January 6, 2017

Fall Meeting: Did you miss the science policy & science writing fellowship luncheon?

Posted by Timia Crisp

Are you a scientist interested in policy or journalism? Are you considering a career in policy or journalism? Did you sadly miss our event discussing our science

How to be a congresssional Science Fellow or Mass Media Fellow Luncheon Workshop

How to be a Congresssional Science Fellow or Mass Media Fellow Luncheon Workshop

policy and science writing fellowships? Well, you’re in luck!

During Fall Meeting, AGU hosted a luncheon entitled “How to be a Congressional Science or Mass Media Fellow”. The event provided attendees the opportunity to learn more about the fellowships and hear from current and former fellows. Each year, we have great turn-out and a really engaged Q&A session. However, due to time constraints, we were unable to answer all the  great questions.  As such, we are answering questions about the fellowships below as part of our post-Fall Meeting series.

1.     What is the deadline?

The deadline for the 2017-2018 Congressional Science Fellowship application is 1 February, 2017. The 2017 Mass Media Fellowship application is due by 15 January, 2017.

2.     Why only two congressional fellows per year?

AGU is one of the first science organizations to sponsor congressional fellows through the AAAS Science & Technology Fellowship program. We started with sponsorship of one fellow per year. Understanding the value of the fellowship for participants and Congressional offices, we have been committed to sponsoring two fellows since 2010. Each year, AGU must prioritize and allocate limited resources. At this time, we are unable to sponsor more fellows. However, the feedback we have received indicates that the two fellows we have been fortunate to sponsor have very engaging fellowship years and are highly valued by congressional offices.

3.     Is having an American citizenship a requirement to join the fellowship?

To be eligible for the Congressional Science Fellowship, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. For more information about eligibility requirements, please see the terms and eligibility page (link below). The Mass Media fellowships require U.S. citizenship or a visa that allows you to work in the U.S.

For more information about the eligibility requirements for the Congressional Science Fellowship, please see the Terms & Selection Criteria page. For more information on the Mass Media requirements, please see the application page.

4.     How are fellows matched to congressional offices? Do they get any choice in the pairing?

Fellowship placement takes place in September after a two-week orientation program. The placement process begins with a mixer, where congressional offices seeking a fellow can meet with new fellows. After the mixer, fellows set up interviews with offices of interest. Fellows are placed once they have accepted an offer from an office. Therefore, the placement must be a good fit for the fellow as well as the office.

5.     What percentage of congressional fellows keep working in policy or related areas versus return to academia afterwards?

Statistics regarding career paths after the Congressional Science Fellowship change each year. In general, about a third of fellows stay in policy (whether that be in a congressional office, in an agency, at a non-profit, or at a think-tank), about a third return to academia, and the remaining fellows find positions in the private sector.

6.     Is it necessary to have a PhD?

While you are not required to have a PhD, the Congressional Science Fellowship is geared toward PhD scientists. If you are currently in a PhD program, your adviser must submit a statement indicating that you will complete all requirements for your PhD before starting the program. The fellowship is an intensive experience. We find that fellows do not have time to work on their thesis during their fellowship year. For more information about eligibility requirements for the Congressional Science Fellowship, please visit the Terms & Selection Criteria page.

Regarding the Mass Media Fellowship, applicants must be enrolled as students (upper level undergraduate or graduate) or postdoctoral trainees at a university in a STEM-related field. For more information on the Mass Media requirements, please see the application page.

7.     How many applicants are there per year?

AGU usually receives about 30 applications in each year for the Congressional Science Fellowship. Though this number varies year to year. The applications for the Mass Media Fellowship are submitted to and managed by AAAS. However, they typically received about 150, which are spread across a number of societies.

8.     Are federal scientists considered for Congressional Science Fellowships?

Yes, federal scientists are eligible for the Congressional Science Fellowship, but we strongly encourage applicants to check with their office to ensure they are complying with all rules and regulations.

9.     What are some of the other sponsoring societies for congressional fellowships?

AGU sponsors fellows each year. The Geological Society of America and umbrella society the American Geological Institute also sponsor fellows, among other scientific societies. If you are a member of AGU, you are also eligible for the AGI Congressional fellowship. For more information on other societies that sponsor fellows, please see the AAAS website and the organization’s individual site.

10.  What is the stipend for each fellowship?

The stipend for the 2017-2018 Congressional Science Fellowship is $68,000. The Mass Media Fellowship comes with a stipend of $500 per week plus travel expenses. For more information about the fellowship terms, please visit the Congressional Science Fellowship  and the Mass Media Fellowship pages.

11.  What types of work do you do in a congressional fellowship?

Congressional Science Fellows work on a variety of tasks and projects as part of their fellowship experience. Some examples include writing memos for members of Congress and staff, briefing members of Congress on issues in their portfolio, drafting legislation, providing vote recommendations, and writing talking points, questions, and speeches for various occasions. Please note that each fellow’s experience is different.

To find out more about the AGU Congressional Science Fellowship, please visit http://sciencepolicy.agu.org/congressional_fellows/.

For more information on the Mass Media Fellowship, please visit https://www.aaas.org/page/about-1.

If you are interested in applying, please visit the Congressional Science Fellowship and Mass Media Fellowship application pages.

If you have other questions regarding the Congressional Science Fellowship, please contact us at sciencepolicy@agu.org. If you have additional questions about the Mass Media Fellowship, please reach out to sharingscience@agu.org.