Become a Congressional Science Fellow
The AGU Congressional Science Fellowship
The AGU Congressional Science Fellowship program places highly qualified and accomplished scientists, engineers, and other professionals in the office of an individual member of Congress or on a committee for a one-year assignment.
The program allows our federal government to more effectively use scientific knowledge and provides scientists with the opportunity to make significant contributions to public policy during their time on Capitol Hill.
For four decades, AGU Congressional Science Fellows (CSFs) have been directly involved in water policy, climate research, energy conservation, and a range of other science-based issues. AGU CSFs have gone on to pursue a wide range of careers from positions in government, both in Congress and at federal agencies, to research positions at academic institutions
Applications for the 2022-2023 fellowship are open through January 15 2022.
Learn about the Fellowship
Application and deadline
Applications for the 2022-2023 fellowship will open October 2021.
The application process is two stages:
Complete the secure online application form, verify your information, and upload your C.V. and Letter of Intent.
Upon completion of the application form, you will receive a personal URL. Provide this URL to your three references, who should each upload a letter of recommendation. For degree candidates, you should also include a letter from your adviser stating the anticipated completion date of your degree.
Acceptable file formats for online submission are limited to the following: ASCII text with file extension .txt; MS Word documents with file extension .doc; or Adobe PDF.
AGU Fellows will receive a monthly stipend for 12 months, plus allowances for vouchered travel and moving expenses incurred during relocation, for appropriate work-related vouchered travel expenses incurred during the fellowship year, and for travel to AGU Fall Meeting. Health care coverage is reimbursed by AGU.
All members of AGU who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States can apply for the fellowship.
Though the program is aimed at geoscientists with a doctorate degree, there are no restrictions on age, educational, career level, or specific scientific background.
Ph.D. candidates must have completed their degree work prior to the start of the fellowship term. Degree candidates should include with their references a letter from their adviser stating the status of their thesis, and their anticipated date of completion.
The committee seeks to recruit a diverse applicant pool for the fellowship. Minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Fellowships are for one year. The Fellowship year for Congressional Fellows usually begins the Wednesday after Labor Day with an orientation program organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Past Fellows have performed every type of work normally asked of permanent congressional staff, whether they are in personal offices or with committees. Activities may range from assisting in the preparation of major parts of authorization bills, writing press releases or speeches for members of Congress on a wide range of topics, answering constituent mail, preparing members of Congress for legislative debates on the floors of the House and the Senate, or meeting with lobbyists, special interest groups or agency representatives.
Fellows also write short articles or share their experiences in other formats throughout their fellowship year, for use in various AGU communication vehicles.
Letter of intent
The letter of intent should include: why you would like to be a Congressional Science Fellow and how it may advance your career goals, how you are qualified, and what policy issues are of interest to you. There are no requirements for format or length, but most letters are approximately two pages.
If you have previously held a one-year policy fellowship at the federal or state level, please include a statement that explains how this additional experience would benefit your career development and the broader scientific community.
Fellows will take part in an intensive two-week orientation program organized by AAAS. The orientation program provides exposure to various aspects of the legislative process, to pertinent issues before Congress, and to many agencies and organizations interacting with Congress at various levels. Following orientation, the Fellow will interview with congressional offices and accept an offer for a position in a personal office or committee.
Applicants are not required to have experience in public policy, although such experience and/or a demonstrable interest in applying science to the solution of public problems is desirable.
Prospective Fellows should have a broad background in science. In their assignment, Fellows will be doing a variety of work, some of which may be directly related to their training, but all of which will put demands on their scientific education.
In addition, Fellows should be articulate, strong communicators, flexible, and able to work on a variety of public policy problems with people from diverse professional backgrounds.
Although AAAS coordinates the entire Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program on behalf the organizations participating in the program, each organization selects, sponsors and supports its own CSFs. The selection process is highly competitive.
A committee of former AGU Congressional Science Fellows and AGU members who have worked in policy reviews applications and interviews finalists before making its selection.
Please include a C.V. detailing personal and professional experience, as well as a publications appendix. There are no requirements for format or length
Letters of recommendation
We require three letters of recommendation from individuals who can discuss your professional competence, as well as other aspects of your background that make you qualified to serve as a Congressional Science Fellow.
You are responsible for soliciting the required letters and ensuring they are submitted before the deadline.
Letters of recommendation are to be submitted directly to AGU via the separate online form. You will receive a personal link for letters of recommendation after submitting your application. Provide this URL to your references, who may then input or upload your letter of recommendation. All letters must be received before the application deadline.
