Congressional Science Fellows Committee

This committee supports the Congressional Science Fellowship program by selecting the new Congressional Science Fellow each year and generally promoting fellowship experience and long-term engagement in the fellowship program. The Congressional Science Fellows Committee  reports to the Board of Directors and the Council.

Chair
Jim Evans, Bowling Green State University

Members
Alex Apotsos, USAID
David Applegate, USGS
Jana Davis, Chesapeake Bay Trust
Rebecca French, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation
Josh Trapani, Association of American Universities
Maggie Walser, National Academies of Science
Aaron Goldner, Office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Erica Bickford, Department of Energy

Staff Liaisons
Elizabeth Landau, Assistant Director, Public Affairs
Timia Crisp, Analyst, Public Affairs

Charge

Congress constantly works to establish sound public policy on scientific issues, however not all congressional offices have scientific expertise on staff. In response to these congressional needs, AGU is pleased to have sponsored a Congressional Science Fellowship (CSF) for over thirty years. The fellowship program enables effective use of scientific knowledge in policymaking and provides a unique experience to scientists seeking careers involving public use of technical information.

The CSF program places highly qualified, accomplished scientists, engineers, and other professionals in the offices of either an individual Member of Congress or on a congressional committee for a one-year fellowship. The AGU Congressional Fellows will have the opportunity to make significant contributions to public policy during their time working with Congress. Past fellows have been directly involved in water policy, climate research, energy conservation, and a range of other issues that are of high priority to society.

The Congressional Science Fellowships Committee selects which CSF applicants to interview, conducts interviews, and chooses which interviewees will be offered fellowship positions. The expertise of past fellows is especially helpful in making these selections, as past fellows know the demands of the fellowships and the abilities required for a successful candidate.

In addition to the selection process, the committee is also engaged throughout the fellowship year to improve the fellow’s experience and ensure the fellowship continues to provide a competitive edge to fellows seeking to continue in a policy-related career. Committee members assist in developing and disseminating marketing materials, evaluating fellow surveys and interviews to improve fellow experience, and reviewing and updating fellowship criteria and the selection process. The committee also fosters community between current, recent, and former Congressional fellows, providing a network of policy-savvy scientists and providing expertise and advice to the incoming and recent fellows as they navigate their fellowship year and beyond.

Finally, as AGU explores fundraising options to sponsor additional fellows as part of the larger Centennial campaign, the committee will be critical in providing support, particularly as spokespersons for the fellowship program. With their testimony and active engagement in the fellowship program,  committee members are best suited to be ambassadors for AGU, which will strengthen AGU’s efforts.

Key Initiatives

  • Conduct the selection process of the AGU Congressional Science Fellowship in coordination with the appropriate AGU staff.
  • Determine ways to improve the Congressional Fellow experience and advance the CSF program.
  • Serve on CSF Interview Panel, if in the D.C. area, or Review Panel.
  • Review and provide input to interview questions, marketing material, and other communications, as needed.
  • Serve as a spokesperson and help support communication and marketing for the program.
  • Provide a support network for current, recent, and former fellows and a pool of engaged, policy-savvy scientists for AGU to activate as needed throughout the year.

Annual Calendar

Each year, committee members:

  • Participate in regular virtual meetings to prepare for and debrief the Congressional Science Fellow application process, Fellow experience, and marketing materials;
  • Participate in either the review panel (remotely) or the interview panel (in DC) for selecting the new Congressional Science Fellow;
  • Attend, if available, the welcome reception for the new Congressional Science Fellow in DC and the Congressional Science Fellow luncheon at Fall Meeting.

Questions about this committee can be directed to Timia Crisp (tcrisp@agu.org).