsor receives a set of applications?
The sponsor reviews the applications and two or three candidates are selected for interviews. Candidates are contacted to arrange times for interviews. (See next question for more information).
The GIFT Program's role in the selection process ends when application packets (3-5 applications that best match the sponsor's interests) are sent out. The sponsor determines who will be interviewed and selects GIFT Fellows based on those interviews.
Will GIFT staff be contacting the applicant for interviews, or will the sponsor?
The applicant may be contacted either by the sponsor or by GIFT staff. In some instances at the request of the sponsor, GIFT staff will arrange interviews, but many sponsors prefer to contact teachers directly.
What are the interview procedures?
- Please dress for the interview in conservative business attire. Although this may not be the expected attire during the GIFT experience, it is recommended for interviews.
- Arrive punctually. Prepare a list of thoughtful questions for the sponsor. Questions, which help to define the position and the mentor's expectations, will be useful in making an informed and satisfactory decision.
- Please respond to a sponsor's offer within three days. Once an offer is received, the application is removed from the applicant pool. Delays in rejecting an offer reduce the chance of being available for another position and prevent other qualified applicants from being reviewed. Consider carefully before rejecting a position; other appropriate positions may not be available or offered.
- Be aware that some placements require drug-screening and/or background checks.
- Interviews may be conducted in person or by phone.
What happens if an applicant is selected by one sponsor, but prefers to work with another sponsor?
Every year some teachers lose the opportunity to participate in the GIFT Program by waiting for their "ideal" work position to come along. It is important to consider any offer very seriously. ACCEPT AN OFFER FROM A COMPANY, UNIVERSITY, OR ORGANIZATION ONLY IF YOU ARE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN THE INTERNSHIP. When an offer is accepted, the teacher's name is removed from consideration for any other placement, including sponsors that may have previously received that application for review.
What happens if an applicant becomes unavailable to participate in the GIFT Program?
During the application/sponsorship matching period, if circumstances require that an applicant must withdraw from the candidate pool, the applicant must notify GIFT immediately so that the application can be removed from consideration.