Skip to the content. Disable Animations :x: :movie_camera:

2021 Onboarding Checklist

Welcome to WAVES! We’re looking forward to working with all of you this summer.


To ensure that we can get off to a running start when the workshop begins, please work through onboarding information and tasks below by Wednesday, June 9th. Feel free to drop a line to me at with any questions or issues.

Links on this checklist meant only for workshop participants are password protected. You should have received the password by email.

🔗 Workshop Communication

We will be using Slack messaging to make workshop announcements, for group discussion, and to message with mentors. The workshop’s slack workspace lives at

:soon: Please use this link to join, and be sure to enable notifications!

We will be using Zoom videoconferencing for “face-to-face” get togethers. Group meetings will be held in a dedicated Zoom room, which you can access here.

:soon: Please get Zoom installed (it’s easy!) and click through the link above to get the WAVES Zoom room url, which you will use to join group meetings. The link will also be pinned in the Slack #general channel.

🔗 Onboarding Surveys

We put together a Google Form to collect information that will be used coordinate the workshop and assess its effectiveness. We included several demographic questions in this survey. Demographic information is collected to assess the diversity and equity of our the workshop and report anonymized information to funders. You are not required to answer any demographics questions.

:soon: Fill out our onboarding survey here.

Please try to keep weekdays from noon to 5pm EST clear on you calendars so that we can schedule whole group meetings. It will be challenging to adjust schedules for individual participants, but we understand if you need to miss an occasional meeting.

:soon: If you do have a critical obligation that falls between noon and 5pm EST on weekdays and cannot be rescheduled, please fill out this WhenIsGood to let us know. Briefly describe your obligation in the comment. Otherwise, there’s no need to fill out this WhenIsGood.

🔗 Stipend Setup

Stipend checks will be disbursed bi-weekly by mail. The dates that stipend checks will be mailed are listed on the workshop schedule.

:soon: If you are not a MSU student, please fill out a W-9 form and send it to our accounts manager, Melissa Williams. You can send your completed form by email to If would prefer to submit the form by snail mail, contact her by email for instructions. If you are a MSU student, please send Melissa your APID number. (Begins with the letter “A,” followed by 8 digits — the one on your ID card.)

:bangbang: If the address you would like your stipend checks delivered to differs from the permanent address you listed in your W-9 form, be sure to let Melissa know.

🔗 Tax Information

:bangbang: We are not lawyers or tax professionals! This advice is general in nature and not to be taken as professional advice.

Thanks to @alackles for contributing the following section.

Unless you are a MSU student, state and federal income tax is NOT likely being withheld from WAVES stipends. This means you will likely need to self-withhold taxes.

This is a complex and annoying process; I’ve had to do it several times, so I’m here to help if you need any info or guidance.

I’ve attached below a guideline for state and federal taxes. It’s important to note that you’ll pay state taxes for the state in which you are currently living not where payment is happening (Michigan). It’s also important to note you only pay taxes on amounts you make over the standard deduction/personal exemption, both federally and at state level. Yeah, it’s a whole thing.

Note that if this is your only paid gig this year you might not have to withhold federal taxes but may have to withold state taxes. Note also that there are some situations where there isn’t a penalty for not paying estimated taxes. In particular, if you didn’t earn enough money last year to owe any taxes, you’re probably okay (but double check your exact situation). Also important is there’s probably no penalty if you pay <$1,000 in tax, which would be true if this is your only taxable income where it’s not automatically withheld. However, you WILL still have to pay this tax at the end of the year; you just don’t have to pay it quarterly.

The IRS page on estimated taxes is here. Federal tax brackets for 2020 can be found here. State tax brackets for 2020 can be found here.

:woman_shrugging: I’m so sorry that you all have to deal with this and that we don’t live in a country where this is all automatically calculated for you. Like I said, I’m more than happy to help out with this if you haven’t done this before or if you just have questions.

🔗 Workshop Resources

We have assembled a listing of web resources related to the workshop elsewhere on the site. If you would feel more comfortable brushing up on your C++ or evolution background before the workshop gets underway, feel free to click over there and check some of them out. If you have ideas for what you’d like to see on there, feel free to open a PR or shoot me a message!

🔗 Next Steps

:soon: If you haven’t marked your calendars for our first orientation meeting, be sure to do so! It will take place Monday, June 14 from noon to 5pm in the WAVES Zoom room.

You can also pencil in other events listed on our preliminary schedule.


Once more, welcome to WAVES! We’re all really looking forward to getting to work with you.