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What is the President’s Earn & Learn Scholarship Program?

President's Earn and Learn Scholarship Program

 

The WTAMU President’s Circle generously provides internship scholarships to WT students interested in internship or research experience opportunities but who have financial barriers to doing so. Barriers might include:

  • An unpaid or underpaid internship
  • An unpaid or underpaid research opportunity
  • Prohibitive housing or transportation costs

The amount awarded will vary based on student needs, but will not exceed $3,000.

Deadline to apply for fall funding is July 31.

Scholarships are competitively awarded by the funding selection committee, and the program is administered by WTAMU Career Services. Career Services is responsible for announcing opportunities to students, managing the receipt of applications, and working with institutional sponsors to support the selection and end-of-experience reporting requirements.

Types of Internships or Research Opportunities Eligible for an Internship Scholarship

  1. Experiences must be unpaid, underpaid or present other financial barriers for student involvement.   
  2. Preference is given to internships with organizations in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.
  3. Internship opportunities will fall within one of the following WT 125 categories:
    1. Community Life
    2. Schools in Rural Settings
    3. Enriched Enterprise
    4. Beef
    5. Rural Healthcare
    6. Water and Energy

To learn more about these categories, see WT’s generational plan, WT 125.

  1. Research opportunities must address at least 4 learning outcomes outlined by The Council on Undergraduate Research. This organization, founded in 1978, is a national organization of individual and institutional members representing more than 900 colleges and universities.  CUR defines undergraduate research as, "An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline." (www.cur.org). The CUR learning domains are outlined in the FAQ section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as an internship?
How do I find an internship?
Paid or unpaid? Underpaid?
Can I receive funding for an experience outside the Texas Panhandle?
Can I get academic credit for my experience?
Can I get funding for a past experience?
Can I apply for funding for an internship or research experience I'm already working in?
Are international students eligible for funding?
Can I apply for funding if I graduate before my experience is completed?
What qualifies as an appropriate research experience?
What is the commitment from a student selected to receive funding?
Are graduate students eligible for funding?
Are there any other WTAMU funding sources available to students?
When will I hear about funding? When will the scholarship be awarded?

Application Process
Offer Confirmation Form
Online Application Link
Selection Criteria for the President's Earn & Learn Scholarship
Selection Process
Requirements and Restrictions for Applicants
Requirements for Scholarship Recipients

What qualifies as an internship?

To ensure that an experience is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) definition, all the following criteria must be met: 

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. 
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.  
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals. 

If these criteria are followed, it is the opinion of NACE that the experience can be considered a legitimate internship.

How do I find an internship?

Students are ultimately responsible for finding their own internship; however, Career Services has a variety of resources to help including:
 
* Resume workshops & reviews
* How To Find An Internship workshop
* Internship job listings within the Handshake database
* Job search coaching and more.

 Learn more at about all Career Services offers at wtamu.edu/career.   

Paid or unpaid? Underpaid?

Experiences can be paid or unpaid. We prefer students obtain paid experiences because those are typically higher quality; however, pay depends on the industry, and there are certainly high-quality unpaid experiences. Also, funds are designed to assist students in experiences that don’t pay enough to meet basic student needs.  

Can I receive funding for an experience outside of the Texas Panhandle?

Yes, but preference is given to opportunities in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle which are unpaid, underpaid or represent a significant financial barrier.

Can I get academic credit for my experience?

Credit decisions are made by the student’s academic department. Our office can help students to propose credit to the appropriate faculty member; however, the ultimate decision rests with the academic department.

Can I get funding for a past experience?

No. Funding is only for current and future experiences. See below.

Can I apply for funding for an internship or research experience I’m already working in?

Yes, but it must provide new learning. Students must clearly explain how the responsibilities of this new position are significantly different from their previous position. 

Are international students eligible for funding?

Yes, but F-1 visa students must meet Curricular Practical Training (CPT) requirements to participate. Learn more about CPT here or contact the International Student Office.

If students can demonstrate there is financial need, new learning opportunities and the internship meets the NACE definition of an internship, they can apply for the funding.

Can I apply for funding if I graduate before my experience is completed?

No. Students must be currently enrolled during the time of their experience.

What qualifies as an appropriate research experience?

Undergraduate research is linked to a number of learning outcomes essential in undergraduate studies. A goal of the President’s Earn & Learn Scholarship Program is to allow for flexibility while also ensuring the student has an authentic experience incorporating at least some of the Council on Undergraduate Research (www.cur.org) learning domains.  

