Chat Series

Policy Fellowships change the world. And You!

CHAT PARTICIPANTS

STPF STAFF

Salaeha Shariff and Barry Williams

STPF FELLOW(S)


Brad Newsome, Ph.D., 2015-16 Executive Branch Fellow, National Institutes of Health
Now: Health Scientist Administrator, National Institutes of Health 

Brad Newsome is a program official in the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In his position within the CTRIS Health Inequities and Global Health Branch, he oversees a global health-related research portfolio addressing late-stage implementation science research that is geared toward turning proven heart, lung, blood and sleep health discoveries into sustainable health outcomes in populations throughout the world. Brad provides scientific and programmatic leadership for NHLBI’s Hypertension Outcomes for T4 REsearch within Lower Middle-Income Countries and T4 Translation Research Capacity Building Initiative in Low Income Countries  programs, as well as institutional oversight of the Fogarty Global Health Training Program. 

As a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, Brad was in the NIH Office of the Director, Scientific Workforce Diversity office, where he oversaw the efforts of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director Working Group on Diversity. 

In addition to his public service at NIH, he did his postdoctoral training within the NIH-NIEHS Superfund Research Program Center at the University of Kentucky, where he directed the Center’s graduate and postdoctoral transdisciplinary training efforts and translated the Center’s ongoing environmental health-related research innovations to relevant stakeholders, including state and federal policymakers and regulators, industry partners for technology transfer, and at-risk populations across Kentucky.  

Brad is a humanitarian at heart, driven by the idea that the biomedical innovations we are working hard to develop to address health disparities here at home can and will go on to transform lives around the world. 


Emma Locatelli, PhD 2016-17 American Geoscience Institute/AAAS Congressional Science Policy Fellow, Office of Senator Tom Udall's (D-NM)

Emma Locatelli is a geoscientist with expertise in paleontology and fossil preservation, currently serving as the American Geoscience Institute/AAAS Congressional Science Policy Fellow in Senator Tom Udall's (D-NM) office. In her host office, she is working on issues related to climate, the environment, natural resource management, drought, public lands, space, and STEM education.

During her Ph.D., she integrated biology, chemistry, and geology and to investigate how non-mineralized organisms, such as plants and insects, become fossils.

Emma is passionate about education, outreach, and service, and balanced her research program with commitments to teaching, presenting science to the public, and working with scientific societies and lawmakers to advocate for science. Her experiences during graduate school bolstered her long-standing interest in the intersection of science, policy, and the public.

Emma holds a Ph.D. in Paleontology.

Chat Archive

  AAAS STPF LiveChat (05/25/2017) 

  
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2:00
Salaeha Shariff: 
Hello, and welcome to the first in the series of AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) live chats.

2:00
Salaeha Shariff: 
STPF provides a platform for scientists and engineers, at all careers stages, to engage in federal policy and help address today’s most pressing societal challenges. Fellows come to Washington DC and spend a year in the executive, judicial, and congressional branches of the federal government. At the end of the year, STPF fellows join a global corp of STEM leaders who understand government and policymaking and are equipped to develop and execute solutions to address societal challenges- across all sectors.

2:01
Salaeha Shariff: 
My name is Salaeha Shariff and I am the Director of Recruitment for STPF and your moderator today. chat. Joining me are current fellow Emma Locatelli and alumnus fellow Brad Newsome. We’re all here to answer your questions about the STPF program.

2:02
Salaeha Shariff: 
STPF is the premier opportunity to take your research and training to the next level and transform your career in the process.

2:02
Salaeha Shariff: 
We are now accepting applications for the 2018-19 fellowships year. Application deadline is November 1- so now is the time to start thinking about your application.

2:03
Salaeha Shariff: 
Eligibility requirements for the fellowship include US citizenship and a doctoral level degree in any of the following:

•Medical and Health sciences.

•Biological, Physical or Earth sciences.

•Social and Behavioral sciences.

•Computational sciences and Mathematics.

  • Engineers with an MS in engineering and three years of professional experience are also eligible to apply.

2:04
Salaeha Shariff: 
After the chat, visit http://www.stpf-aaas.org/ to learn more about eligibility and fellowship programmatic areas- you may apply for up to two.

2:04
Salaeha Shariff: 
Today’s chat is your opportunity to ask questions, hear about fellows’ experiences, and learn how the fellowship experience can transform your career path. So start submitting your questions and ask away!

2:04
Salaeha Shariff: 
Submit your questions by typing into the box below and click “Post.” Please keep your question short, and direct it to a particular individual or the whole panel. Use the #STPFChat to tweet ideas presented and share your thoughts about the chat.

2:04
Salaeha Shariff: 
Now, for some quick introductions.

