Don't Forget to Sign Up to Be a Volunteer Scholarship Reviewer

It’s that time of year again, AISES needs your help reviewing applications in order to award scholarships to deserving American Indian and Alaskan Native students across the country.  Each year, AISES awards scholarships to Native students pursuing STEM degrees at the undergraduate and graduate college levels. AISES volunteers are an invaluable resource in this effort and serve as reviewers for the various scholarship programs that AISES administers.  Scholarships range from $1,000 to $10,000 per school year, depending upon the scholarship program. 

Each eligible scholarship application is independently read and scored by three individuals to ensure a fair and objective review and selection process.  Volunteering to serve as a scholarship reviewer is an incredible display of your commitment to the STEM fields and, most importantly, Native students.  AISES is proud that its members rise to the challenge every year and offer their assistance in this important undertaking.  This year, we are hoping to have you sign up as a volunteer scholarship reviewer!

ONLINE SCORING ALLOWS FOR FLEXIBILITY

If you have served as a reviewer in the past or are a first-time reviewer, please note that the review process is fully automated now, with scholarship applications and the scoring rubric/questions all online.   Like the scholarship applicants, reviewers are set up with an online account and can access the assigned applications in their “portfolios” anytime, from anywhere that they have internet access, during the “review period”.  This provides the ultimate flexibility for folks who have busy schedules. Reviewers are given 12 days to read and score their assigned applications.  Each application takes approximately 30 minutes (on average, some more, some less) to read and score.  Applications include transcripts, resumes, general personal and academic information, two recommendation letters, and an essay/personal statement.  Applications are vetted by AISES staff prior to review to ensure that the student meets the basic eligibility requirements for each scholarship program they have applied for.  Reviewers would be expected to read between 12 to 15 applications over the 12-day review period.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE A VOLUNTEER REVIEWER?

Volunteer Reviewers must have a minimum of a bachelors’ degree or 3 years of experience as a STEM professional to serve as a reviewer. 

Volunteer reviewers must be an AISES member, STEM professional, or work with/for an AISES partnership organization (foundation, corporate donor, federal partner agency, etc.).

Volunteer reviewers do NOT have to be a Native American or Alaskan Native to serve as a volunteer reviewer.  You just need to be committed to the AISES mission.

Volunteer reviewers must agree to keep all information you receive and view confidential to protect the privacy of students. 

Volunteer reviewers must Inform AISES of any potential conflicts of interest/bias if an applicant in their portfolio is a personal acquaintance or family member. In such instances, we will reassign that applicant to another reviewer’s portfolio.

Volunteer reviewers agree that if they cannot complete their review, they will inform AISES immediately, as AISES strives to get final awards made early in the Fall Semester as students depend on the scholarship funds and the process is time-sensitive.

AISES PROFESSIONAL CHAPTER GROUP REVIEWS

If you are part of an AISES Professional Chapter and your chapter would like to review applications as a community service project, you may do so.  Please contact Tina Farrenkopf at AISES to set this up.  AISES can assign portfolios of 12 to 15 identical applications to review teams of three individuals within your Chapter.  Your Chapter may have as many review teams it can pull together.  Applications are typically read independently online, then the teams come together to discuss the applications and come to a consensus upon final scores for each application.  This approach allows the team members to read and score applications on their own timetable within the 10 day review period before coming together.  Alternatively, the review teams may meet and go through each application together to discuss and score as a team.  This can be done in one setting (expect to spend 30 minutes or more on each application) or over several meetings.  Note:  the review period, including meeting time, is still just 12 days.

REVIEW PERIOD

Reviewers will have access to their portfolio of applications beginning July 15, 2015.  Final scores are due no later than 11:59 p.m. (your time zone) on July 27, 2015.  Again, 12-15 applications will be assigned to each reviewer and should take 30 minutes to score (the first few take longer, than it gets briefer as you get the hang of it).  Please make sure you are available during this time period before committing to review.  Scholarship winners are notified by August 19, 2015.

Reviewers will be provided with a confirmation email and explicit instructions on how to access the online review platform and how to score before they are provided access to their assigned portfolio.  AISES Programs staff is also available to answer questions or concerns as they arise.

TO SIGN UP

If you’d like to volunteer in this most rewarding and incredibly important endeavor, please send an email to Tina Farrenkopf, Director of Programs, at tfarrenkopf@aises.org no later than July 2, 2015, stating that you are willing and available to review during the review period, that you meet the qualifications/requirements stated above, and that you are willing to read 12-15 applications (averaging 30 minutes each). 

Please also provide:
  • your full legal name
  • your job title and the name of the organization you work for (if applicable)
  • a daytime phone number; and
  • your email address (one that you check frequently).
QUESTIONS

If you have questions, please feel free to email Tina at tfarrenkopf@aises.org or call our AISES Colorado Field Office at 720.552.6123.