Hear from the fellows
What do past fellows have to say about the experience? Watch former fellows Timia Crisp (2015-16) and Karen Akerlof (2016-17) talk about why they applied, their experiences, and how the fellowship has impacted their careers.
For more first-hand experience, read an interview with Anja Brandon, our 2020-21 fellow, who shares her experience working in Senator Merkley’s (OR-D) office and writing plastics legislation. Read more about our 2021-2022 Fellow Sarah Alexander and her journey from scientist to staffer on AGU's Bridge Blog.
Questions about AGU’s Congressional Science Fellowship can be directed by email to AGU staff.
Congressional Science Fellows
|Sarah Alexander||Senator Tina Smith (MN)||2021-2022|
|Anja Malawi Brandon||Senator Jeff Merkley (OR)||2020-2021|
|Katalyn (Kate) Voss||Senator Tom Udall (NM)||2019-2020|
|House Natural Resources Committee||2018-2019|
|Isaac Irby||Senator Kamala Harris (CA)||2017-2018|
|Patrick Drupp||Senator Jeff Merkley (OR)||2016-2017|
|Karen Louise Akerlof||Senator Bernie Sanders (VT)||2016-2017|
|Timia Crisp-McClain||House Energy & Commerce Committee||2015-2016|
|Michael Glotter||Senator Al Franken (MN)||2015-2016|
|Laura Sherman||Senator Michael F. Bennet (CO)||2014-2015|
|Chuck Podolak||Senator Jeff Flake (AZ)||2014-2015|
|Daniel Pomeroy||Senator Edward Markey (MA)||2013-2014|
|Aaron Goldner||Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)||2013-2014|
|Kevin Reed||Senator Mark Udall (CO)||2012-2013|
|Erica Bickford||Senator Bernie Sanders (VT)||2012-2013|
|Rebecca French||Senator Bernie Sanders (VT)||2011-2012|
|Ian Lloyd||Senator Jeff Merkley (OR)||2011-2012|
|Jason Day||Senator Al Franken (MN)||2010-2011|
|Ilya Fischhoff||Representative Ed Markey (MA)||2010-2011|
|Maeve Boland||Senator Byron Dorgan (ND)||2009-2010|
|Maggie Walser||Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee||2008-2009|
|Alex Apotsos||Senator Jon Tester (MT)||2007-2008|
|Mark Wenzel||Senator Christopher Dodd (CT)||2006-2007|
|Josh Trapani||Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)||2005-2006|
|Jana Davis||Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ)||2004-2005|
|Kevin Vranes||Senator Ron Wyden (OR)||2003-2004|
|Illa Amerson||Senator Kent Conrad (ND)||2002-2003|
|Karen Wayland||Senator Harry Reid (NV)||2001-2002|
|Kirsten Banks Cutler||Senator Joe Lieberman (CT)||2000-2001|
|Bryan J. Hannegan||Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources||1999-2000|
|David Hunter||Senator James Jeffords (VT)||1998-1999|
|Julie J. Moses||Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH)||1997-1998|
|Jack Herring||Representative Vernon Ehlers (MI)||1996-1997|
|Timothy Cohn||Senator Bill Bradley (NJ)||1995-1996|
|David Applegate||Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources||1994-1995|
|Winston Chi Tao||Representative George Brown (CA)||1993-1994|
|Valerie I. Lang||Representative Jim Bacchus (FL)||1992-1993|
|Vivian Pan||Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs||1991-1992|
|Jeffrey L. Payne||Representative Jolene Unsoeld (WA)||1990-1991|
|Barbara J. Frank||Subcommittee on International Scientific Cooperation of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology||1989-1990|
|Virgil A. Frizzell||Representative Norman Mineta (CA)||1988-1989|
|Sherry D. Oaks||Congressional Research Office/Representative George Brown (CA)||1987-1988|
|L. Jeff Lefkoff||Senator Timothy Wirth (CO)||1986-1987|
|Dana J. Isherwood||Senator Albert Gore, Jr. (TN)||1985-1986|
|Eric L. Butler||House Subcommittee on Commerce, Transportation, and Tourism||1984-1985|
|Jack D. Fellows||Representative George Brown (CA)||1983-1984|
|Arthur B. Weissman||Senator Christopher J. Dodd (CT)||1982-1983|
|George H. Shaw||Representative Al Swift (WA)||1981-1982|
|Carroll Ann Hodges||Representative Jim Santini (NV)||1980-1981|
|Robert J. Barbera||Senator Paul Tsongas (MA)||1979-1980|
|J. Christopher Bernabo||Representative George Brown (CA)||1978-1979|
|Yacov Y. Haimes||White House Office of Science and Technology Policy||1977-1978|