In order for your research experience to be eligible for a President’s Earn & Learn Scholarship, it must be able to address at least 4 of the learning outcomes outlined below:

 

  1. Relating knowledge to daily life: Seeks new information to solve problems; relates knowledge to major and career decisions; makes connections between classroom and out-of-classroom learning; articulates career choices based on assessment of interests, values, skills, and abilities; provides evidence of knowledge, skills, and accomplishments resulting from formal education, work experience, community service, and volunteer experiences, for example in resumes and portfolios.

 

  1. Critical thinking: Identifies important problems, questions, and issues; analyzes, interprets, and makes judgments of the relevance and quality of information; assesses assumptions and considers alternative perspectives and solutions

 

  1. Reflective thinking: Applies previously understood information, concepts, and experiences to a new situation or setting; rethinks previous assumptions

 

  1. Effective reasoning: Uses complex information from a variety of sources including personal experience and observation to form a decision or opinion; is open to new ideas and perspectives.

 

  1. Commitment to ethics and integrity: Incorporates ethical reasoning into action; explores and articulates the values and principles involved in personal decision-making; acts in congruence with personal values and beliefs; exemplifies dependability, honesty, and trustworthiness; accepts personal accountability.

 

  1. Collaboration: Works cooperatively with others, including people different from self and/or with different points of view; seeks and values the involvement of others; listens to and considers others’ points of view.

 

  1. Understanding and appreciation of cultural and human differences: Understands one’s own identity and culture; seeks involvement with people different from oneself; articulates the advantages and impact of a diverse society; identifies systematic barriers to equality and inclusiveness, then advocates and justifies means for dismantling them; in interactions with others, exhibits respect and preserves the dignity of others.

 

  1. Social responsibility: Recognizes social systems and their influence on people; appropriately challenges the unfair, unjust, or uncivil behavior of other individuals or groups; participates in service/volunteer activities that are characterized by reciprocity; articulates the values and principles involved in personal decision-making; affirms and values the worth of individuals and communities.

 

  1. Pursuing goals: Sets and pursues individual goals; articulates rationale for personal and educational goals and objectives; articulates and makes plans to achieve long-term goals and objectives; identifies and works to overcome obstacles that hamper goal achievement.

 

  1. Communicating effectively: Conveys meaning in a way that others understand by writing and speaking coherently and effectively; writes and speaks after reflection; influences others through writing, speaking or artistic expression; effectively articulates abstract ideas; uses appropriate syntax and grammar; makes and evaluates presentations or performances; listens attentively to others and responds appropriately.

 

  1. Managing career development: Takes steps to initiate a job search or seek advanced education; constructs a resume based on clear job objectives and with evidence of knowledge, skills, and abilities; recognizes the importance of transferrable skills.

 

  1. Demonstrating professionalism: Accepts supervision and direction as needed; values the contributions of others; holds self accountable for obligations; shows initiative; assesses, critiques, and then improves the quality of one’s work and one’s work environment.

What is the commitment from a student selected to receive funding?

Students who receive a scholarship must complete the following requirements:

  • Meet with Student Financial Services and/or scholarship services to ensure the impact of the award on financial aid eligibility is understood, if applicable
  • Complete two progress reports, one at the mid-point and one at the end of the experience
  • Submit experience details in Handshake
  • Submit two photos of the student working at their site
  • Ensure the supervisor completes a final evaluation
  • Possible additional requirements for international students receiving Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Complete all coursework requirements if receiving academic credit for the experience

Selected students may be asked to submit a blog article or complete a video interview about their experience to be shared on the Career Services webpage or related social media outlet. Students may also be asked to present experience highlights to the President’s Circle. The President’s Circle is the group providing funding for this scholarship program.

Are graduate students eligible for funding?

Yes.

Are there any other WTAMU funding sources available to students?

Students should check with Scholarship Services for additional funding possibilities.

When will I hear about funding? When will the scholarship be awarded?

The funding selection committee will make decisions no later than one month after the application deadline. The money will be administered by the Scholarships office.

 

Application Process

DEADLINES

Summer 2020—March 31, 2020
Fall 2020—July 31, 2020
Spring 2021—October 31, 2020

 

COMPONENTS OF A COMPLETE APPLICATION

  1. Background questions
     
    Outline how you plan to spend every dollar of the scholarship funding requested. Some of the costs that may be included for funding include: transportation (airfare, metro passes, bus rides), professional clothing, loss of income from current job, and housing.

Share with the funding selection committee how this specific internship/experiential learning opportunity aligns with current post-graduation plans. Be sure to address the following items (word limit - up to 500 words):

  1. Why did you apply for this specific internship/experiential learning opportunity?
  2. How will this specific internship/experiential learning opportunity impact your educational experience at West Texas A&M University?
  3. How will this internship opportunity prepare you for your future professional and/or career goals?

