Terms, Selection Criteria, and Application

In the past, Fellows have performed every type of work normally asked of the permanent staff, whether they are in individual 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, assisting in legislative debates on the floors of the House and the Senate, or meeting with lobbyists, special interest groups or agency representatives.

Fellows are requested to write short articles about their experiences on the Hill throughout their Fellowship year, to be published by AGU.

Fellowships are for one year. The Fellowship year for most Fellows usually begins the Wednesday after Labor Day with an intensive two week orientation program organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (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 select a position in the House or Senate.

The AGU Fellowship carries with it a stipend of $68,000 for 12 months, plus allowances of $1,000 for vouchered travel and moving expenses incurred during relocation, $2,000 for appropriate vouchered travel expenses incurred during the fellowship year and $2,000 for travel to AGU Fall Meeting. Health care coverage is reimbursed by AGU.

Although AAAS coordinates the entire Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship Program on behalf of the scientific, engineering and professional organizations participating in the program, each organization selects, sponsors and supports its own Fellow(s). The AGU Fellow stipend is paid by AGU. The stipend level and selection criteria are established by AGU. The selection process is highly competitive. A committee of former AGU Congressional Science Fellows and AGU members who have worked in congressional offices reviews applications and interviews finalists before making its selection.

Selection Criteria

All members of AGU who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States are invited to apply for the fellowship. Though the program is aimed at geoscientists with a doctorate degree, there are no absolute restrictions on age, educational or career level, or specific scientific background.

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 are desirable. 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. For this reason it is very important that prospective Fellows have a broad background in science. In addition, they are expected to be articulate, strong communicators, flexible, and able to work on a variety of public policy problems with people from diverse professional backgrounds.

Ph.D. candidates should be absolutely sure that work on their degree will be completed prior to the commencement of the fellowship year since experience has shown that Fellows do not have time to work on their thesis. Degree candidates should include among their references a letter from their adviser stating the status of their thesis and the anticipated date of completion.

Candidates must be members of AGU to be considered for the fellowship.


In addition to the online application, interested candidates should submit a letter of intent, a curriculum vitae (including publications), and three letters of recommendation through the online form. All credentials must be received no later than 1 February 2016. Incomplete applications cannot be considered.

LETTER OF INTENT should include:

  • a statement of why the fellowship is desired,
  • how the candidate is qualified for it,
  • what issues and congressional situations interest the candidate,
  • what role the candidate envisions as a Congressional Science Fellow and,
  • what outcome the candidate hopes for in relation to career goals.

CURRICULUM VITAE detailing personal and professional data, including a publications appendix.

THREE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION should be from individuals who are able to discuss not only the candidates professional competence, but also other aspects of his or her background that would make the candidate particularly qualified to serve as a Congressional Science Fellow. Letters of recommendation should be submitted directly to AGU by the writer using the online form.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to make sure all application materials are submitted online by the deadline, 1 February 2017. AGU will not notify individuals of incomplete applications.

All questions about the fellowship should be directed to Timia Crisp at tcrisp@agu.org.

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