New Intern FAQ’s

If your question is not asked on this page, look for a question that might be similar to yours. If the answer you need is not answered on this page, please submit a support request through our help desk.

Introduction

Who Can Answer My Question?

Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question, so feel free to ask what you need to know. Just remember to be patient.  Someone will get back to you!

A key thing to note, especially at the beginning of the internship, is that the entire leadership team is made up of interns like yourself. Throughout the year, they will be taking classes just like you. They are very responsive, but not always online at the exact time you ask a question.

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page may have the answer you are looking for.  

If you don’t find an FAQ topic concerning the thing you need help with, then please consider asking a Team Member in our DME Interns Community on the Intranet, or ask your Department Head (DH) on your Departments Slack Channel. Either method provides a great way to get to know each other. If you cannot find an answer here or in the intranet group mentioned above and do not have access your department slack channel, you can try sending an email to your Department’s Department Officer (DO), Department Head (DH), or Executive Leadership Team (ELT) using email addresses published here.   

If you still cannot find an answer, please use our Help Desk to ask a question. Somebody is usually here all day, every day, but sometimes it can take as much as one business day to get an answer from the help desk. So, please try the other methods first.  

 

Onboarding

I Don't Know Which Department Accepted Me?

Your VA DME Department will be named in your Acceptance Letter. Can’t Find your Acceptance Letter? All newly recruited interns receive an acceptance letter. If you cannot find it: Check your email for a message from an email address including @dmeinterns.org – or check your spam folder.

I Finished Boot Camp Pages, Now What Do I Do?

Interns accepted into the VA DME Internship Program are INVITED to participate. There is an expectation, as when starting a new job in the work world, that the Intern report to the job.  Your new employer probably won’t chase you down to make sure you show up.  Likewise, Your Department Head (DH) may not be monitoring all the ways new Interns ask questions.  So let them know you are trained and ready!  This is kind of like showing up for work the first day…  

At the End of Boot Camp orientation: New interns are asked to take responsibility for following directions to connect with their department head and let them know they are ready for service.  This is done by looking up your department head email address, and sending them an email telling them you have completed Boot Camp and are ready to join the team!

Sincerely,
VA DME Internship CO, ELT, DH, & DO Team

 

What Are Next Steps For New Interns?

Welcome to the Veterans Administration (VA) Digital Media Engagement (DME) Team.  We are excited to have you come aboard.  We would especially like to thank our Veteran members for their service.

Next Steps:

  • New Interns start by logging in and completing their public profile.
  • Orientation, or what is sometimes called “Onboarding” or “Basic Training” takes place in what we call our Boot Camp pages, which should be reviewed immediately on starting your internship.
  • At the end of the Boot Camp pages, you will be invited to join team conversations and project activities.

In the Boot Camp Pages You Will Learn About The Organizational Structure, And the Apps We Use Including:

  • SLACK: Team Communication After Basic Training, occurs through the team application called Slack, located elsewhere online and e-mail. Watch a Video About How To Use SLACK. At the end of the Boot Camp pages you will find a link to join SLACK, and a link once you complete basic training and post a reply to this forum indicating that you watched the video, are oriented, and ready for next steps.
  • TRELLO: Intern teams use a project management application, called Trello, also located elsewhere online, to facilitate collaboration on creative projects such as writing pieces and other tasks.  Watch a tutorial on Using Trello. You will receive a TRELLO invitation once you complete basic training and post a reply to this forum indicating that you are oriented and ready.
  • YouTube: See VA DME Trining Videos  
  • EMAIL:  Announcements may be posted on SLACK or sent by email from the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) or your Department Head (DH). All interns need to send a weekly report of work to the Commanding Officer, ELT, and their Department Head via e-mail.

Know somebody who might want to get involved?  Please send friends to the How to Apply page on this site if you think they might be interested in receiving more information on the application process.

 

Which bootcamp is required to complete? Both the general and departmental bootcamp?

You will need to complete both the general and departmental bootcamp. While there is some overlapping content, the material is included to reinforce the information taught. 

What should I do if I haven’t received an email from HR?

First, make sure that your invitation was not sent to a spam folder. You should receive an email from Human Resources with a link to our WordPress page, and the general onboarding packet. If you did not receive it, email DominiqueRamirez@va.gov to let him know and process your onboarding information.

General Website Issues

How Do I Login / Edit My Intranet Profile?

