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AMGEN Scholars Program at NIH - Frequently Asked Questions

General Information
Eligibility
The applicatiion process
Should I apply early?
After applying

GENERAL INFORMATION
What IS the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH?
The Amgen Scholars Program at NIH is a partnership between the Amgen Foundation, the Foundation for the NIH, and the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education. This program is for undergraduates who are interested in learning more about health disparities and the role science, policy, and community engagement can play in their elimination. Preference will be given to students who lack opportunities to carry out independent research during the school year (due to family responsibilities, economic exigencies, or inability of their institutions to provide such opportunities). Amgen Scholars at NIH will spend the summer working on the main NIH campus in Bethesda. The Program will have four core components: 1) independent research performed under the mentorship of an NIH intramural scientist; 2) roundtable discussions exploring the intersection of research and public policy related to health disparities; 3) career guidance and mentorship focused on the broad array of biomedical careers; and 4) leadership training focused on the skills needed to successfully work in team-oriented global research environments. If you are interested, please read about the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH.

What are health disparities?
The CDC defines health disparities as preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. Populations can be defined by factors such as race or ethnicity, gender, education or income, disability, geographic location (e.g., rural or urban), or sexual orientation. Health disparities are inequitable and are directly related to the historical and current unequal distribution of social, political, economic, and environmental resources.

Is the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH the same as the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP)?
No. Students participating in the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH will be appointed as NIH interns and considered a part of the NIH SIP. Although Amgen Scholars will participate in some SIP activities, the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH has different eligibility requirements, a different admission and placement process, and a unique summer curriculum.

How can I learn more about SIP?
The NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) is described on the SIP webpage.

What type of research will I be conducting?
Your summer project highly depends upon the research group in which you are placed. The NIH Intramural Research Program includes a broad array of basic, translational, and clinical researchers working in all areas of human health. We welcome applicants in all science majors and will work with you to create a meaningful summer research experience.

Will I be working on a project related to health disparities?
The research you will be conducting might or might not be directly related to health disparities. The NIH offers a wide range of research topics and the available projects range from bench research to epidemiology.

I want to work on an NIH campus outside of the Bethesda, MD area. Can I still apply to the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH?
The Amgen Scholars Program at NIH is a residential program. All participants will be required to work on the Bethesda campus or at a very close satellite campus (i.e., Rockledge, Twinbrook, or Shady Grove)

Will housing be provided during my stay at the NIH?
Yes. The Foundation for the NIH will provide housing for all interns participating in the Amgen Program at NIH. The housing will be within an easy commute of the NIH Bethesda campus.

Will I have a roommate?
Yes. Housing consists of double-occupancy rooms.

Are meals covered by the program?
No. Students must cover for the cost of their own food, except for meals at the Amgen Scholars Symposium in California and at certain social events.

Will I be paid for my summer efforts?
Yes. Interns participating in the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH will be paid at the same stipend rates as other SIP participants.

How many students are accepted into the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH?
Up to 20 students will be accepted into the program. No more than 25% of the students admitted will be from schools in the Maryland/Washington DC/Virginia area.

Is transportation provided to and from Bethesda, MD?
Yes. The Foundation for the NIH will assist interns participating in the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH with their travel to and from the NIH and will cover the cost. In addition, Amgen Scholars who agree to use public transportation for their commute to the NIH may be eligible for a transportation subsidy called Transhare.

Can I take a summer course or work at a part-time job during the program?
No. You may not take courses or work part-time during the program. Furthermore, we are not likely to approve any evening courses or volunteer experiences that are likely to detract from program and research activities.

ELIGIBILITY
I am an international student. Can I apply?
No. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents at four-year colleges and universities in the United States, Puerto Rico, or other U.S. territories may participate in the program.

I am a freshman or sophomore but have a lot of science credits; can I apply?
No. Only rising junior or seniors (including 5th year seniors) are eligible to apply.

What is the minimum GPA to be considered for the program?
You must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA to be eligible.

I am a community college student transferring to a four-year college or university in the fall. Am I eligible for the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH?
You are not eligible to apply. Only individuals enrolled in a four-year institution are eligible. However, the OITE also sponsors the Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP), and we encourage you to consider that program. Please visit the CCSEP webpage or contact us for additional information.

I have never done research before, am I still eligible for the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH?
The program is open to undergraduates with or without actual research experience; in fact, the program gives preference to students who do not have access to biomedical research internships during the academic year.

I was in the NIH SIP last year, am I eligible for the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH this year?
No. The Amgen Scholars Program at NIH will not admit applicants who have prior internship experience at NIH (paid or unpaid). If you previously interned in an NIH intramural research group, we encourage you to apply to the NIH SIP, look at other Amgen Scholars research sitesExternal Link and/or browse our listing of other summer internships to find the right internship for you.

