Frequently Asked Questions

What is GIFT, and what are GIFT's Goals?

GIFT is a professional development program for Georgia middle and high school teachers. GIFT is managed statewide by Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). Local partnerships support GIFT in local communities. In 2002, the University of Georgia began offering GIFT placements at University of Georgia - Tifton in South Georgia and has expanded to Athens and Griffin.

GIFT is designed to:

  • Enhance Fellows' mathematics, science or technology skills, knowledge, and abilities;
  • Foster teaching based on inquiry, problem solving and "real world" relevance;
  • Foster an increase in student inquiry skills and positive attitudes toward the sciences and mathematics.

All GIFT experiences share the following core components:

  • A mentored and paid summer work experience in science, mathematics or technology research or applications;
  • Summer and school year professional development meetings, workshops and discussion groups;
  • Building a community of learners through face-to-face and electronic opportunities.

Fellows are required to:

  • Complete the summer work experience in accord with the requirements of GIFT and the sponsoring organization;
  • Attend GIFT summer and school year meetings;
  • Complete an Action Plan, (a personal and / or school team strategy for improving science and mathematics teaching in one's own classroom, and assimilating the summer experience and goals set in national standards), and an Implementation Plan (a focused strategy for implementing and sharing some part of the summer work experience in the school year);
  • Take part in program evaluation, beginning upon acceptance and extending throughout the year after GIFT.
  • Invite GIFT staff to their classroom during the following school year to verify implementation of the Action Plan
  • GIFT provides
  • Up to 10 PLU credits upon successful completion of  all program requirements. Teachers receive 5 PLUs upon submission and approval of the GIFT Action Plan; and 5 PLUs upon verification by GIFT that plan has been implemented in the classroom.
  • Teachers receive $728 per week for their participation in the program.
  • Opportunities for networking, attendance, and presentations at professional educator and association meetings, locally, regionally, and nationally;
  • Access to all GIFT programs for teachers and K-12 students;
  • Feedback to your principal and system coordinator on your Action Plan.

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Eligibility for Application

Teachers of grades six to twelve are eligible for GIFT. High school (9-12) teachers must hold a professional teaching certificate in secondary school mathematics or science. Teachers of grades 6 - 8 must either have secondary certificates in mathematics or science, professional certification for middle grades with a concentration in mathematics or science, or be teaching in grades five, six, seven or eight, with a majority of classes taught being in the area of mathematics, science or computing and educational technologies. Applications will also be considered from teachers of elementary, non-science, mathematics subjects, the gifted or instructional resource teachers, as appropriate. All applicants should have a minimum of two years teaching experience in mathematics or the sciences; university research applicants should have a minimum of three or more years teaching experience. Teachers without professional certification may apply, but priority is given to teachers with professional certification.


  • Previous year GIFT fellows may apply for a second year GIFT fellowship, but are not given priority over other applicants.
  • Teachers may not be GIFT fellows for more than two consecutive years without prior approval from program coordinators.
  • Those interested in an additional GIFT experience should consider being a GIFT facilitator. See the website for more information.

Application Procedures

  • Completed applications require the signature of both the principal and a school system curriculum coordinator.
  • Applicants must also provide at least 2 professional references. Two of these references must be your school principal and department chairperson or curriculum coordinator.

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Processing of Applications

Following initial screenings, applicants will be matched to positions based on job descriptions. Industry and university personnel may interview applicants as part of the initial matching process. Applicants may be asked to interview at several work sites, depending on the availability of placements.

GIFT Placements

The essence of GIFT is the "match" between the teacher's educational background and instructional goals, and the attributes necessary for the summer work / research experience to be successful. Teachers are not "selected" so much as "matched," to give the best possible outcomes for all.

The Application

In preparing application materials, it is important to remember that the application represents the teacher to potential sponsors.

Click here to download the signature page

  • Review the Application Form
  • Fully complete the application and submit online
  • Make sure that the signature page is signed by the principal and department chairperson or curriculum coordinator; print and send a copy of the signature page.

  • Signature page should be mailed to:
    Center for Education Integrating Science, 
    Mathematics and Computing
    GIFT Program
    Georgia Institute of Technology
    Atlanta, GA 30332-0282
    Interview Procedures
  • Please dress for the interview in conservative business attire. Although this may not be the expected attire during the GIFT experience, it is necessary for interviews.
  • Arrive punctually. Keep in mind a list of thoughtful questions for those who will be interviewing. Questions, which help to define the position and the mentor's expectations, will be useful in making an informed and satisfactory decision.
  • Please respond to a sponsor's offer within three days. Once an offer is received, the application is removed from the applicant pool. Delays in rejecting an offer reduce the chance of being available for another position and prevent other qualified applicants from being reviewed. Consider carefully before rejecting a position; other appropriate positions may not be available or offered.
  • Some placements require drug-screening and / or background checks.
  • Interviews may be conducted in person or by phone.

Expectations of GIFT Fellows

GIFT expects a 100% commitment for the period of the GIFT Fellowship. It is not possible to undertake other summer workshops, or teaching responsibilities.

Expectations of GIFT Fellows' Administrations

GIFT expects that local schools and school systems will support GIFT Fellows in their efforts to transfer GIFT experiences into the classroom. GIFT will inform principals and system coordinators of the nature of Fellow's Action Plans.

