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Spring 2014, Fellowship Focus


ESEP: A New Way to Engage With Policy

A diverse group of organizations including AAAS is partnering to help empower scientists and engineers to engage in policy processes through the launch of a new resource portal: Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy (ESEP). ESEP brings publications, degree programs, courses, trainings, fellowships, network opportunities, and more, into one place for scientists, S&T professionals, and students who are interested in becoming involved with policy initiatives. Search results on the interactive tool are generated dynamically to ensure that they are personalized and relevant to each user.

In addition to the ESEP interactive portal, you can sign up for the ESEP newsletter here.

Chicago Report: Fellows at the AAAS Annual Meeting

Fellows and staff braved snow, frigid temperatures, and flight delays and cancellations on their way to (and back from!) Chicago for the AAAS Annual Meeting in mid-February. In true fellow form, current and alumni fellows made a strong showing in various leadership roles:

  • 3 spoke at Fellowship outreach events at Fermilab and Northwestern University
  • 12 moderated or made presentations in a conference session
  • 14 spoke with prospective applicants at our exhibit booth
  • 23 served as judges in a poster competition
  • ALL enjoyed the energy and camaraderie that is the Annual Meeting

With standing room only, actor and science communications advocate Alan Alda spoke about the need for scientists to learn how to communicate more clearly and vividly with the public. A high point for Heather Dean, 2012-14 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation, was an illuminating one-on-one chat with the actor.

Browse videos, photos, and thought-provoking scientific findings on our Facebook page and our Twitter feed between February 15-20.


Fellow Helps Matt Damon Communicate Science

The origin of the universe. Climate change. Cloning. Hot-button issues like these often stall in the mire of public opinion. Sabrina McCormick, 2009-11 Executive Branch Fellow at EPA, hopes her work on a major documentary series will help push the issue of climate change forward and spur action. With stars and journalists including Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Leslie Stahl, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the series promises to do just that.

"This is the biggest story of our time." - James Cameron

"Years of Living Dangerously" is an innovative documentary series that reveals the human impact of climate change with an aim to educate the public on why it matters to them and how they can help. Read More


Olympic Fever Skies, Skates, and Luges into Classrooms

Everyone knows that a screen is a great way to capture kids' attention. Pair that with the excitement of the Olympic Games and you have the formula for a gold medal in STEM education.

"Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games" is a 10-part video collection, narrated by NBC Sports' Liam McHugh, which illuminates the physics, engineering, chemistry, design, and mathematics involved in performing Olympic sports. Valerie Thompson, 2012-14 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation, was a key player in its making. Read More


See Katie Run

Katie McGinty, 1989-90 Congressional Fellow in the US Senate (sponsored by the American Chemical Society), is running for governor of Pennsylvania. She faces an open field of seven other candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Her training as the ninth of 10 children and as an S&T Policy Fellow may serve her well! Read More


Cultures Collects Stories to Grow Community

Fresh off the presses in January was the first issue of Cultures magazine, a new publication of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) that explores the intersection of science, policy, and global challenges by bringing diverse voices to a common platform. As ASM's director for international affairs, alumnus Jason Rao, 2002-03 Executive Branch Fellow at the State Department, is the magazine's creator and editor-in-chief. Chairing the advisory board is former editor-in-chief of 

Science, Bruce Alberts. Read More 


A New Fellowship Program Is Born: ELISS

Back in grad school, you may have been one of the many students who couldn't find opportunities to contribute to real-world problems and take advantage of the synergies found from working across disciplines. In response to that need, Melanie Roberts, 2006-07 Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate and 2007-08 Executive Branch Fellow at NSF, founded and now directs the new AAAS Emerging Leaders In Science & Society (ELISS) fellowship program. Read More



Sci on the Fly

Got a minute? Check out Sci on the Fly -- a lively blog for members of the public to read and engage with, written by current and alumni fellows. The goal is to promote public dialog about science and science policy and give fellows the opportunity to gain experience in lay writing. Read the latest blogs on sugary drinks, HPV vaccines, cultural neuroscience, and much more...


2014 Science and Engineering Indicators

Did you know that in 2011, only about a third of eighth graders performed at or above the proficient level for their grade in science? Did you know that U.S. knowledge- and technology-intensive industries weathered the global economic downturn better than similar industries and economies in the EU and Japan? Learn more in Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 (SEI) published by the National Science Board. The SEI presents quantitative data on the U.S. and international science and engineering enterprise to help inform the development of future policies.


New Fellowship for Women in Science

CRDF Global, a nonprofit promoting international scientific collaboration, is seeking candidates for its inaugural Henrietta H. Fore Women in Science Fellowship. The fellow will focus on expanding opportunities for women scientists around the world to collaborate in science and engineering during an eight to twelve week period in Arlington, VA. Candidates must be women with or pursuing a Ph.D. in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, or biomedical and behavioral sciences, and be a U.S. citizen or have U.S. work authorization. The application deadline is April 25. Apply here


A Look Back in Time

See our interactive S&T Policy Fellowships timeline to learn about more than four decades of Monumental Experiences, Fundamental Contributions, and Substantial Results. Did you know that the inaugural class of Congressional Fellows arrived on Capitol Hill in 1973? We received 90 applications; seven scientists were chosen. These fellows served in congressional offices to provide scientific expertise to policymakers facing increasingly technical legislative issues. Do you have a timeline tidbit? Suggest one to us at

Watch: 2013 Fellowships Year in Review


Get Published!

Opportunity for Current and Alumni Fellows: You may never have had an easier opportunity to get published. Did you know that Fellowship Focus has a readership of 6,500 scientists, academics, and others who are passionate about science and policy? If you have a story about a recent project at the intersection of science and public policy, send it to us for a chance to see it come to life in these pages. Email your story (200 words or less), photos and/or video to the editor, Kat Song.