American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program SPECIAL UPDATE

Congressional Science Fellowships in the Geosciences


This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies

IN A NUTSHELL: AGI and several of its member societies are now accepting applications for congressional science fellowships, providing opportunities for qualified geoscientists to spend a year (starting September 2000) working as professional staff in congressional committees and the personal offices of representatives and senators. These fellowships are part of the AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows Program, which has a 25-year history of placing scientists on Capitol Hill to provide input and gain experience in the federal legislative process. For further information and application deadlines, visit the web sites of AGI, the American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America It is acceptable to apply to more than one society. Stipends, application procedures, timetables, and deadlines vary. Please pass this message along to anyone who you feel might be interested.


Congressional science fellowships represent a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience with the federal legislative process and make practical contributions to the effective and timely use of geoscientific knowledge on issues relating to the environment, resources, natural hazards, and federal science policy. The 2000-2001 fellows will spend a year to sixteen months (starting September 2000) in Washington working as a staff member in the office of a member of Congress or a congressional committee.

AGI's current 1999-2000 Fellow, Dr. Eileen McLellan, is working for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on resource and land-use issues. AGU's current fellow, Dr. Bryan Hannegan, is working on climate change issues for the majority staff of the Senate Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources, chaired by Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK). GSA Fellow Dr. Melody Brown Burkins works for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on environmental issues. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow Dr. Christy Johnson, a geoscientist, is working on environmental issues for Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT). SSSA Fellow Dan Byers begins work in the office of Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI), who chairs the House Basic Research Subcommittee, this coming January.

The fellowship experience begins with an intensive orientation program on the legislative and executive branches, organized by AAAS, which also guides the placement process and provides educational and collegial programs for the class of over two dozen science and engineering congressional fellows as well as fellows working in various federal agencies.

For the AGI fellowship, prospective applicants should have a broad geoscience background and excellent written and oral communications skills. Minimum requirements are a master's degree with three years of post-degree work experience or a Ph.D. at the time of appointment. Although prior experience in public policy is not necessary, a demonstrable interest in applying science to the solution of public problems is desirable. Our goal in offering the AGI fellowship is to draw on all sectors of the geoscience community. Applicants must be a member of one of AGI's member societies, and preference is given to applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The AGI Congressional Science Fellowship carries an annual stipend of up to $42,000 plus allowances for health insurance, relocation, and travel. Funding for the fellowship is provided by the AGI Foundation. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and a curriculum vitae with three letters of reference to AGI Congressional Science Fellowship, 4220 King Street, Alexandria VA 22302-1502. All application materials must be postmarked by February 1, 2000. For further details, visit the AGI web site at, call 703-379-2480, or e-mail AGI is an equal opportunity employer and especially welcomes applications from women and minorities.

Special update prepared by David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted November 16, 1999

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