Host a Fellow: Legislative Branch

Gain the brainpower of an accomplished scientist or engineer full-time, for a full year – at no cost.

Since 1973, more than 1,000 Congressional Science & Engineering Fellowship® have brought technical expertise and scientific insight to the offices of Members of Congress and to House and Senate committees. Fellows are fully funded by 30+ national scientific and engineering partner societies.

Questions? Email Eddie Gonzalez or reach him at 202-326-8979.

The program

Who are the fellows?

What do fellows do?

How do offices choose fellows?

Resources for host offices

 


The Program
The AAAS Congressional Science & Engineering Fellowship® program is a cooperative effort of more than 30 scientific and engineering societies that provides an opportunity for accomplished scientists and engineers to contribute to the policymaking process. It fosters evidence-based policy and practice by engaging the scientific and analytical skills of scientists and engineers, and builds leadership for a policy-savvy science and technology enterprise that benefits society. Fellows serve in one-year assignments that begin each September (a few fellows begin their year in January). The program is coordinated by AAAS and is a component of the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships®.

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

Who are the Fellows?

The Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows are highly skilled, doctoral-level (with a few exceptions) scientists and engineers. They represent a vast spectrum of scientific disciplines including behavioral/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.

Fellows are selected through a highly competitive review process. Selection criteria include: educational and professional credentials and references; competence in a specific area of science or engineering; interest in the application of science to policy; excellence in communication; and leadership capacity.

What do Fellows do?

Fellows serve as legislative assistants in Congress for a full year, from September through August (a few fellowships run January through December).

Fellows accomplish a wide variety of activities including:

  • Briefing Members of Congress and staff on scientific and technical topics.
  • Meeting with constituents and special interest groups.
  • Writing issue and policy briefs.
  • Drafting and negotiating text for 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.

Their expertise and policy interests are also wide-ranging; they include:

  • Healthcare, mental health, child and family concerns.
  • Agriculture, food safety, and 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.

How do offices choose fellows?
AAAS surveys congressional offices for their interest in hosting fellows in July and August. Offices submit the host office information form by early September. AAAS provides host offices with fellows’ biographies, policy interests, and contact information. Offices contact fellows directly to set up interviews. Fellows may also contact offices to express their interest. Offices extend hosting offers directly to fellows, who are available to start immediately upon accepting an offer.

Resources for host offices