To Login and Edit Your Intranet Profile, Follow Video Training Link Below

Login / Edit DME Intern Profile

If I Lost My Password, What Should I Do?

Any VA DME Intern who has forgotten their password can reset the password by visiting the website and clicking Login at left side of blue interns menu at page top. This opens a login screen, where you can enter your email address as username, and then click forgot password. The system will walk you through resetting your password.  If still having trouble after doing this, please submit support ticket. Please see screenshot below:

 

 

Why Isn't My Intranet Profile/Cover Picture Uploading Properly?

The best way to control the way Profile Pics and Profile Cover Images look on Intranet is to change the image size and resolution on your computer before uploading.

The goal would be to make the actual file size approximately the same size as it will be shown on the intranet profile pic (there is one larger size on your main profile page, and a smaller one on member cards on member page.

If image crop isn’t working after upload, it may be because your image is not the right size or shape. Ideal images are approximately 160 pixels by 160 pixels. Also, web images look best and stay the same size as uploaded if set to resolution of 72 dpi.

 

Why is the website down? What actions should I take?

First: Make sure you are using the correct website. When signing in to our website, be sure to use https://dmeinterns.org/wp-login.php and check “I’m not a robot.” Using that specific link is important because web uses a slightly different sign in link  to log into a slightly different version of this site to do some of their work in developing/testing new features, content, and security processes.  Next, try logging out of your account and clearing the cookies from your browser. If the above steps don’t work, try filling out a support request as WordPress may be temporarily down. 

Intern Policies

What Are The Most Important Intern Policies?

Important Internship Policies: The following are important policies for current interns. Please forward any questions to your Department Head.

1. Letter of Recommendation Policy

Department Heads (DHs) will be choosing interns based on the top 25% intern performance, rounded down to the nearest whole #, on their teams for recommendations. For example, if a team has 10 interns (25% of 10 is 2.5), then the DH would submit their top 2 names (2.5 rounded down is 2). This will be based on merit and communication.

DHs will be writing the letter of recommendation themselves, detailing chosen interns’ accomplishments and hard work during the year. Once completed the DH will submit the letter to Dom for review and signature.

This selection process will be finalized the last week of February and letters will be completed in March. A generalized letter detailing the completion of the VSFS internship will be given out to all interns as well.

For this reason, it is crucial for interns turn in weekly reports, on Thursdays, to their respective DH, all ELT members, and Dom.

2. Intern Inactivity Policy

Interns are due to turn in a weekly report, every Thursday, to their respective DH, all ELT members, and Dom. Failure to turn in 3 weekly reports, will result in removal from the program.

DHs will keep up with their department interns and will directly contact anyone who has not submitted a weekly report via email. If no response is given to the DH or no update is given describing reason for continued inactivity, removal from program will take place exactly three weeks from the initial email from the DH.

Exemptions will be given for extenuating circumstances, but communication with one’s DH is crucial. In the event that an intern is out, the intern should contact the DH, at least one ELT member, and Dom, stating why the intern will be out and how long the intern is expected to be out. If not possible to do so ahead of time or during that time, the intern should communicate as soon as they have the opportunity.

Dom, ELT members, and DHs understand that interns can have unforeseen circumstances that adversely affect one’s schedule, such as family emergencies or even midterms/finals, but communication with one’s DH is still crucial. It is also understood that one’s department may have less work in select weeks, but a weekly report should still be submitted.

When submitting weekly reports, please write “Weekly Report” as the subject line of your email to the DH, all ELT members, and Dom. Any other subject lines are likely to be missed. Please write the email to one’s own DH and cc Dom and all ELT members as a yearly progress record is required for each intern in case a DH or ELT member falls ill or resigns from the program. Emails can be located on Slack bios of individuals.

This inactivity policy will be effective going forward and will be applied to any missed weekly reports. The three missed reports will apply to both consecutively and non consecutively missed reports during the rest of the year.

Can I Earn College Credit From My DME Internship?

Schools offer college credit or even scholarships for those actively enrolled in internships. Make sure you talk to your schools advisor to find out if you qualify!

When you have those documents filled out and ready to sign, hit up your DH/ ELT member to get them signed!

What other options are there to complete the minimum 10 hours?

