Congressional Fellows Program Honored; AIP &APS Seeking Applicants

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Publication date: 
10 November 2003

In an October 28 speech on the House floor, Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA), called the Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowships "a shining example of a collaborative program that benefits all who participate." The fellowships, he said, are "a remarkable partnership between Congress and the 30 or so participating professional societies that select and fund the Fellows." Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), who introduced the resolution, described the fellowships as "a truly valuable educational program that gives scientists a wonderful opportunity to step out of the lab and into the political process." For physicists who wish to learn about - and contribute to - the policy process, the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and the American Physical Society (APS) are now seeking applicants for their Congressional Science Fellowships. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR INFORMATION ON APPLYING BY THE JANUARY 15, 2004 DEADLINE.

The above remarks were made during debate on a congressional resolution honoring the 30th anniversary of the Congressional Fellowship program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AIP and three of its Member Societies (APS, the American Geophysical Union, and the Optical Society of America) all sponsor Congressional Fellows under the auspices of the AAAS program. In fact, APS was one of the original societies to participate in the program.

The AIP and APS Fellowships enable qualified members of APS or any of the nine other AIP Member Societies to spend a year on Capitol Hill, working in the office of a Member of Congress or for a congressional committee. Fellows work with personal offices and congressional committees to select an assignment that interests them. They do not act as representatives of AIP or APS during their time on Capitol Hill; their only responsibility is to the congressional office in which they choose to serve.

Some Fellows accept permanent positions on Capitol Hill or in federal agencies after their Fellowships, while others return to academia or industry, to share their experience of the legislative process with others in the science community. The APS 1982-1983 Congressional Science Fellow, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is now serving in his third term.

Scientists of all ages and career levels are encouraged to apply. Applicants to the AIP and APS Congressional Fellowships should have a PhD in physics or a closely related field. In exceptional cases, the PhD requirement may be waived for candidates with compensating research experience. While a Fellow must have the scientific qualifications to be a credible representative of the science community on Capitol Hill, he or she should also have demonstrated an interest in broader societal concerns and the application of science to their solution. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, APS members for the APS Fellowship, and current members of one or more of the ten AIP Member Societies for the AIP Fellowship. If the society membership requirements are met, one application suffices for both the AIP and APS Congressional Fellowship programs.

For details on applying for any of the four physics-related Congressional Fellowship Programs of AIP and its Member Societies, please see the following web sites:

For AIP:
For APS:
For AGU:
For OSA:

The congressional resolution (H. Con. Res. 279) states that "Members of Congress hold the AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship Program in high regard for the substantial contributions that Fellows have made, serving both in personal offices and on committee staff." It reaffirms the House's "commitment to support the use of science in governmental decision-making" through the Fellowship program.

For PhD physicists who want to apply their knowledge and skills beyond the lab bench, and who believe there is a need for technical advice and analysis in the conduct of national policy, this is an opportunity to make a difference.

Further excerpts from floor discussion of the resolution will be provided in FYI #145.

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