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Chat with Fellows: Ask Questions to Learn How You Can Be a Policy Fellow

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Are you interested in connecting your background in psychology, anthropology, sociology or economics to public policy? Want to transform your career by using your training to address societal challenges? This is your chance to ask questions and learn more about the fellowships.  

Hear how social scientists have enhanced policy and transformed their career path through a one-year public service and professional development fellowship in science policy.   

Join us on August 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a one-hour live chat session where you'll learn how fellows impact policy initiatives on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, and the judicial branch -- and how you can apply your social science background to transform your career. Have your questions answered by fellows and chat with S&T program staff about the application process and requirements.



The "Enhancing Policy, Transforming Careers: Chat Series with S&T Policy Fellows” is a series of live text and video chat sessions with current and alumni fellows. Interact with fellows and fellowship staff and learn about the impact policy fellows have been making for over 42 years. 

Chat Partcipants:


Benjamin Wang, PhD, 2014-16 Executive Branch Fellow, Department of Defense and Department of Energy

Benjamin is a social scientist with expertise in the processes through which scientific and technical knowledge is created and fitted into societal relations. He is a first year AAAS S&T Policy Fellow at the Department of Defense in the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation and will serve his second year at the Department of Energy in the National Nuclear Security Administration. His primarily responsibility is supporting the assessment and implementation of the Secretary of Defense’s review of the nuclear deterrent enterprise.

After receiving his Ph.D., Benjamin moved to Washington, DC where he worked as a contractor with the State Department on conventional weapons destruction. He served as a program officer for the U.S. government’s Interagency MANPADS Task Force, based in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. In his spare time, Benjamin is a member of Potomac Runners and a volunteer with Travelers Aid at Reagan National Airport
He holds a PhD in Science and Technology studies from Cornell University. 


Laura Ahern, PhD, 2014-16 Executive Branch Fellow, United States Agency for International Development

Laura Ahearn is a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow who was placed in her first year in the Research and Innovation Fellowships at the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Global Development Lab where she was a monitoring and evaluation specialist. Her current fellowship placement is as a Senior Learning Advisor in USAID’s Center of Excellence for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance. 

Laura is a linguistic and cultural anthropologist who has conducted research on literacy, gender, agency, courtship, and marriage practices in Nepal, where she spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer before becoming a researcher. She has published two books: Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social Change in and Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology and is the editor of the series Oxford Studies in the Anthropology of Language.  She holds an associate professor position in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University and also spent one year as a Cultural Anthropology Program Director at the National Science Foundation.  
She also has expertise and interest in human-centered design, data visualization, and the future of higher education.

Laura holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in linguistic and cultural anthropology.

Salaeha Shariff, Director of Recruitment, AAAS S&T Policy Fellowship Program

Salaeha directs recruitment cultivation, national outreach activities, and diversity enhancement for the S&T Policy Fellowships. She plans and manages annual marketing efforts, oversees advertising, and engages with scientists and engineers in initiatives to promote careers at the intersection of science and policy.

View other upcoming and archived chat sessions in this series.

The AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships are open to doctoral level degree holders in any of the following:

  • Medical and Health sciences
  • Biological, Physical or Earth sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Computational sciences and Mathematics
  • Engineering disciplines (applicants with a MS in engineering and three years of professional experience also qualify).

Read an overview of S&T Policy Fellowships here, so we’ll have more time to answer specific questions relevant to you.

Related Scientific Disciplines