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Ready, Set, Go! How to Prepare to Apply for an STPF Fellowship


One of the things that makes the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships (STPF) program so powerful is the sheer amount of diversity amongst the individuals who comprise each fellowship class. Fellows come in all shapes, sizes, types, states, phyla, division… You get my drift. They also come from all walks and stages of life: recent grads, postdocs, faculty on sabbatical, even retirees. While each fellow’s journey is unique, these scientists and engineers are united in their passion to grow professionally.

There is no single path to the fellowship and it’s never too early to map out your science policy journey. Whether you are counting down the days until the application opens this year, or you have your sights set on STPF in the future, there are plenty of resources that exist for science policy enthusiasts like yourself. Click the option(s) below that best describes you.

When I think of STPF, I plan to…

Is an STPF Fellowship in the Cards?

Even though the STPF online application does not open until June 1, you can start now to prepare and be in a better position to write the best application possible.

  • Review the eligibility criteria. Will you be eligible to apply? Applicants must have completed their qualifying degree by the application deadline – November 1 of the year in which they apply. They also must meet citizenship, work and other eligibility criteria. This is especially true for the Roger Revelle Fellowship in Global Stewardship which is offered every four years (including 2020). Double-check your eligibility before the app opens!
  • Learn how you will be evaluated. STPF candidates are reviewed based on five categories including scientific and technical background, leadership potential, communication, and analytical skills. Understand them all and use it to guide your application and letters of reference.
  • Get familiar with the application. There are seven steps in the application. Do you know them all? Check out this handy application overview. How will you respond to the essay prompts? Start mulling over them now. Writing is an iterative process and the essays are your time to shine.
  • Rekindle your relationship with references. Who will you ask to be your references? Do they know your interest in science policy? One of the biggest barriers to completing an application is identifying three references by the application deadline.

A Year or More Out? Make a Plan to Apply

Planning to apply sometime in the future? Great news: you have the advantage of time. Now is the time to engage in policy, build your network and hone policy-related skills – all of which will strengthen your application when it comes time to submit.

  • Plug into the science policy community. The STPF alumni network is well over 3,000 strong. Connect with fellows and others in the science policy community to seek advice and understand what science policy looks like at the local, state and federal level. Here are just a few ways to get started:
  • Talk with current and alumni fellows. We know you have many questions to answer before you hit “apply.” Hear how fellows navigated career transition, planned for sabbaticals, tackled family moves, and more. Want to talk with a fellow? In addition to Twitter, find them at STPF events (join our mailing list) or on LinkedIn.
  • Watch videos of fellows talking about their STPF experiences. See the recordings of past webinars, or live chats. Each chat features different types of fellows. For instance, sessions in the 2019 chat series included: Career & Professional Opportunities for Fellows, The Application and Interview Process, and What’s It Like to Be a Fellow?

Chart a Course: Learn More About Science Policy

As you consider your career path and the role science policy could play, consider these excellent resources that discuss what science policy is, what it looks like, and opportunities for scientists to engage as volunteers or as their profession.

Regardless of what you ultimately choose to do in science policy, we applaud your contributions to public policy and society!


Jessica Soule

Alumni Engagement Director

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