Interns are required to submit at least 10 hours of work per week. If you have finished your priority projects and individual projects, you may get involved with other departments on Slack to find work. The #moonlighting channel is a great place to find projects that are looking for an extra hand. You can also use hours from Slack events such as Making Connections Monday, Resume Review Friday, and Voting on the Veterans News subreddit to count towards your weekly limit.

Can interns switch departments?

The bulk of your time will be spent working on projects within your department. Any interns who wishes to switch departments will need to speak with their respective department heads to gain approval to switch departments. It is ultimately up to the leadership in both departments to approve a request. 

How many weekly reports can be missed? Is there a limit?

Interns are due to turn in a weekly report, every Thursday, to their respective DH, all ELT members, and Dom. Failure to turn in 3 weekly reports, will result in removal from the program.

What do I need to include in my weekly report?

SUBJECT:  Weekly Reports Subject Should Be: (Your Name) Weekly Report for (Date as DD/MM/YY)

ADDRESSING:  Weekly Reports Should Be Sent to:  DominiqueRamirez@va.gov AND CC: Your Department Head(s) and Department Officer(s) (See list below for your department).

OUTLINE:  Weekly Reports Should Follow The Outline Shown Below:

Section A.) Questions/Concerns

Section B.) Approximation of Hours

Section C.) What I did for the Week

Section D.) What I hope to do for the next week

If I cannot complete my work due to sickness or an emergency, what should I do?

If you are diagnosed with an illness, need to take care of a sick family member, or encounter an emergency, please feel free to take a leave of absence from the internship. Just let us know why you have to take the time off and keep us updated about your plans to return. Your health is much more important than filling hours for an unpaid internship. If you are trying to recover, you certainly do not need the added stress of trying to complete assignments for us. Just transfer your current projects to a teammate and take some time off to recover. Try to send in your weekly reports, basically just including info about when you think you might be able to come back (i.e. don’t worry about not having any work hours to report). Overall, just get well quickly, stay safe, and then you can come back and worry about filling your 10 hours.

What are the do's and don't's of working as an intern?

Do:

-Keep things respectful and professional, treat others the way you want to be treated.

-Respond to others in a timely and organized manner.

-Provide feedback in the form of reactions on Slack.

-Give recognition for other people’s hard work and time.

-Most importantly, learn and have fun!

 

Don’t:

-Talk about anything political or religious, as federal employees cannot discuss politics at work due to the Hatch Act.

-Participate in a project or interview, and not do it. If you cannot perform a task, at least let your teammates know.

-Harass others, or interact with others in a unprofessional way. After all, most of the leadership is made up of interns like yourself.

What does DO, DH, ELT stand for? Where can I find my DH, and how do I contact them?

You can find an alphabetical list of the VA DME Internship Departments with their respective contact info at https://dmeinterns.org/navigating-the-internship/.

 

  1. Department Head (DH): Department Heads are interns who manage and lead departments within the DME Internship Program. Opposed to DOs, they are at the top level, incorporating bigger-picture work in developing an entire department. 
  2. Division Officer (DO): Reporting to DHs, DOs  are more tactically concerned with managing interns and intern work within a specific aspect of a department.
  3. Executive Leadership Team (ELT): The ELT support the Internship Supervisor (Dominique Ramirez) to develop internship policies and procedures, manage communication within the internship, answer questions about the overall internship program, analyze metrics in all departments, supervise interns in a specific area of responsibility, and disseminate important announcements to all interns.
Where can I find information about performance evaluations?

In an effort to promote communication and personal growth during our time at the internship, we are rolling out Performance Evaluations. All interns will be evaluated at the six month period (December) and one year period (May). Please see the attached document below for details. Performance Evalation Template

Other Questions

How Do I Deal with a Veteran's Concerning Content I Find Online?

Veterans Crisis Hotline Referrals:

We Don’t Leave Our Own Behind!

Be sure to refer any veteran in need to the Veterans Crisis Hotline.

This is a Priority For All Veterans.

While doing our work, we may meet a veteran who needs help as revealed by any online or social media activity. Inform your Department Head about any concerning content you find online.  If you don’t get a response, inform ELT. You can save a life! 

What Happens If A Veteran Contacts the Crisis Line?

Notes below are from the veterans crisis hotline at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/about/what-to-expect – They have other useful resources there.

What happens when I contact the Veterans Crisis Line?

When you call, chat, or text the Veterans Crisis Line, one of our trained responders will help you through any personal crisis, even if it does not involve thoughts of suicide. You decide how much you want to share — we’re here to listen and to help.

