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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 2023-2024 fellowship are closed.

Learn about the Fellowship

Learn more about the Congressional Science Fellowship, the requirements for applying, and the role itself.  Join a group of highly accomplished professionals who are sharing their scientific knowledge directly with members of Congress and congressional committees. 

Applications for the 2023-2024 fellowship are closed

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 eligible to work in 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.

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

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.

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

Kathryn Harris

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 


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Congressional Science Fellowship Fund

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