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Just In: The Fellows Class of 2015-16

2015-16 STPF class cropped

AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships Class of 2015-16 | AAAS

Each fall, the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) ushers in a new class of fellows excited to learn about the federal policy process and use their skills for the public good. This year, we welcome 280 fellows who hail from an incredible array of scientific and engineering backgrounds and are entering a large number of offices and agencies in Washington, DC.

As I was finishing my PhD I knew I wanted something different – something more than a traditional research career in academia or industry. Scientists have such an important role to play in society beyond the bench. One way to do this is to participate in policymaking in the federal government. Everyone I talked to told me that this fellowship is the best way to join the policy sphere as a research scientist.

Sapana Vora, 2015-16 Executive Branch Fellow at State Department

Fellows convened for orientation during the first two weeks of September. Orientation is an intensive program that provides an overview of the three branches of government, explains fellows’ roles and responsibilities, features workshops on communication and leadership, and introduces professional contacts who fellows will find useful in their assignments and throughout their careers. Sessions range from “Introduction to Congress” to “The Wild, Wacky, Wonderful World of Politics.” The annual event also attracts outstanding senior level professionals as speakers including John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the Office of Science Technology Policy, and Ramon Macaya, ambassador to Costa Rica.

Fellows are a diverse group. They span all career stages and hail from 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. They also represent experience across the academic, nonprofit, and private sectors, as well as intergovernmental organizations and national labs.

I applied to the fellowship program to explore alternatives to an academic career and put my expertise to use in the ‘real world.’

Daniel Hicks, 2015-16 Executive Branch Fellow at Environmental Protection Agency, via Twitter

The class of 280 includes 163 fellows who are new to STPF, 99 who have renewed their fellowship for a second year, and 18 in special alumni fellowships. Thirty-one fellows are serving in Congress; 245 are serving in the executive branch among 18 agencies or departments, including overseas missions; and four are with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.