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The 2014-15 Fellows Class Has Arrived to Learn and Lead


AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows Class of 2014-15

"It is clear that the complexities of our government serve a real purpose. Understanding these complexities has shattered my preconceived notions that our government is broken."

Lida Beninson, 2014-15 Executive Branch Fellow, NSF

"Orientation reminded me to appreciate the importance of history and how it can help us understand current policy and politics."

Olga Naidenko, 2014-15 Executive Branch Fellow, Environmental Protection Agency

"I loved the congressional game: we really got into the shoes of a congressperson and lived through their perspective. Now, I have a newfound respect for their challenges and responsibilities."

Renata Afi Rawlings-Goss, 2014-15 Executive Branch Fellow, NSF

"My biggest hope for my fellowship is to learn and develop skills that will allow me to serve the public with greater effectiveness."

Benjamin Wang, 2014-15 Executive Branch Fellow, Department of Defense

Each fall, the Fellowships program conducts a two-week orientation program designed to usher in a new class of fellows who are primed to learn about and practice leadership – both professional and personal. Orientation features full days with speakers, sessions, and workshops on science policy, the workings of the federal government, communications, and leadership.

“In my fellowship year, I hope to learn how to live and laugh as I understand better how this crazy thing called U.S. Government functions. It promises to be one heck of a ride, with all the opportunities we are being provided,” said Nora Egan Demers, 2014-15 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Like others, this year’s class of fellows is a diverse group. They span all career stages and represent a broad range of disciplines across the biological and physical sciences, behavioral and social sciences, geosciences, mathematical and computational sciences, health and medical fields, and engineering. The class is comprised of 40% men and 60% women.

The Fellowships program continues to grow. The 2014-15 class of 292 S&T Policy Fellows is the largest in the program's history. Much of the increase is attributed to the expansion of alumni fellowship opportunities.

The class includes 170 fellows who are new to the Fellowships, 98 fellows who have renewed for a second year, and 24 fellows in alumni fellowships. Of the 292 fellows: 33 Congressional Science & Engineering Fellows® are in assignments on Capitol Hill; 253 Executive Branch Fellows are in 19 agencies or departments including fellows serving in overseas missions; one is in the new Judicial Branch program with a placement at the Federal Judicial Center; and five are at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. 

(Alumni fellows: Look out for information on alumni fellowship opportunities; the deadline to apply is January 30, 2015.)

"First, the quality and energy of my colleagues has floored me. Second, Cynthia Robinson's comment in the closing remarks really touched me. She said that this opportunity we have is not only to bring our science and technology background to regular decision making, but to also have a lasting impact. That impact may look different from what we expect and may take a long time to achieve, but the opportunity is there for us to seize."

Joe Majkut, 2014-15 Congressional Fellow

AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships® Director Cynthia Robinson gave a hearty welcome to the 42nd class of fellows.

2014-15 fellows getting to know each other. From L-R: Natalia Romero, David Schnaars, Rebecca Parkhurst, Rik Williams.

Most events were held in the Sphinx Grand Ballroom at Almas Shriners, Washington.