GIFT Fellows are expected to:

  • Take ownership of the GIFT experience and spend an invigorating summer working and learning;
  • Put in a full-time effort each week of GIFT. This investment will determine the benefits of the program. Fellows will contribute as a hard working team member, carrying out summer activities as initially articulated in the position description and subsequently developed with the mentor;
  • Actively seek out opportunities to learn about the organization and to identify and develop resources that may be interesting or useful to students or colleagues;
  • Participate in the GIFT orientations during the school year, summer small group meetings, Kick-Off, End-of-Summer Celebration/Roundtables and peer mentoring and sharing workshops, as scheduled.
  • Design and implement an Action Plan for applying the summer GIFT experience in classrooms, schools or districts during the school year;
  • Participate in school year follow-up programs and site visits;
  • Evaluate program, as requested by employer and GIFT staff.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the GIFT Application

"Which coordinator needs to sign at the bottom of the Assurance Signature page?"
Your school system technology, math, science, or curriculum coordinator may sign the bottom of the Assurance Signature page. 

"What are the differences between the 'types of fellowships,' and for which am I eligible?"
Check the GIFT work experience(s) for which you wish to be considered. The more flexible you are, the more likely you will be placed. 

There are 3 typical types of positions:

Scientific or Technical Research Positions

  • Summer Work Experiences: 
    Biology, bioengineering, animal behavior, chemistry, physics, mathematics, earth and atmospheric sciences, engineering and computing, at Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Emory University, and other Georgia research universities, institutes, and some corporations.
  • Length of Summer Work Experience: 4-7 weeks, full-time.
  • Stipend: $728 per week with a maximum of $5100 for 7 weeks. Up to 10 Professional Learning Units (PLUs) awarded with a satisfactory aciton plan implementation.
  • Advance Preparation: Orientation meeting (spring); recommended reading; pre-planning with mentor.
  • Location: Metro-Atlanta, Statewide

Business / Management:

  • Summer Work Experiences: Financial institutions, hospitals, biotechnology firms, manufacturing and power plants, companies engaged in data processing, software applications or economic analysis, market research, medical and environmental analysis research, and many more.
  • Length of Summer Work Experience: 4-7 weeks, full-time.
    Stipend: $728 per week with a maximum of $5100 for 7 weeks, 10 professional learning units (PLU's) awarded with a satisfactory action plan implementation.
  • Advance Preparation: Orientation meeting (spring); recommended reading; pre-planning with mentor.
  • Location: Metro-Atlanta, Statewide

Training / Materials Development:

  • Summer Work Experiences: Business, research groups, and other science rich organizations, such as zoos and museums.
  • Length of Summer Work Experience: 4 -7 weeks, full-time.
  • Stipend: $728 per week with a maximum of $5100 for 7 weeks, 10 professional learning units (PLU's) awarded with a satisfactory action plan implementation.
  • Advance Preparation: Orientation meeting (spring); recommended reading; pre-planning with mentor.
  • Location: Metro-Atlanta, Statewide

"What should I know about my 'willingness to commute' and my odds for placement?"

The more willing you are to commute to different areas, the more times your application is likely to be sent out. If a company or university seeks a fellow, and an applicant has not indicated a willingness to commute, the GIFT office will move on to applicants who are willing to commute to that area. Sometimes, if an applicant pool is low in a region, GIFT will call fellows who have indicated a willingness to commute to nearby regions and ask if they would be willing to commute to areas not indicated on their applications. But GIFT is trying to eliminate these situations by encouraging all applicants to be as open minded as possible when they fill out their applications.

"Am I required to provide demographical information?"

No--this information is requested but not required. However, it is beneficial to GIFT to know if GIFT is reaching groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in science, mathematics, and technology. Of course, it is also beneficial to those groups.

"How do you decide which applications to send out?"

Businesses and universities who choose to participate in GIFT provide our offices with a "Job/Position Description," which tells us what those businesses are looking for in candidates. Then, GIFT matches the company's or university's needs with the skills revealed on the applications, generally through database queries.

Applications that best fit job/position descriptions are selected. However, some applications are sent out more due to a variety of factors: geographic, skills-related, and the willingness of the applicant to work in environments for which positions exist.

For instance, if a Norcross corporation seeks a teacher who has knowledge of Microsoft Excel, GIFT will sort its applicant records by A) Whether or not the applicant is interested in a business experience or not, B) If the applicant has knowledge of Microsoft Excel, and C) If the applicant is willing to commute to Norcross. If an applicant comes up yes for all three points, then the whole application is reviewed once again, then sent out if all looks well.

Sometimes applicants express a willingness to commute or relocate to other parts of the state for the summer in order to have a GIFT experience. While this works well for some teachers, it is important to remember that some companies have a strong preference for working with teachers from local schools.

Most corporations wish to review 3 to 5 applications, so in past years we've been able to give all our applicants a chance for placement.

"What happens after you send out a set of applications to a company?"

Once the sponsor reviews the applications, they select two or three candidates to interview. They then contact those candidates and arrange times for interviews.

GIFT's role in the selection process ends with the sending out of application packets (3-5 applications that seem to match the company's interests). The sponsoring organization decides whom they will interview and they select their GIFT fellows.

"Will you be contacting us for interviews, or will the company?"

You may be contacted either by the company/university or by GIFT. In some instances at the request of the sponsor, GIFT arranges interviews, but many sponsors prefer to directly contact teachers themselves.

"What are my chances of getting placed?"

Placement depends primarily on the quality of the teacher application and the nature of the position description. If the application is of high quality and the teacher's skills fit the position description, that teacher will likely be selected.

As common sense dictates, the more flexible you are in terms of willingness to travel and open-mindedness towards different types of work experiences, the more likely you will be placed.

"What happens if I get selected by one company, but I think I'd prefer to work in another?"

Every year some teachers lose the opportunity to participate in GIFT by waiting for their "ideal" work position to come along. It is important to consider any offer very seriously. ACCEPT AN OFFER FROM A COMPANY OR UNIVERSITY ONLY IF YOU ARE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN INTERNING THERE THAT SUMMER. When an offer is accepted, the teacher's name is removed from consideration for any other placement, including companies or universities that may have previously been sent that application.

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