Do participants have the option to select the organization they will work with?
Placement is an iterative processes between the host sites, funding agencies, and AAAS. We place individuals where we think they would be best fit. Because of the already complex nature of placement there is very little room for individual an fellow's preferences in the process, however this year we will be collecting this information in an attempt to take it into consideration. A list of host sites can be found within the "Supporters" tab (http://www.aaas.org/page/supporters) and, for the most part, remain the same from year to year.
Can a participant attend to any other commitments while in the program? For instance, a week-long conference?
Yes. We understand that things come up that are unavoidable, but we expect every applicant to be 100% focused on the fellowship during the summer. As soon as a participant is aware of a summertime conflict, he/she must submit a request to AAAS for approval. Regardless of reasoning, participants are REQUIRED spend a full 10 weeks on site. Therefore, the participant must return to his/her host site after wrap-up to finish off the the time missed. Alternatively, the participant is required to submit or a written ok from their host site supervisor/editor acknowledging that the participant is going to make up the time working overtime or over the weekends. If you return to your host site after the wrap-up to make up missed time, all additional expenses; for example, flights to and from your host site the second time; will not be paid for by AAAS. Those are considered expenses incurred by the fellow to which the fellow is of full responsibility to absorb. Use your best judgment.