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VFP Program Information

May 26 - July 31, 2015

Getting Started
Our program begins Tuesday, May 26, 2015, and runs through Friday, July 31, 2015. Each participant will be paired with an Ames Laboratory/Iowa State University scientist/mentor; however, participants should also expect to work closely with graduate students. Our program is 10 weeks in length to allow sufficient time to write papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals, as suggested by mentors. Participants will also be required to prepare many other assignments.  Under the VFP program, faculty will deliver a 30-minute oral presentation to the PI's team/group including a 150 word abstract summarizing the presentation. Faculty are also required to submit a project report. Go to this address for additional information on faculty obligations:

Under the VFP program, student interns are required to make an oral or poster presentation on the outcome of your research activities, complete at 1500-3000 word research project report, a general audience abstract, and a one-page peer review of another VFP intern's talk or poster prior to the end of the program. Go to this address for additional information:

While your internship will naturally revolve around your work in the research laboratory, there will be other opportunities to expand your scientific knowledge through tours and presentations. As details for these events are finalized they will be added to the online calendar.  Participants will also meet with the internship coordinator once each week to discuss any issues related to their internship. Check calendar for dates and meeting locations. Deadlines for meeting deliverables will also be indicated on the calendar.

There are several options for computer access during the 10-week program:
1) bring your own computer
2) use a department computer (your mentor will alert you to the availability in your assigned department)
3) utilize computer labs located throughout campus

Your apartment complex is called SUV (Schilletter-University Village).  We will assign you to an apartment before you arrive. Rooming lists will be sent via email. The Web site has photos and layouts of the two-bedroom units. Interns will determine room sharing arrangements. In addition to the furnishings you see on the Web, all apartments have linens and towels. You do not need to provide any of this. There are two desks in each unit. Bringing your own furniture is discouraged. The units are furnished with new furniture, and there isn't a lot of extra floor space for additional items. Laundry facilities are available in a separate building in the apartment complex. IMPORTANT NOTE: All units are non-smoking and no pets are allowed!

Move-in Day: All apartment keys will be given to the first person to arrive in Ames (to be determined). You will simply check in with that person upon arrival. Watch your email for additional information.

Our program does not provide funding for off-site housing.  This includes participants who may already have housing in Ames. We believe part of the overall VFP experience is the growth experience provided by having our participants live together in on-campus apartments during our internships.  We feel the sharing of information and the camaraderie that comes from after-hours interactions is a valuable take-away from our program, a take-away that can last a lifetime.  We do not mandate that participants live in provided housing during their internship, but our program will not fund off-site housing. Please do not ask us to make a concession for you.

Internet Access
There is one jack in each apartment for a DSL modem (issued by the housing staff). You may want to visit with your roommates prior to arrival. If someone is willing to bring a wireless router, it will eliminate running cables to each computer.

Iowa State University
To learn more about our beautiful campus, click on the Iowa State University web site. 

Laboratory Supplies 
Laboratory coats, safety glasses and lab notebooks are required for work in the laboratory. The VFP program will pay for these expenses.

Living in Ames
The City of Ames has much to offer--parks, transportation, events, and more!!

Driving Directions to Schilletter-University Village

Schilletter-University Village complex map (VFP participants will be assigned units next to each other)

Orientation on Tuesday, May 26, will be in room 301 Spedding Hall. To locate Spedding Hall, go to campus maps. It's on the north side of campus. 

Meal Plan
Your apartment has a fully equipped kitchen (appliances, pots, pans, utensils, and dinnerware). This has been the preferred choice for past interns. However, if you would like to purchase an ISU dining plan, you can log onto AccessPlus to select a plan that works for your schedule. AccessPlus requires an ISU Network ID and password--which will be issued to each of you on orientation day. Before purchasing a dining plan, please locate the dining venues that are open during the summer (not all are in operation), and see where they are located in relation to your laboratory. For additional information (or assistance in purchasing a plan) contact Charles Braun, 515-294-1929. Meal plans are not provided by Ames Lab nor does Ames Lab have a cafeteria.

