Congressional Science & Engineering Fellowships® Hosting Information

*If you are an Executive Branch agency/office, contact fellowships@aaas.org, to inquire about hosting a fellow. 

Host a Fellow in your Congressional Office or Committee

Click here to complete a Congressional Science & Engineering Fellow Hosting Interest Form

Your office can benefit from the brain power of an accomplished scientist or engineer full-time, for a full year – at no cost!

Since 1973, more than 1,000 Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows® have brought fresh insight and technical expertise to the personal offices of Members of Congress and to committees in both the House and Senate. Fellows are competitively selected and fully funded by more than 30 national scientific and engineering organizations. The program is coordinated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) under its Science & Technology Policy Fellowships.

If you are interested in hosting a fellow, email Eddie Gonzalez or call 202-326-8979.


General Information

Purpose and Objectives
The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships are opportunities for professional development and public service. The aim is to foster scientifically informed, evidence-based policy and practice by involving scientists and engineers from a broad range of disciplines, backgrounds and career stages to engage their knowledge and analytical skills while learning first-hand about policymaking and implementation at the federal level; and to build leadership for a strong S&T enterprise that benefits all people. This is accomplished by developing the capacity of scientists and engineers to effectively inform individuals and institutions that influence and determine policies, regulations and funding. The fellowship objectives are to:

  • educate scientists and engineers on the intricacies of federal policymaking;
  • provide information and analyses to address challenges that involve scientific and technological issues;
  • empower civic engagement and leadership of scientists and engineers by enhancing their skills to assess, communicate and apply science and technology in policy contexts; and
  • increase the involvement and visibility of scientists and engineers in the policy realm and foster positive exchange between scientific professionals, policymakers and regulators.

The S&T Policy Fellowships are not designed to conduct research. The goal is to generate policy-savvy scientists and engineers by placing them in full-time assignments in Congress and in federal agencies to engage in the directives of those entities while gaining insight into the role of science and engineering in the overall U.S. policy framework.

CMartin“I’ve been able to participate directly in all aspects of the legislative process starting from the early stages of drafting a bill and then eventually seeing it completed with the President’s signature. And while I’ve been learning, I feel that I’ve been able to return the favor on a daily basis by contributing my scientific expertise to the myriad of topics that come before us.
- Chris Martin, PhD, Computational Physics, 2010-11 AAAS Congressional Fellow

Credentials – Who are the Fellows?
The Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows® are highly skilled, predominantly doctoral-level scientists and engineers. They represent a vast spectrum of scientific disciplines including behavior/social, biological, health/medical, physical and computational sciences and all fields of engineering. They range from early- to senior-career professionals and come from academia, industry, nonprofits, government labs, and international organizations.

Criteria – How are Fellows selected?
Fellows are selected in widely-announced national competitions. They are chosen based on their educational and professional credentials and references; demonstrated competence in a specific area of science or engineering; interest in the application of science to policy; ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; initiative, flexibility and leadership capacity.

Assignments – What do Fellows contribute?
Fellows serve as special legislative assistants in Congress for a full year, from September through August*. Over nearly four decades of operation, Congressional Science & Engineering Fellowships® have spanned House and Senate assignments in Republican, Democratic and Independent offices. Fellows have been involved in a wide variety of activities including:

Note: A few Fellows will begin in January and end their fellowship in December.

  • Meeting with constituents and special interest groups
  • Writing issue and policy briefs
  • Drafting and negotiating legislation
  • Staffing budget authorization bills from preliminary agency reviews to House-Senate conferences
  • Coordinating oversight investigations
  • Writing talking points, speeches and press releases
  • Planning and implementing events in Washington and in congressional districts
  • Organizing hearings
  • Serving as liaisons to and coordinating with committees
  • Briefing Members of Congress and staff on scientific and technical topics

Their expertise and legislative and policy interests are also broad. Following is a partial list of issues that Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows® have worked on in the past few years:

  • healthcare, mental health, child and family concerns
  • agriculture, food safety, animal welfare
  • biological, chemical and nuclear weapons
  • environment, energy, climate change, air and water quality
  • oil and mineral rights and exploration
  • national and international security
  • biotechnology, biomedical research and technology
  • education, STEM initiatives and science communication
  • innovation, globalization and international trade
  • public safety, disaster and humanitarian relief

Click here to read testimonials from Members of Congress about the benefits and value of hosting a Fellow.

Placement Process
AAAS surveys congressional offices for their interest in hosting Fellows in July and August. Interested offices complete the host office information form by early September. AAAS supplies interested host offices with Fellows’ biographies, policy interests and contact information. Offices contact Fellows directly to set up interviews. Fellows will also contact offices where they are interested in exploring possible assignments. Offices make fellowship hosting offers directly to Fellows, who are available to start immediately upon accepting an offer.

NOTE: Every year a few Fellows start assignments in January. The Fellow list provided by AAAS will indicate whether Fellows are available for a September or January start.

Click here for more details on the placement process and tips to help recruit a Congressional Science & Engineering Fellow® for your office.

Harding“Working in the office of Senator Jeff Bingaman has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. As a researcher and practitioner, I have contributed my skills related to synthesizing literature on particular areas of focus, drafting legislation, briefing and staffing the senator, and meeting with constituents and advocates. In this capacity, I am well-positioned to advance the relationship between science and policy broadly; the AAAS Congressional Science & Engineering Fellowship has made it possible for me and my colleagues to serve our country in such meaningful ways.”
-
Charlayne Harding, PhD, Counseling Psychology, 2010-11 SRDC Congressional Fellow

Standards of Conduct
AAAS collaborates with its partner sponsoring societies to maintain overall standards and program coherence. Fellows operate as free agents, not as representatives of the sponsor organization. Both Fellows and sponsoring organizations sign participation agreements affirming that Fellows will not be influenced by their sponsor during the fellowship year, and that Fellows must adhere to the ethics policies of the host congressional office and the presiding ethics committee.

Click here for the list of participating sponsor organizations.

Training
AAAS conducts a yearlong professional development program that begins on September 1st with a two-week orientation on the branches of the U.S. government, the federal budget process, and domestic and international policy issues. After the placement process, there are monthly policy seminars, skill-building workshops, careers sessions, and educational tours. Host offices are expected to provide time for Fellows to participate in the AAAS professional development offerings as much as possible.

Contact Us
If you have questions about the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships or would like to host a Fellow, please email Eddie Gonzalez or call 202-326-8979.

Back to Top