Placement Week FAQs
1. When and where is Placement Week?
Executive Placement Week will be held from October 15-28, 2020. All activities will be virtual. The majority of activities will occur between 12:00-6:00 EST.
Legislative Placement Week will be held from January 25-29, 2021. All activities will be virtual. The majority of activities will occur between 9:00-6:00 EST.
2. What time should I arrive in D.C. to give enough time to get to the hotel, settled, and ready for Sunday night's event kicking off Placement Week?
Due to global pandemic, COVID-19, all placement week activities will be held virtually.
3. What do I wear during the Placement Process, when do I need to wear it, and do I have to break the bank to update my graduate student wardrobe?
Business dress and business casual are the appropriate professional attire for Placement Week. It constitutes the following:
Men - Suit with dress shirt and tie; business casual would be a non-suit, i.e. a dress jacket (blazer, etc.) with dress slacks, dress shirt, and tie (optional). Dress shoes are an obvious component as well.
Women - Suits (pants or skirts) with a blouse. Dress shoes are part of the getup as well. Hose is appropriate with skirt suits (plus, it's likely to be chilly in October/November). Business casual would be slacks or skirt with blouse or dress sweater.
Bottom line: You want to dress according to how you want to be perceived by the Hosts. Your appearance leaves the first impression and you obviously want that impression to be a good one. However, don't go breaking the bank to achieve this and make sure your shoes are comfortable (or bring a change of shoes along!).
We advise business dress for all interviews.
4. What should I expect from the Virtual Process?
We have all been forced to learn how to funciton in the digital space. While the placement process may not look the same as it has in the past, we have worked hard to replicate or replace the key activities.
Pro Tip: You will be on video for all activities (including interviews). Make sure that you have a space that you will not be disrupted, with good lighting, and a work appropriate background.
5. How flexible is the February 1 start date for the fellowship?
The start date is flexible within 1-2 weeks of February 1. There have been fellows in the past who have needed to start earlier or later due to school- or personal-related matters. The fellowship would simply run 365 days from the time that you start (e.g. Start: Feb 1, 2021; End: Jan. 31, 2022). Having said that, it is strongly recommended that you inform Hosts during Placement Week of your scheduling needs. While Hosts are understanding and flexible on this issue, they prefer not to have any surprises. It is standard for offices to think about their staffing schedules well in advance.
Bottom line: Be forthcoming about your scheduling needs with the hosts during Placement Week and all will be fine.
6. Can I contact the host (i.e. the supervisor) personally?
Contact with any host (including current fellows) prior to Placement week is strongly discouraged and can be grounds for dismissal from the fellowship program. It is important that no finalist has an advantage (or even a perceived advantage) over other finalists. Conversely, hosts should be on a level playing field as well. This can happen, even innocently, if hosts and finalists are in discussions prior to Placement Week. Finalists will receive information on Host location and contact information during Placement Week introductions.
Following the placement process, you are welcome to reach out to the hosts. This can be your first step to building a professional network within the DMV.
7. When do we sign up for interviews for Placement Week?
Sign up for interviews will follow presentations by all potential hosts on Monday, so finalists will be able to hear from each host office before choosing interviews.
8. How many interviews should I sign up for during Placement Week?
Executive - We encourage you to sign up for 16-18 interviews, based on your impressions from the Host position descriptions in the database and Host presentations on Monday. Fewer than 16 and you won't meet many host offices, more than 18 and it might be hard to assess the best fit.
Legislative - With a smaller number of host offices than Executive Fellows, you will be able to interview with nearly every host office.
9. When are interviews during Placement Week?
Interviews take place on the host platform of choice. You will get a meeting invitation directly from the potential host.
10. Should I bring my resume to each of my interviews during Placement Week? How about my goal statements, etc.?
There is no need to bring any part of your application package to your interviews during Placement Week. Hosts will have portions of your application packages on file via a password-protected website. It is their responsibility to have your application package on hand as a resource for your interviews. We encourage you to review your personal statement - it will have been months since you wrote it, but Host offices are viewing it for the first time.
11. What if I have updated information that isn't on my resume that I want to convey to hosts?
If there are new activities, achievements that you want hosts to know about that aren't on your resume or in your application package, bring this up verbally in your interviews. There's no need to update your resumes/CVs for Placement Week. Giving hosts a verbal update on your credentials will suffice. It will also serve as a good conversation starter.
12. How are Hosts and Fellows matched, i.e. how does placement work?
Following the interview period, prospective host offices will rank their preference for the finalists they have interviewed. Finalists will also rank the offices with which they interviewed. Both sets of rankings are submitted to the National Sea Grant Fellowship Manager.
Placement decisions for both the executive and legislative classes will be made by a matching algorithm. The algorithm is for two-sided matching markets - so it takes into account both the preference of the hosts and the finalists and produces matches that maximize the preference of both sides. Though this does not guarantee everyone receives their top choice, it does tend to result in high preference matches. This algorithm is most famously used in the National Resident Matching Program - used to match medical residents with hospitals.
13. How is the fellowship agreement finalized?
The National Sea Grant College Program has a "Ratification Document" that commits the Host and the Fellow jointly to the fellowship program. It is signed by a Host Office representative, the Fellow, and the Knauss Program Manager.
14. Where do I start looking for health insurance? My state Sea Grant program? My host office? Go on my own? How are insurance costs covered?
Health insurance costs will come out of the $11,500 non-stipend funds as part of the fellowship (moving expenses and fellowship travel are also part of that $11,500). Your host office does not cover your health insurance. Here's how you get the health insurance ball rolling:
a. Call your state Sea Grant program or University and check to see if they enroll their fellows in a health insurance plan. Some SG programs will put their fellows on the same health insurance plan as other state SG employees (if you are an employee of your state SG program, or your college/university). If the SG program does in fact enroll you in their program, work with them on the details of how those premiums are paid, the details of the plans, etc.
b. Most fellows not covered by your state SG program will search out health insurance on their own. Some will enroll in a policy in their home state before coming to D.C. Others will enroll in a plan once they get to D.C, through the DC Healthcare Exchange (https://dchealthlink.com/) . There's no conventional wisdom here and where you enroll may depend on how long your current policy runs. Be sure to check on the dates of your current plan as well as the terms of potential plans you're shopping to avoid a lapse in coverage.
c. Married? If you're married and your spouse has his/her own health insurance plan, you might be able to get incorporated into your spouse's plan. This would circumvent the need to enroll in a policy for just yourself and would free up more money in your $11,500 for moving expenses and travel.