Duke PhD Students Can Propose Summer 2020 Internships through GSTEG


IMPORTANT UPDATE 4/16/20: In compliance with the Duke COVID-19 response regarding travel and other restrictions, we are reopening the Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grant (GSTEG) application process with a revised RFP. The new deadline is May 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

Deadline: May 1, 2020


The goal of this grant competition is to expand the opportunities for graduate students to augment their core research and training by acquiring additional skills, knowledge, or experiences that are not available at Duke and that will enhance their capacity to carry out original research. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories. In light of constraints imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, for Summer 2020, we will only be able to consider proposals from doctoral students without any or with only partial summer funding for remote internships with a community organization, government agency, NGO, or cultural institution, related to the student’s area of study.

In this revised RFP, we continue to have a preference for applications that demonstrate how the activities associated with the proposed research experience aligns with their fields of study and research interests; but in light of the circumstances associated with the pandemic, this criteria will have less importance in our evaluations this year.

The Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) resource page includes information and advice about how to explore research experiences eligible for GSTEG support.

Restrictions and Parameters

  • Grant funds may not be used for travel, nor for internships by masters or professional students.
  • Virtual/remote summer internships will typically involve three months of engagement, unless students already have partial funding, in which case they should propose internships of shorter duration that close any funding gap.
  • International students who reside in North Carolina or an approved US jurisdiction detailed below and who wish to apply for a summer internship should consult as soon as possible with Duke Visa Services for assistance with filing applications for Optional Practice Training and any other visa-related requirements.
  • Recipients of GSTEG funding for a summer internship cannot receive other Duke Summer funding, unless the combined funding does not exceed our baseline for three months ($2650 / month plus fringe and required summer fee).
  • Internship hosts must either be based in North Carolina or one of the other US jurisdictions available for Duke employment — the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.


  • All current doctoral students who do not have full summer funding may propose internships.
  • All internships must be performed virtually/remotely outside of Duke (i.e., may not involve research, training, or other engagement with a Duke unit).
  • Doctoral students with partial funding may apply for shorter term internships sufficient to provide full summer funding.
  • Doctoral student applicants must be resident this summer in North Carolina, the District of Columbia, or one of nine other states available for Duke employment: California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
  • Previous GSTEG awardees may not apply.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Proposals should specify the type of internship being sought, describe the nature of activities, and explain how the experience will contribute to the student’s intellectual trajectory and impact their dissertation research or capstone project. Successful past applications have made a compelling case for how the proposed experience would amplify the student’s intellectual agenda beyond the standard offerings within their program and opportunities otherwise available at Duke. The review process of submitted proposals will be overseen by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Executive Vice Provost.

Scope and Duration

The proposed internship experience may last for up to three months in the summer and awardees will receive a standard per-month stipend, capped at $2650 per month.

Proposal Requirements

The Provost’s Office uses Formstack to submit applications. You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • An updated CV (maximum two pages)
  • A brief narrative (maximum three pages) that articulates the proposed activities, how the experience will contribute to amplifying research training, and how it fits with overall academic, research, and professional plans, and that also explains why the internship lends itself to a remote/virtual arrangement
  • A letter from the prospective host that offers details about the anticipated project or projects, identifies the person within the organization to whom the doctoral student would report, describes the nature of engagement with organizational staff members, and specifies how the organization envisages a remote/virtual work experience
  • A brief plan (maximum one page) for any complementary training/research activities that a doctoral student will undertake during the course of the engagement with the host (such as other specific research activities or dissertation writing)
  • A proposed budget (maximum one page) for up to $2,650 per month (including fringe and required summer fees), and timeline for use of the funds
  • A letter or e-mail of support from your primary faculty advisor, sent separately to Amy Feistel, feistel@duke.edu, indicating how the proposed activities will enhance your intellectual trajectory
  • For international students applying for a summer internship, a description (maximum one page) of how the proposed activities align with visa requirements
  • A listing of all already awarded summer funding, along with concurrent proposals for summer funding (if applicants receive news about other funding proposals after the submission deadline, they should provide updated information to Amy Feistel, feistel@duke.edu.)

To apply, visit dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/gsteg_2020.


Revised RFP released 4/16/2020
Revised RFP deadline for submission 5/1/2020, by 5:00 p.m.
Grant recipients notified 5/10/2020
Funds made available (or sooner upon request) 5/20/2020
Funds to be expended by 9/1/2021


The GSTEG resource page provides:

  • Advice for doctoral students who wish to explore an individualized/custom summer internship
  • A link to further advice from the Duke Career Center about arranging a remote internship
  • Information about tax implications of internships occurring outside of North Carolina
  • Information about visa implications of internships undertaken by international doctoral students
  • Links to information about past GSTEG awardees.