2:04
Salaeha Shariff: 
Brad Newsome is a STPF alumnus. He was a 2015-16 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). AT NIH, his placement was in the Office of the Director, Scientific Workforce Diversity office. Here, he oversaw the efforts of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director Working Group on Diversity. He is currently a Health Scientist Administrator at NIH. He oversees a global health-related research portfolio addressing late-stage implementation science research geared towards turning proven heart, lung, blood and sleep health discoveries into sustainable health outcomes in populations throughout the world.

2:05
Salaeha Shariff: 
Brad holds a PhD in Biochemistry/Biophysics.

2:05
Brad Newsome: 
Hi Everyone! Great to be with you today.

2:05
Salaeha Shariff: 
Emma Locatelli is a 2016-17 Congressional Fellow sponsored by the American Geosciences Institute. Emma’s placement is in the office of Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) where she works on issues related to climate, the environment, natural resource management, drought, public lands, space, and STEM education.

Emma is passionate about education, outreach, and service, and balanced her research program with commitments to teaching, presenting science to the public, and working with scientific societies and lawmakers to advocate for science

Emma holds a Ph.D. in Paleontology.

2:05
Emma Locatelli: 
Hi everyone!

2:06
Salaeha Shariff: 
Be sure to check the resource box below the chat screen for links to fellowship social media, how you can receive news and periodic updates from the fellowships, and more!


2:06
Salaeha Shariff: 
To begin, Brad and Emma, why did you apply to the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships? How do you see the fellowship experience fitting into your long-term career?

 
Emma Locatelli: 
I have known for a long time that a traditional academic or industry career was not for me. During my PhD, I had the opportunity to participate in a number of science policy related events and workshops, and found that I really enjoyed it. I find applying my training as a scientist to policy problems incredibly rewarding. While I don’t know exactly what my long-term career goal is, I know that I want to be working at the nexus of science and policy, and this Fellowship is giving me hands on policy experience and the chance to form a science policy network in DC that will help me move forward.
2:07
Brad Newsome: 
Hi everyone--I started thinking about STPF at the beginning of grad school because I always knew that I wanted to work on the broader implications of science instead of at the bench or in an academic setting. When applying for the fellowship, I had NIH in mind as a place high up on my list where I would enjoy working. Fast forward a few years, I’m now a program administrator at one of the NIH Institutes. That said, it worked PERFECTLY into my career aspirations!

2:07
Salaeha Shariff: 
And now we'll get to your questions.

2:08
[Comment From Mohammad AMohammad A: ] 
What are some of the tangible ways that the ST Policy Fellowship helped your careers?

 
Brad Newsome: 
Hi Mohammad--nice to meet you. STPF was really key for getting me into my current job at NIH. It introduced me to how science policy is done in government so I could transition into my current job much more easily, but, more importantly, introduced me to the right people to talk to. That's one of the biggest barriers to most any job.
2:09
[Comment From Grace EvansGrace Evans: ] 
I have a degree in Telecommunications Systems Engineering. Do I qualify for the Fellowship? If not, would I qualify with one of your social partners?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
Yes, applicants with a Masters in Engineering and three years of professional experience are eligible to apply.
2:09
[Comment From VictorVictor: ] 
Are fellowships limited to DC or can you go elsewhere?


 
Barry Williams: 
Victor, yes, all placements are in Washington, D.C. for first year fellows. There are opportunities to travel for some of our host offices and you can find out the amount of travel required for your position during the finalist week.

2:10
[Comment From RachelRachel: ] 
Do participating host offices have specific policy projects for the S&TP Fellows or are the work assignments made ad-hoc during the fellowship?
 
Brad Newsome: 
This comes in a lot of different flavors depending on where you end up working. Some offices have a specific project that they need support on. As for me, I worked in the office of the director of NIH, which involved being on my toes at ALL times. I covered a gamut that could never have been summed up as a specific project. This is a good question to ask during interviews
2:12
[Comment From Kerry MKerry M: ] 
Hello! Thank you for putting this chat together! From the perspective of selecting applicants, what makes the strongest recommendation letters / whose letters carry the most weight?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
You want letters of reference from people who know you well and can speak to not only your science/engineering background but also what you'd bring and gain from a policy fellowship experience. Visit the FAQ section on our application site for guidance to provide references when drafting their letters.
2:12
[Comment From Zach] 
It seems like people in science policy often work as generalists (compared to hyper-specialized academics). How did you manage that transition? What did you do to prepare for needing literacy in many different sciences?


 
Emma Locatelli: 
Great question! I wouldn’t too much about this at all. In Congress, I work with sciences that I am very unfamiliar with, but haven’t found this unfamiliarity to be an impediment at all. Most of the time, what is needed to do my job - and do it well! - is fairly basic. One of the great things about working in policy is that it is not your job to do the science; instead, you can draw on the knowledge of your peers, fellow Fellows, and a number of different resources if there is a question that you need to know the answer to but aren’t an expert in.
2:13
[Comment From KateKate: ] 
Did you find it difficult to juggle networking/job applications during the fellowship year? Was there support for transitioning to your next job?


