Salary funding policy for externships
MSU BEST is not permitted to use NIH funds to fund graduate student salaries and compensate them directly for their participation in BEST. MSU graduate students and post docs do, however, maintain their regular stipend, which provides a degree of financial continuity. MSU Mentors, as part of their support of trainees and the grant program, recognize that graduate students and post docs in BEST will be out of the lab for a period of time during externships and will honor the established stipend.
Externships, which are a core part of MSU BEST, are designed to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the goals and interests of each BEST trainee as well as honor his/her obligations to the home lab. For some, an on-campus externship for one afternoon each (or every other) week is ideal; for others, a traditional three-month externship during the summer will achieve the goals determined by the trainee and his/her mentor. Some trainees will pursue paid externship opportunities, while the right externship for another trainee will be unpaid. Some externships will take place in environments where interns are a common presence in the organization, while others will pursue opportunities in environments who have less structure (or less budge available) for externs. MSU BEST encourages students to be creative in finding the externship opportunities that suit them, their professional goals, and their schedules.
Therefore, as part of negotiating participation in an externship, it is important to discuss with externship hosts, if financial support is available. We encourage trainees to be as inclusive in their search as possible, however, and not exclude unpaid opportunities if that is the right choice. However, being clear about expectations is an important facet of the externship experience. As noted above, each BEST Trainee is eligible to receive up to $500 to defray costs for professional development opportunities, including externship costs.