What are three specific learning goals or objectives you have for this internship/experiential learning opportunity?      

Share with the funding selection committee the reasons the scholarship is being requested (word limit - up to 500 words)

  1. Will you still complete this internship if you do not receive this scholarship?
  2. How would this funding impact your ability to engage in this internship/experiential learning opportunity?

Is there anything else you would like the funding selection committee to know?

  1. Current Resume (uploaded)
  2.  Offer Confirmation Form to be completed by internship supervisor (uploaded)

    Download a Word version of the form here.
    Download a PDF version of the form here.

* Note: The Offer Confirmation Form asks for the following information:

  1. Confirmation of the position and title
  2. Commitment to a minimum of 240 hours
  3. Anticipated start/end dates
  4. Supervisor contact information
  5. Frequency of supervision (how often the student will meet with the supervisor)

Career Services will contact the supervisor to verify these details.

  1. Completed University Scholarship Application. You can complete it online at here

    This application is needed if you are awarded a President’s Earn & Learn Scholarship.

 

Students can apply online for a scholarship here

 

Selection Criteria for the President’s Earn & Learn Scholarship

The application process is competitive. The funding selection committee strongly considers financial need in the awarding of these scholarships. However, students don't have to qualify for financial aid to apply for the scholarship funding.

All application materials should be thorough and complete. The proposal should demonstrate a clear relationship between a students planned experience and career development goals. The experience should allow the student to:

  • engage in substantive and supervised work related to possible career interests,
  • contribute to the organization or business (preferably in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle),
  • make connections between the skills and knowledge developed with those required for a particular career,
  • advance in the direction of a possible career or future education, and
  • confirm or adjust a tentative career plan.


Selection Process

A funding selection committee of WTAMU faculty and staff evaluate applications.  Emphasis is placed on student essay questions with support from the resume, transcript, and information provided by the supervisor. 

A competitive application is one that successfully demonstrates the applicants understanding of the link between the student’s goals, past experiences, and the opportunities afforded by the experience in question. Juniors and Seniors with opportunities in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle will receive priority consideration.

Award decisions will be made no later than one month after the application deadline.

 

Requirements and Restrictions for Applicants

Please read carefully:

  • Students must be currently enrolled during the term of the internship or research experience.
  • Students may receive a President’s Earn & Learn Scholarship only once. 
  • All applicants must be in good standing with the university.
  • International students selected to receive a scholarship for a domestic/U.S. based internship must apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) through the WTAMU International Student Office.
  • Internships must total a minimum of 240 hours (example: 6 weeks @ 40 hours per week in the summer, or 15 weeks @ 16 hours per week in the fall or spring), and hours must be completed by the end of the semester or term. 
  • Internships or research experiences must be unpaid, underpaid or present a significant financial barrier for the student.
  • Failure to complete all 240 hours could affect compensation for this internship. Students must contact Career Services immediately in this case. Failure to complete the internship and outlined scholarship requirements may be a violation of the WTAMU Code of Conduct, and could result in disciplinary action.
  • If students have previously worked at the same site for which they are currently applying for funding, they must clearly explain how the responsibilities of this new internship position are significantly different from their previous position. 
  • Scholarships will not be awarded for internships that have already been completed.
  • Pay-to-participate international or domestic internship programs will not be funded.
  • Independent and unsupervised internships will not be considered. Students must be interning for a host organization. Remote and home-based internships will not be considered, as hours need to be completed on-site in a professional environment. 
  • The host organization cannot be owned or run by a member of intern’s immediate family.
  • Internships must be completed through one sponsor and must be supervised by someone at the site. The supervisor may not be a family member.
  • Preference is given for internships in an organization or business located in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.

 

Requirements for Scholarship Recipients

Students who receive a scholarship must complete the following requirements:

  • Meet with Student Financial Services and/or scholarship services to ensure the impact of the award on financial aid eligibility is understood, if applicable
  • Completed University Scholarship Application. You can complete it online at here
  • Complete two progress reports, one at the mid-point and one at the end of the internship
  • Submit experience details in Handshake
  • Submit two photos of the student working at their site
  • Ensure the supervisor completes a final evaluation
  • Possible additional requirements for international students receiving Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Complete all coursework requirements if receiving academic credit

Selected students may be asked to submit a blog article or complete a video interview about their experience to be shared on the Career Services webpage or related social media outlet. Students may also be asked to present experience highlights to the President’s Circle. The President’s Circle is the group providing funding for this scholarship program.

 

Scholarship program details are subject to change.