For any questions related to the online application and/or other logistical questions, please contact Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu. For questions about whether to pursue a GSTEG application, or to talk through specific ideas for a proposal, such as identifying a potential summer internship host and developing a proposed plan of summer internship activities, the following individuals can provide guidance:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, melissa.bostrom@duke.edu (any discipline, PhD and research master’s students)
  • Heather Nickel, Senior Career Specialist, Office of Biomedical Graduate Education, heather.nickel@duke.edu (biomedical sciences)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement for the Humanities, maria.wisdom@duke.edu (humanities and interpretive social sciences)


What are the key elements of a strong GSTEG application?

The key is to articulate how the proposed experience will enhance your training in a substantial way and that the timing makes sense in light of where you are in your program.

Who is available to discuss whether a GSTEG proposal makes sense for me this year, given the range of options for seeking summer funding?

As with so many questions that confront graduate students, it’s a good idea to get input from multiple sources, though the mentors and sounding boards that make sense for individuals will vary. Your professors, your program’s DGS, key staff members with expertise about professional development, and peers can all be helpful; and of course you will need to discuss any proposal with your faculty advisor, since she/he will need to write a letter of endorsement on your behalf.

I’m a master’s student and would like to apply for a grant to fund a research internship.

We’re sorry – grants to support internships are only available for doctoral students.

I’m a doctoral student who is intrigued by the possibility of developing a proposal for a summer internship, but don’t have a good sense of how to get started. Who might be able to help me think about possible internships linked to my course of study and research interests, and guide me in reaching out to potential hosts and conceptualizing a proposal?

Several doctoral students around Duke have had internships. The GSTEG resource page includes links to reflections from these students, as well as some more general tips. In addition, there are several individuals who can help you think through this process, including:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, bostrom@duke.edu (PhD and research master’s students in any area of knowledge)
  • Rachel Coleman, Associate Director, Duke Career Center, coleman@duke.edu (all areas of knowledge)
  • Heather Nickel, Senior Career Specialist, Office of Biomedical Graduate Education, nickel@duke.edu (biomedical sciences)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement for the Humanities, wisdom@duke.edu (humanities and interpretive social sciences)

I’ve heard that there are now some pre-configured internship opportunities with organizations that have previously partnered with Duke. Where can I find out about those opportunities?

We will soon be posting a set of summer RAships and pre-configured internships, mostly with units around Duke, but also with some external organizations. That webpage will provide details about application processes. These opportunities do not fall under GSTEG, and will have a different application mechanism.

How long should internships be?

The appropriate amount of time for an internship can vary, depending on the nature of the research project(s) that you would be undertaking with your host organization and constraints related to your course of study and obligations within your program. We are willing to consider proposals for shorter-term internships of only one month; but in many cases a duration of two or three months is necessary for interns to get to know collaborators, gain exposure to organizational culture, and complete a more substantial piece of work. (As a reminder, GSTEG internships may last up to three months). In light of the imperative of providing summer funding for our doctoral students this year, we strongly encourage you to tailor the length of your internship and the nature of your project to your need for funding.

How should I think about the organization where I might pursue an internship?

As you consider different hosts for a potential internship, the most important consideration in putting together a GSTEG application is how that experience will enhance your intellectual development. Ideally, you want to find a host that will offer you the opportunity to engage with research projects that both provide value to the organization and will be relevant for your course of study. It’s also crucial that the host provides you with a clear supervisor and a plan for engagement with staff, so that you have a window on organizational culture and decision-making.

Any proposed internship must be virtual/remote and in compliance with Duke University’s coronavirus response policies.

What are the tax implications of doing a remote internship?

Applicants for a GSTEG-supported remote internship should give careful thought to tax implications and other logistical challenges. Employment taxation follows the location of the individual taxed. Thus if you receive GSTEG funding for a remote internship and remain in North Carolina this summer, you will be subject to North Carolina taxation regardless of the location of your employer. By contrast, if you are currently residing outside North Carolina but still in the United States, you will be subject to taxation in that jurisdiction.

One issue to keep in mind: we can only fund remote internships for doctoral students who during the term of the internship reside in North Carolina or in a US jurisdiction available for Duke employment outside of North Carolina. These jurisdictions are: the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. For links to each state/district and the most current employee withholding forms, consult this list.

Applicants who currently reside outside of North Carolina but within the US should note that even within these jurisdictions, there may be tax implications for income earned out-of-state, including separate withholding forms. Applicants should also consult their tax advisor with any questions.

Why do international students who want to pursue an internship need to reach out to Duke Visa Services?

International students need to remain in compliance with the terms of their student visas. Duke Visa Services can assist those students with fulfilling any additional requirements related to Optional Practical Training provisions or other aspects of adhering to visa-related obligations and limitations.