Report to Room 301 Spedding on the morning of May 26. You will not have parking passes for campus, so give yourself time to get here on foot or bicycle or bus.  A campus map can be found in the "Maps" section above. Bring vehicle information (if you will be parking a car at the apartment complex) and one form of government-issued identification (i.e. driver's license). Orientation will take all day (lunch will be provided). You will complete Human Resource forms, computer access forms, obtain an ISU ID, meet your mentors during lunch, get parking permits, and attend basic lab training.

Apartment Parking
Designated parking stalls are available at the SUV apartment complex. You will get permits on orientation day (you won't get a ticket during the move-in weekend). The program will pay for apartment parking. On-campus parking permits will be the responsibility of each participant (not paid by the program). Since you won't have either of these permits in place on the morning of May 26, please make other arrangements to get to campus. Please bring vehicle information to the orientation meeting--make, model, and license plate number. Also bring a valid driver's license.

Pay / Stipend
VFP faculty will receive a stipend of $1300 per week during the 10-week internship period. VFP student interns will receive a stipend of $500 per week during  the 10-week internship period. Stipend forms (and other important documents) will be completed at our orientation meeting. You must bring one form of government-issued identification (i.e. driver's license). 

VFP participants are not Ames Lab (or ISU) employees; therefore, paraticipants will not receive a W2 at income tax time.  Each will receive a 1099-MISC (sent to the permanent address indicated on your application).   The stipend is taxable income.  Please check with your tax preparer if you have questions about filing your tax return.

Preprogram Survey 
Log back into the VFP Web site and complete the preprogram survey. It isn't due until after you arrive on campus, but it would be in your best interest to do as much as you can before your arrival. This site also contains important information about your deliverables.  Faculty will deliver a 30-minute oral presentation to the PI's team/group including a 150 word abstract summarizing the presentation. Faculty are also required to submit a project report. Students will be required to make an oral or poster presentation, complete at 1500-3000 word research project report, a general audience abstract, and a one-page peer review of another VFP intern's talk or poster prior to the end of the program.  Feel free to ask questions when you get here. 

Public Transportation
The Ames bus system (CyRide) provides a cost-effective way to get back and forth to the Ames Laboratory from your apartment.  Take advantage of this unique opportunity!

Reimbursement for Travel
The maximum amount for travel reimbursement is $500. You will make your own travel arrangements. You can move in as early as Sat., May 23. This is a federal program, therefore, federal policies apply to travel. You must contact Deb (515-294-9557) by April 3 with your travel plans. We need to know your departure and return cities, method of travel, flight numbers, etc. (to coordinate shuttles to and from the Des Moines airport and apartment key distribution.) The program will reimburse round trip airfare or round trip mileage only--no hotels, meals, etc. When the round trip is completed (on or around August 1), the reimbursement forms will be submitted. You should get your reimbursement check within a couple weeks after the program ends. Contact Deb with questions.

Airport shuttle schedules will be emailed to air travelers prior to arrival.

What do I bring with me
Bring yourself and your clothes. Everything from linen to kitchenware is provided with the apartments--this also includes computer hookup and cable TV. Computers are optional (see computer section).

What to Wear
The dress code is casual (jeans, khakis, shorts, capris). Ask your mentor if your work environment has additional requirements (closed-toed shoes, etc.) Lab coats and safety glasses will be provided, if required. The poster presentation will require business attire, so plan accordingly. 

What we DO NOT provide 
- Meals. You are on your own for all meals except those we designate as provided. Apartments have kitchens, pots, pans, dishes, etc. Meal plans are available (see above).
- Transportation in and around Ames. City buses are available (see above)
- Payment for any outside activities, such as ball games, canoe trips, etc. will be the responsibility of each student.
- Arrangement of travel to Ames. You must make your own flight or driving arrangements (remember to confirm plans with Deb). 
- Membership in Iowa State University fitness facilities--students can purchase their own passes for this, however. 

What will my weekly schedule include
Forty hours a week is the normal work week. It will be up to you and your mentor to determine your schedule. Also, we are planning a weekly progress meeting and possibly some "out-of-laboratory" activities. In addition to your research experience, we try to enjoy some leisure activities.


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