General Questions:

Q. Am I eligible for the 2024 Hutton Scholars Program?

A. The 2024 Hutton Program is available to students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and the Pacific Islands. The availability of a mentor in your geographic region is not guaranteed, but we have an extensive network of fisheries professionals and a high probability of finding local mentors for our selected students. Eligible students must be rising high school juniors, seniors, or rising college freshman. Students must be 16 years old by application closing, January 16th, 2024. 

Q. How long is the internship program?
A. The Hutton Program is an eight week summer internship program. Attending the Scholar’s Summit counts as a week of the student’s internship. Start and end dates are flexible and determined by the selected student and their mentor.

Q. Are Hutton Scholars paid for their time working with their Hutton Mentor?
A. Yes! Hutton Scholars receive a $3,000 stipend over the course of their eight week internship, receiving four separate paychecks of $750 every two weeks.

Q. What kinds of activities do Hutton Scholars participate in?
A.  Each student that is accepted into the Hutton Program and matched with a mentor will participate in a unique internship opportunity for the summer. Hutton Mentors are located all over the country and work with a wide variety of organizations, resulting in a unique internship opportunity at each location. The student may work outdoors in the field, on a boat, in a laboratory, and in an office. Possible activities might include:

  • taking fish population surveys
  • establishing aquatic vegetation and fish habitat
  • electrofishing
  • snorkeling
  • examining specimens under a microscope
  • water quality testing
  • data processing
  • assisting with children’s educational programs
  • and much more!

Some fieldwork activities can be quite rigorous and can involve overnight, multiple day, or week-long trips. Students must be willing to perform the duties outlined by the mentor in their preliminary meeting.

Q. Is the program available in my area?

A.  The Hutton Program is available in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Islands. Student’s are selected into the Hutton Program based on their application materials. If there is no mentor identified in the student’s area, we will work with our contacts and network of fisheries professionals to find a suitable mentor for the selected student. 

Q. Are there any pre-requisite classes that I should take to prepare me for my experience?

A.   No pre-requisite courses are required; however, past Hutton students have found that science courses such as Ecology, Conservation, Biology, and Geology were helpful as were other courses such as Statistics and Computer Science. 

Q. When will mentors and students be notified that they’ve been accepted into in the program?

A.   A selection panel meets in February to select the students who will participate in the program. Final decisions are made by April and all student applicants are informed by phone or e-mail of their selection status. Selected students are provided with an acceptance email and information on their mentor match. Mentors will be notified by email and given the students’ contact information. Student-mentor pairs make arrangements to meet together with the student’s parent(s)/guardian to discuss the duties, responsibilities, and summer schedule. If the mentoring arrangement is acceptable to the student, mentor, and parent(s)/guardian, the student accepts the internship by completing the acceptance form, having it signed by the mentor and parent(s), and returning the form to AFS by a pre-determined date by the end of May to reserve the student’s place in the program.

Q. If I was a student in last year’s Hutton Program, can I apply for the program again?

A.  No. Students who have participated in the Hutton Program before are no longer eligible to apply.


Q. Do I need to submit an official transcript?

A.  AFS will accept both official and unofficial transcripts from students. Please refer to your high school’s requirements when requesting transcripts, to allow for enough transcripts to arrive by the deadline.

Q. How do I submit my transcript and Student Reference Form?

A.  Students can ask that transcripts and reference forms emailed to [email protected]. Students may also upload transcripts and references directly into the student application. If your high school requires that official transcripts be mailed, please contact the Education Program Coordinator at [email protected]

Q. Can I apply as a high school freshman?

A.  No. The Hutton Program is open to students who will be rising high school juniors, rising high school seniors, and rising college freshmen at the time of the summer internship. Students must be 16 years of age by January 16, 2024. With this in mind, for the summer 2024 Hutton cohort, we will be accepting students who will graduate from high school in 2024, 2025, and 2026.

Student Schedules and Required Hours:

Q. What is a student’s schedule like?

A.   Students are expected to work 32-40 hours a week on a schedule determined between them and their mentor. Students are required to meet with their mentor prior to the start of their internship to work out the start and end dates to their internship, daily schedule and additional locations for the internship (i.e. field site locations). Students and mentors may take a week or two off during the summer as long as they complete all eight weeks of the internship. 

Q. How many hours a week are students required to work?

A.  Each Hutton Scholar works 32-40 hours/week during the course of their internship. Due to the nature of the work some students participate in, days may be longer than the usual eight hour work day. Accepted students must be willing to work long field days that may last 10-12 hours. Students should not work more than 80 hours per two week period and their mentor should adjust their schedule accordingly. 

Q. What if a student works more than 40 hours in a week?

A.  If a student works extra hours in a given week, it is expected that the mentor will allow them to work less than 40 hours the following week. 

Q. Can a student participate in the program for longer than the paid internship period?

A.  Yes, a student can choose to participate for longer than the minimum required time, but the stipend amount will not change. Students interested in continuing their work should talk to their mentors directly to find out about any opportunities that may be available.

