Providing opportunities for scientists and engineers to learn first-hand about policymaking while contributing their knowledge and analytical skills in the federal policy realm.

Executive Branch Fellowship

Fellowship opportunities in the executive branch are the most numerous of the four fellowships. While fellows in Congress are steeped in the legislative process and judicial fellows in judicial research and administration, executive branch fellows contribute to policy, administration, and implementation in a vast array of federal agencies. 


Placement opportunities are at any federal agency in Washington that partners with AAAS. Examples include the Agency for International Development, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Health & Human Services, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Click here for information on the selection and placement process.


Fellows serve alongside staff in federal agencies and pursue a wide variety of activities that may include:

  • Collecting and analyzing information.
  • Writing talking points, speeches, press releases, reports, websites, etc.
  • Preparing for hearings.
  • Fostering interagency collaborations.
  • Facilitating program development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Planning and implementing events.
  • Supporting improved programs, policies and planning.
  • Performing risk analysis, regulation, monitoring, and evaluation.


The issues fellows engage in are endless and run the full gamut of policy arenas. Some examples include:

  • Interoperability and integration of data across agencies.
  • Coordination in data requirements and data governance.
  • Data strategies to integrate research.
  • Facilitate discovery and support new knowledge to maximize engagement and solutions.

  • Biotechnology, biomedical research and technology.
  • Public safety, disaster preparedness and humanitarian relief.
  • International aid, capacity building and development assistance. 

  • Foreign policy and international trade, treaty engagement and multilateral cooperation.
  • Tech transfer and research capacity.

  • Science education, research and innovation.
  • STEM diversity

  • Climate change. 
  • Energy innovation.
  • Oil and mineral rights and exploration.

  • Animal, plant and environmental health protection.
  • Ecosystem degradation, pollution and biological threats.
  • Air, water, land, wildlife and natural resources protection.
  • Food processing and distribution safety. 

  • Preventative and community health, disease identification and response and medical research.
  • Individual, family and community social services and support.

  • National and international security.
  • Infrastructure, environmental, cyber and health security, terrorism and warfare prevention and nonproliferation.
  • Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

Program Managers

Cynthia Bernardez
Program Manager

Ryan Gallasch
Program Manager

Kira Mock
Program Manager

Olivia Payne
Program Manager

Christine Rovner
Program Manager


Fellowship experiences can vary considerably from one branch to another, between agencies, and even among offices within the same agency. Read the stories of some executive branch fellows below. Click here to learn about other fellowships.

Fellow Stories

2014-16 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation


1988-89 Environmental Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency


2010-12 Executive Branch Fellow at the Department of Health and Human Services...

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