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Mission: Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS) prepared graduate students to collaborate across boundaries to address complex challenges.

The Program: ELISS recruited interdisciplinary teams of graduate student fellows to participate in a year-long service leadership program. The fellows developed their professional capacities through a project that examined the local context of complex issues like epidemic preparedness, drinking water safety, or healthful eating. ELISS fellows organized forums, held outreach events, and created materials to foster exchange of information and ideas across disciplines and about how to address these challenges.

History: Two former AAAS S&T Policy Fellows and a colleague with an industry background designed ELISS and pitched it to AAAS. In 2013, AAAS agreed to host the program for a three-year pilot period in the Center of Science, Policy, and Society Programs. By the end of 2016, forty-eight students from eight universities had completed the program.

Partner Campuses: Graduate student leaders brought ELISS to their campuses by securing support from their fellow students, provosts, graduate deans, and other relevant host offices and working with ELISS staff to recruit fellows. Partner campuses were: University of Washington, Purdue University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of California Irvine, Duke University, and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Sponsors: ELISS is grateful to many sponsors for supporting this effort. The primary sponsor of ELISS was the Argosy Foundation. Other sponsors include: the National Science Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation, Target Corporation, the Lounsbery Foundation, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Gilbert Omenn and Martha Darling, and numerous individual donors.

Thank you to all the ELISS advisors, funders, and volunteers who have supported ELISS fellows and staff. And special thanks to all of the fellows for the hard work you did to support your communities, your ELISS teams, and to develop yourselves as leaders.