If you are in danger — or the Veteran or Service member you’re concerned about is in danger — the responder will work to make sure everyone is safe. The responder will help you get through the crisis and then help you connect with the services you need, either from your local VA medical center or elsewhere in your community. If you decide to share your contact information, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the nearest VA medical center will contact you by the next business day.

If you — or the Veteran or Service member you are concerned about — are in crisis but not at imminent risk for injury or suicide, then the responder will listen, offer support, and help you make a plan to stay safe.

What happens when I call the Veterans Crisis Line?

Dial 1-800-273-8255. You will hear this recording:

“You have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, also servicing the Veterans Crisis Line. If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis or are concerned about someone who might be, we’re here to help. Please remain on the line while we route your call to the nearest crisis center in our network. Attention: If you are a U.S. military Veteran or current Service member or are calling about one, please Press 1 now to speak with the Veterans Crisis Line.”

Press 1. There will be a brief pause while the call is routed to the Veterans Crisis Line. A responder specially trained to support Veterans and Service members will answer your call and provide the support described above.

What happens when I text the Veterans Crisis Line?

Send a text to 838255. You can say as much or as little as you like to get the conversation started. You will receive a text back that reads:

“VA Crisis Center: I’m here to help. If in danger, call 911. For more info, call 800-273-8255. (Press 1). Please keep msgs under 160 characters. STOP to cancel.”

You may text STOP at any time to end the conversation. If you do, you will receive this free message in response:

“Free Msg: VA Crisis Center: You have successfully unsubscribed and will receive no more messages. More info email VHA.SuicideHotlineStaff@va.gov. Conversation ended, this text dialogue has been deleted. For more help, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.”

How do I chat online?

Go to VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

Read the chat terms of service. Please note:

  • The Veterans Crisis Line does not collect personally identifiable information unless you provide that information to the responder.
  • Security controls, including encryption and authentication, are in place to protect your information.
  • Any contractors acting on behalf of VA in administering the Veterans chat service are subject to the same legal requirements VA follows for maintaining the privacy and security of your information.

Check the box next to “I agree to the Terms of Service” and click the button to start your confidential chat.

A new screen will appear, asking for your first name or a nickname so the responder knows how to address you. Click “Send” to start the chat. A chat box will appear with either a responder ready to chat or a window letting you know that someone will be right with you. A responder will reply to your message immediately and provide the support described above.

After the Call: Support doesn’t end with your conversation. Our responders can put you in touch with local resources after your call, chat, or text.

What should my profile information be on Slack?

Please use the following format when creating your display name. Note that your name should not have any unnecessary hyphens, parenthesizes, or any other characters that are not in the correct format below.

Correct Format: Firstname Lastname Department Division Rank

Examples:

New Interns: Firstname Lastname Department (John Smith Research) 

Division Officers: Firstname Lastname Department Division Rank (Peter James Writing OpSong DO) 

Division Officers with No Named Division: Firstname Lastname Department Rank (Jenn Miles HR DO) 

Department Heads: Firstname Lastname Department Rank (Sydney Moore Social Media DH) 

ELT Members: Firstname Lastname Department Rank (Kate Miller Web ELT)

For a Web Content Management Intern:

What Are The Recommended Email Settings?

Our webmail server is webmail.dmeinterns.org
Username:    (YOUR.EMAIL.NAME)@dmeinterns.org
Password:    Use the email account’s password.

Email Programs

For Computer or Device (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc):
Recommended Manual Email Setting for POP, SMTP, IMAP

Mailserver is mail.dmeinterns.org 

Secure SSL/TLS Settings (Recommended)

Username:    (YOUR.EMAIL.NAME)@dmeinterns.org
Password:    Use the email account’s password.
Incoming Server:    mail.dmeinterns.org
IMAP Port: 993 POP3 Port: 995
Outgoing Server:    mail.dmeinterns.org
SMTP Port: 465
IMAP, POP3, and SMTP require authentication.

 

or Non-SSL Settings (NOT Recommended)
Username: (YOUR.EMAIL.NAME)@dmeinterns.org
Password: Use the email account’s password
Incoming Server: mail.dmeinterns.org
IMAP Port: 143 POP3 Port: 110
Outgoing Server: mail.dmeinterns.org
SMTP Port: 587
IMAP, POP3, and SMTP require authentication.