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Applications for 2021 are currently closed. Applications for 2022 will open in October, 2021.

It’s important to start the online application as soon as you decide you want to apply. This will allow you to take a look at the application and see what you'll need to provide.

A complete application packet consists of:

  1. Applicant information (contact information, academic history, etc.)
  2. At least two references (with contact information).

    Note that we have a specific questionnaire for references; they will not be asked to submit a separate letter. While you must provide their contact information before the application deadline, your references will have until February 1st to complete their questionnaires. At least one of the two recommenders should be a faculty member who can comment on your academic work. A third reference is optional but encouraged. Recommendations from those that can comment on your science communication or writing are highly encouraged as well. The questions (each with a 200 word limit) on the Recommendation Questionnaire are:

    1. Describe your work with the applicant (research, academic, communication, etc.). Highlight the applicant’s contribution, role and accomplishments.  This section is similar to what one would write in a standard letter of recommendation but should NOT be as extensive or as detailed.
    2. Describe why you think the fellowship is a good match for the candidate’s talents and interests. You may wish to highlight the applicant’s communication skills (written and/or verbal communication, ability to communicate with the public and diverse audiences), or characteristics such as intelligence, creativity, devotion to science communication, etc.
    3. Describe the applicant’s workplace skills (maturity, initiative, teamwork and affability, ability to take criticism and direction, dependability, and respect for others—especially supervisors). 
    4. Describe any additional information the selection committee should take into account (hardships the applicant has overcome or any circumstances that you feel the selection committee should know about).
  3. Your CV (text entered into form, NOT an uploaded document).
  4. Candidate Questions: Responses to each of the 7 reflective questions found within the online application. (Each question has a 250 word limit.)
    1. Why are you, as a scientist or engineer, interested in participating in this program?
    2. What in your background has prepared you for this fellowship?
    3. How do you think the skills learned from the fellowship will impact your future career or academic plans?
    4. Have you had previous media-related experiences? Please provide details.
    5. Describe any activities, other than previous media experiences, you have undertaken that involved increasing public understanding of science and technology.
    6. What community outreach or educational activities have you participated in, science-related or otherwise?
    7. How did you find out about the program?
  5. General Writing Sample:  Brief sample of your writing on any subject--science or non-science topic and directed toward a non-scientific audience, using language appropriate for the general public.  DO NOT submit technical or journal articles.  1000 words entered into text box in application.
  6. Sample News Story: A 750 word 'news' story for the general public summarizing a science, mathematics or engineering journal paper from the past 3-6 months (published after July 2020) and describing what the study's findings are, why they are important, and what the impact will be on the public.  The original paper MUST BE PRIMARY LITERATURE (scientific paper published in a journal or presented at a scientific conference, NOT from a newspaper, magazine or other popular media).  750 words entered into text box in application.
  7. Upload source article:  The journal article used to write your Sample News Story.  This is the only item you will upload for the application. 
  8. (Optional) Up to two additional links to media samples of your work.

Applicants are evaluated by experts in the sciences, public engagement, and media. AAAS staff are responsible for the final decisions and for negotiations between the candidates, funding organizations, and media hosts. Telephone or virtual interviews are generally conducted with finalists in March or early April. Applicants should receive final notification of the status of their application by April 15th, but are encouraged to contact at any time to check on the status of their applications.

Even if you’re not applying this year, there are some things that you can do to strengthen your application.  Reviewers helped to create a list of these tips here.


  1. Applicants must a) be enrolled as students (upper level undergraduate or graduate), b) be a postdoctoral trainee, or c) apply within one year of the completion of a) or b). Applicants must be in the life, physical, health, engineering, computer, or social sciences or mathematics and related fields.  If you have questions about your eligibility, email
  2. Students enrolled in English, journalism, science journalism, or other non-technical fields are not eligible for the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship BUT these students may be eligible for the Diverse Voices in Science Journalism Internship.
  3. Applicants must be US citizens or already hold visas that allow them to receive payment for work during the summer. AAAS cannot assist in obtaining/retaining visas. The fellowship is also open to US citizens studying abroad, as long as they can pay their way back into the US for the fellowship. Employment taxes may be higher for non-citizens. If you are a non-citizen and are considering applying we encourage you to contact
  4. Successful applicants are required to attend an orientation at AAAS headquarters at the beginning of the summer (early June) and a wrap-up session at the end of the summer (mid-August). They will prepare reports on the progress of their fellowships throughout their placement.

If you have any questions, please email