Q. Can a student take a vacation during the program?
A.  Vacations and holidays are left up to the mentor’s discretion and will not affect the stipend amount, as long as the student completes the required eight weeks for their internship. If extensive time off is requested, such as a week or more, it is expected that the student will make up that time so that the minimum requirement full participation is achieved. Students should make these arrangements directly with their mentors and notify the AFS Education Program Coordinator about changes in their schedules.

Q. What happens if a mentor will be out of the office on vacation or business?

A.  If a mentor will be unavailable for a portion of the program, they should make arrangements with a colleague so the student can continue to participate in the program in the mentor’s absence. The Education Program Coordinator must be notified in advance and provided with the colleague’s contact information.

Q. Am I required to participate in the Hutton Scholar Summit?

A.  The Hutton Summit is not required, but al students are eligible to attend. 

Q. Wait a second – tell me more about the Hutton Scholar Summit!

A.  The Scholar Summit includes three days of programming (with travel, you’ll be away from home for 4 nights), including speakers on topics including the fisheries field, preparing for college, and how to get involved in AFS. Students are also asked to present for approximately 5 minutes, to share the projects they have worked on during their Hutton internships.

Dates for 2024 are to be determined but will likely be in late July. The 2024 location has not been selected yet. If you are an AFS member interested in hosting the summit, please email the Education Program Coordinator at [email protected].  Additional information to come soon!

AFS staff will work with students and parents to arrange travel and other logistics, after the final dates and location have been selected.

Student Paychecks and Time Sheets:

Q. When can I expect to receive my check?

A.  Rather than providing the students with a lump sum at the end of the summer, each student’s stipend will be divided into four equal installments. A time sheet must be filled out and sent to the Education Program Coordinator every two weeks or 64-80 hours worked. If a student does not reach 64 hours within the two week period, they must extend the time sheet until 64 hours have been worked. This must stat consistent with the length of their internship. Once the time sheet is received, paychecks will be put in the mail. Students should expect to receive checks approximately two weeks after checks are mailed, and most checks are sent once the corresponding time sheets and reports have been received by the Education Program Coordinator.

Q. Who is responsible for filling out the student time sheet?

A.  The student keeps track and record hours worked for the two week period. Mentors must approve, sign and send the time sheet to the Education Program Coordinator along with a brief check-in reports on the student’s conduct and participation. Students are ultimately responsible for making sure their time sheet is filled out and submitted on time. 

Q. Instead of mailing my check, can it be directly deposited?

A.  No. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide direct deposit for the scholarship funds.

Q. Are Hutton stipend checks considered income for tax purposes?

A.  The Hutton Awards are not considered wages; therefore, no W-4 form needs to be completed by the student when they begin the program, and no taxes are withheld by AFS. However, the awards are considered taxable income according to IRS regulations. Keep in mind, there are various factors that determines ones filling status, such as the amount of earned or unearned income, whether a person is a qualifying dependent. Students are advised to consult IRS regulations regarding educational awards. Use these resources to determine your filing status: (electronic questionnaire)


Other Questions:

Q. If a student needs additional training, are funds available for the student to take an outside course?

A.  No. The mentoring agency is required to handle any expenses related to training the student to do the work that they will be involved in during the summer.

Q. Are travel expenses for students paid for by AFS?

A.  No. The students are responsible for transportation to and from the job since they are placed with a mentor within a reasonable commuting distance. It is important to note that many mentors have field activities planned for the student which means some days may not have a precise ending time. Therefore, in the past, we’ve found that it is usually best if the student can drive themselves to and from the work site rather than relying on a parent or someone else to pick them up as that person may have to wait and therefore be inconvenienced. However, any expenses associated with travel while on the job (overnight field trips, etc.) are paid for by the mentor’s office.

Q. Can a student go on overnight field trips?

A.  Yes. Overnight field trips provide an exciting learning opportunity for students in the program. AFS allows for such experiences, so long as the mentor receives approval from the student’s parent(s)/guardian first and sends a copy of a signed parental permission form to AFS. AFS provides a standard permission form to use; however, mentors may create one that works best for their office. Please note that per diem food expenses for the student for the trip are not covered by AFS.

Q. Does AFS provide insurance should a student be injured during the program?

A.  Yes. AFS provides liability insurance for coverage up to $10,000 for each student. Each mentor is provided with the front page of the insurance policy to act as evidence of coverage (individual cards are not issued on such a policy) and a claim form to use should an accident occur. (Completed claim forms should not be submitted to AFS; they should be submitted directly to the insurance company.) As the liability insurance policy has a very high minimum number of individuals that it covers, we are able to cover all mentors as well at no additional cost.

Q. What can I do to help promote the program?

A.  We encourage all current and past Hutton Scholars, Hutton Mentors, parents and teachers to reach out to students in their community about the Hutton Program. Up-to-date recruitment materials can be found here: Hutton Program Recruitment Material