My university runs on the quarter system, and my finals do not end until after the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH begins on June 4th. Am I still eligible to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH?
Unfortunately, our program starts with a week-long orientation and leadership course; we cannot accommodate students unable to arrive by June 4th, 2018. We strongly encourage students who attend schools on the quarter system to apply to the broader NIH Summer Internship Program, which has flexible start dates. We also encourage you apply to other Amgen Scholar Program sites External Link with greater flexibility.


THE APPLICATION PROCESS
How do I apply?
The application is now available online. To be considered for the Amgen Scholars at the NIH program you should choose the "AMGEN" option in item 9 of the online application and follow the guidelines on the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH webpage when preparing your cover letter. Make sure to fill out the Supplementary Application, which is also required for the program.

Why do I need to fill out a Supplementary Application?
The information requested in the Supplementary Application is specific to the Amgen Scholars at NIH program and required by the Amgen Foundation. Please make sure that you use the application number assigned to your SIP application when filling out the Supplementary Application and use the same email address as you entered in the SIP application. Applicants who fail to submit the Supplementary Application by the deadline of February 1st, 2018 will not be considered in the review process.

Should I follow all of the advice on the video discussing the NIH SIP application process? Specifically, should I be emailing NIH investigators to search for open internship positions?
Applicants to the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH should NOT reach out to NIH investigators regarding potential laboratory placements; applicants who arrange their own placements, or who are admitted through other NIH intramural internship programs, will not be able to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH. All other advice contained in the SIP application video DOES apply to the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH.

Is the application deadline for the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH the same as the deadline for the NIH SIP?
No. The final deadline for the Amgen Scholars Programs at NIH is 11:59 pm (EST) on February 1, 2018. You must complete your SIP application and Supplementary Amgen application AND ensure receipt of your reference letters by this deadline. If you select the Amgen subprogram but fail to complete your application by the February 1 deadline, your application will be added to the general pool of applications for the NIH SIP, which has a later application deadline.

Is there any advantage to applying early to the Amgen program? The Amgen program does not have rolling admissions. 
Every year, a significant number of individuals who are not eligible apply to the Amgen program. Pay attention to the eligibility criteria. In addition, if you submit your application early, and you are not eligible, we will be able to release your application to the general SIP pool early.

My school calculates the GPA using the 5.0 scale. How do I convert my GPA to a 4.0 scale?
To convert a 5.0 GPA to a 4.0 GPA, divide your cumulative 5.0 GPA by 1.25, or divide your cumulative GPA by 5 then multiply by 4. Both approaches will yield the same result.

Are letters of recommendation required?
Yes. Two letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application system. Please provide the email addresses for two recommenders in your application. Once you submit a completed application, an email will automatically be sent to each person providing further instruction. We only accept letters in electronic format. IMPORTANT NOTE: Both letters must be received by the application deadline.

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
We suggest you ask college professors, especially those with whom you've worked in a science course for your letters of recommendation.

Is an official transcript required?
An official transcript is not required to apply. However, if you are admitted you will be asked to provide an official transcript before final appointment to the program.

Can I apply to more than one Amgen Scholars Program site?
Yes, you can apply to as many Amgen Scholar Program sites as you like. Each site has its own application process, and application requirements may differ, so make sure to carefully read instructions.

Is there one application form for all program sites?
No. Each Amgen Scholars Program site has its own application.

Is the application deadline the same for all program sites?
Yes. The application deadline is February 1, 2018, for all sites.


AFTER I APPLY
When will I find out if I have been accepted into the program?
Applicants that are not eligible for the program will be notified by early February and their application will be released into the SIP applicant pool. We will notify accepted applicants regarding the status of their applications by March 1st, 2018.

If I am admitted to the program, what happens next?
We will reach out to you to verify your eligibility (all students must show proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status and submit an official transcript prior to the start of the program) and to begin the placement process. You will receive a list of NIH research mentors and their proposed summer projects and will be guided through the selection process. We will make every effort to place you with a research mentor whose work interests and excites you. However, the quality of the experience and its health disparities content are impacted by research environment, so we encourage you to be flexible and accept our guidance during the placement process.

What if I am not admitted?
We will release your application into the broader NIH SIP applicant pool and we will assist you with reaching out to NIH investigators to look for positions. If you are not interested in the NIH SIP, you may withdraw your application from the SIP database.

Is the cost and travel to and from the symposium, as well as room and board while at the symposium, covered by the program?
Yes.

If I am not selected this summer, can I apply again?
Yes, if you still meet the eligibility requirements next summer, you are welcome to apply again.