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Saturday, January 28, 2012

AAAS Fellowship Application System - Questions about the Fellowships Program

Q: Does AAAS have any fellowship programs for undergraduate or graduate students?
Yes. AAAS also administers the Mass Media Fellowship Program, which places undergraduate and graduate students at various media sites throughout the U.S. during the summer, to work as science journalists. For more information about this program, contact Rahman Culver at

Q: When do the interviews take place?
The selection interviews take place in early March, with follow-up placement interviews in mid-April. Please see the 2012-13 Fellowship Schedule for details. Candidates must be available for interviews and there are no exceptions or deferrals.

Q: Does AAAS pay travel costs for interview candidates?
Yes. Documented transportation costs at the lowest economy fare for round-trip travel for both domestic and international candidates will be covered. Lodging in DC is provided, and AAAS will also reimburse expenses for meals, reasonable, documented transport to/from the airport and reasonable local transportation to/from the interview.

Q: After the interviews, if I am eligible for a fellowship, do I have a voice in where I am placed?
Yes. Placements in all the fellowship program areas are joint decisions between the finalist, the interested host office, and AAAS.

Q: If awarded a fellowship, how do I prepare for the experience?
In early September, AAAS provides a mandatory two-week orientation program that indoctrinates Fellows to the workings of the federal government and provides exposure to some of the issues, institutions, and individuals involved in federal policy making. Prior to orientation, the AAAS Fellowships Department provides written materials and a variety of resources that assist Fellows to prepare for their year in Washington, D.C.

Q: What is the duration of the AAAS Fellowships?
The fellowships are 12-month learning experiences beginning on 1 September and ending on 31 August. Individuals accepting a fellowship must sign an agreement acknowledging this year-long commitment. Some exectuvie branch fellowships may renew for a second year at the mutual agreement of the host office, the Fellow, and AAAS. Second year renewals are contingent upon the availability of funding.

Q: Are the AAAS Fellowships available every year?
The AAAS Fellowships have been operating annually since 1973. The number and size of the fellowship program areas has changed over the years and continues to evolve. Some fellowship areas and assignments are funded for multiple years, while others are available only as funding is secured on an annual basis.

Q: May I opt for a shorter fellowship?
No. The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships are available only as a 12-month commitment in the first year of an assignment. However, second year assignments may be for shorter durations at the mutual agreement of the host office, the Fellow, and AAAS.

Q: What is the location of the Fellowships?
All AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships are based in Washington, D.C. in the first year of an assignment. At the mutual agreement of the host office, the Fellow, and AAAS, fellowship assignments may move to a different operating base in the second (renewal) year.

Q: Who funds the fellowships?
The majority of the executive branch fellowships are funded by the agencies and offices where AAAS Fellows are placed. The Congressional Science & Engineering Fellowships are funded by the sponsoring scientific and engineering societies that recruit and select those Fellows.

Q: What impact have fellowships had on the career paths of former Fellows?
In the year immediately following their fellowship, approximately 40-50% of the Fellows continue working in the policy realm (not necessarily in government positions); 20-25% return to the sector in which they worked previously; and another 20-25% use the experience as a stepping stone to a new opportunity.

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