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Congressional Science Fellowship

Program and Purpose

Congressional Science Fellows spend a year working as a staff member for a Member of Congress or congressional committee.

The purpose of the program is threefold:

  • contribute to more effective use of scientific and technical knowledge in government;
  • provide a unique public policy learning experience and educate the earth science community about the public policy process;
  • broaden the perspective of the earth science and governmental communities regarding closer interactions between scientists and policy makers.

GSA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are among more than 20 science and engineering organizations that sponsor a Congressional Fellow each year. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) coordinates the fellowship program and provides a two-week orientation program, assists with the process of finding a congressional office, and sponsors professional development activities throughout the year for all Fellows.

The 2018–2019 GSA-USGS Fellow will receive a stipend of $68,000 plus allowances for health insurance, relocation, and travel in connection with the fellowship. The period of the Fellowship is from September 2018 through August 2019. The fellow may have the option to extend the period of service through December 2019. The fellowship is funded by GSA and by a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey. Employees of the USGS are ineligible for this fellowship, but interested USGS applicants may contact AAAS or GSA for information about other programs. The fellowship is open to GSA members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Selection Criteria

The program is aimed at earth scientists who:

  • show exceptional competence in some area of the earth sciences;
  • have a broad professional background;
  • are cognizant of many matters outside their area of specialization;
  • have a strong interest in applying scientific knowledge toward the solution of societal problems;
  • are articulate, flexible, able to work well with people from diverse professional backgrounds;
  • are interested in working on a range of public policy problems;
  • function well during periods of intense pressure;

Prospective candidates should be GSA members with a broad geoscience background and excellent written and oral communication skills. Minimum requirements are a Master's degree in engineering with at least five years professional experience or a Ph.D. at the time of appointment.

Application Information

The Geological Society of America-US Geological Survey will select one Congressional Science Fellow for 2018–2019. Applications were due 1 February. Complete applications for the Congressional Science Fellowship must include four elements, as described below:

  1. Letter of application. A letter of application should include addresses and telephone numbers of three references, the candidate's availability for a possible interview in mid-March, and how the applicant first learned of the GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellowship Program.
  2. Three letters of reference. Letters of reference should be from persons who can discuss not only the candidate's professional competence, but also other aspects or interests that would make the applicant particularly qualified to serve as a Congressional Science Fellow. Each letter should address:
    • The writer's relationship to the candidate;
    • The technical accomplishments and relative standing of the candidate among his/her peers;
    • The candidate's interest and experience in applying his/her expertise to the solution of societal problems;
    • The candidate's ability to communicate, both orally and in writing, and to interact productively with individuals and groups;
    • The candidate's maturity and depth of judgment;
    • The candidate's professional future.
    The candidate is responsible for soliciting the required letters and for providing to those letter writers the six guidelines listed above.
    Letters of reference are to be submitted directly to GSA via the separate References Submittal Form, and must be received before the application deadline.
  3. Statement from the candidate about his/her qualifications and career goals. The candidate's statement should not exceed 1000 words and should cover the following areas:
    • Why the fellowship is desired;
    • How the candidate is qualified, including the geoscience background;
    • What issues and congressional situations interest the candidate;
    • What role the candidate envisions as a Congressional Science Fellow;
    • What outcome the candidate hopes for relative to career goals.
  4. Complete curriculum vitae. The candidate's curriculum vitae should provide complete professional data, including publications.

Questions regarding the fellowship should be directed to:
Kasey S. White
Director for Geoscience Policy
Geological Society of America
1200 New York Avenue NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005, USA

Deadline to apply for the 2019–2020 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellowship: 1 February 2019.