 
Brad Newsome: 
Well, I was very intent on staying at NIH, so much of my focus was spent looking through USAJobs and doing informational interviews to put my name out there. You have a lot of support from your supervisors for working toward the next stage of your career so don't worry about the juggle--it is part of the fellowship and is certainly accommodated. I got incredible support from my supervisor and I know that as a general rule for other fellows. Take advantage of the professional development through STPF--SO helpful
2:14
[Comment From Tiffany JTiffany J: ] 
I am entering my 5th and final year of a doctoral program and anticipate graduating in August of 2018. When or during what stage of your education/career would you suggest applying to the STPF program?

 
Barry Williams: 
You must have successfully completed your degree in order to apply for the fellowship. With an anticipated graduation in August 2018, you will be eligible to apply during our application cycle starting in May 2019 for a fellowship beginning September 2020. For more on the steps to becoming a fellow, please visit: https://www.aaas.org/page/s...
  Barry Williams
2:15
Salaeha Shariff: 
Here's an advanced question we received.
Q: What are the major criteria needed for fellows? Does age matter or a criteria for one to be selected?
A: Applicants should hold a doctoral-level degree (PhD, MD, DVM, DSc) in any scientific, health/medical or social science discipline. Applicants with an engineering background should hold at minimum a master’s degree in engineering and three years of professional experience, or a doctoral level degree. All degree requirements must be met by the November 1 application deadline. All applicants should also hold U.S. citizenship.
No, there is no age criterion for the fellowship. Fellows represent a diversity of backgrounds including ages, career stage, and discipline. The diversity and depth of experiences fellows bring is and invaluable part of the fellowship experience and network- well beyond the fellowship year.


2:16
[Comment From David LogerstedtDavid Logerstedt: ] 
For Brad or Emma, what was the most helpful advice you got before applying for a fellowship?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
Hi David. The best piece of advice that I got before applying for the fellowship was to start getting involved with policy or communication early on. I was heavily involved in teaching at the University, going far beyond what was required for my stipend; teaching at various levels helps improve your scientific communication skills on the more technical side of things. I also participated in a number of different public-facing outreach activities at Yale, including working with young students at the Peabody Museum and talking about my work as a scientist to the public. My work with such diverse audiences has made me comfortable talking about science with groups with different backgrounds, a key skill when working in policy. Finally, I became involved with my scientific societies and participated in policy related society activities, such as Congressional Visit Days and the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering workshop. These opportunities opened the window into the policy realm, and helped me to shape my goals when it came to applying for the AAAS STP Fellowship.
2:16
[Comment From Matt LMatt L: ] 
Are you generally assigned to areas relevant to your research background? Or are broader assignments considered (for example, being placed at the DoE even if your studies were more biological in nature)?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Actually, I now work on my subject matter area and my interest area: noncommunicable diseases and global health. It couldn't be more fitting. That said, I worked in a very different environment as a fellow at NIH Office of the Director and was constantly learning new things toward impacting the very broad implications of science from an NIH policy setting. Be flexible--don't just expect to find a position doing your exact subspecialty. So much more of a learning opportunity if you are in an interest area instead of just your subject matter area.
2:19
[Comment From RukmaniRukmani: ] 
I don't have any experience in policy, but only in research / outreach / teaching. Is experience in policy crucial for the fellowship application? I recently applied for a different policy fellowship (not with AAAS) and was told that my outreach experience would make me better suited for other teaching universities / outreach programs at institutes. Is that true with AAAS SPTFs too?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
No, you do not have to have extensive policy experience. You should have a demonstrated interest in policy as well as the outreach and communication skills. All the skills you described would make you a competitive application for the S&T Policy Fellowships.
2:20
[Comment From To the whole panel: how would you describe individuals who have really benefited from AAAS? What are the characteristics of individuals who are a good "fit"?To the whole panel: how would you describe individuals who have really benefited from AAAS? What are the characteristics of individuals who are a good "fit"?: ] 
To the whole panel: how would you describe individuals who have really benefited from AAAS? What are the characteristics of individuals who are a good "fit"?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
Competitive applicants demonstrate:
• Flexibility
• Leadership skills
• Strong communication skills.
Fellows require strong leadership skills as they may be asked to represent their agencies, collaborate in intra-agency initiatives, or represent their congressperson or senator to their constituents. Fellows should exhibit good communication skills as they will be communicating complex issues to non-expert audiences. Flexibility is also required as projects and initiatives may fluctuate and change depending on department and program priorities.
2:21
[Comment From Mohammad AMohammad A: ] 
What does policy work involve? I keep imagining people in suits drinking coffee and pouring over papers and speaking with legislators.
 
Emma Locatelli: 
The most simple answer is … yes, for at least some of the time. A lot of policy work on the Hill is based on relationship building, and so getting coffees with other staff members is an important part of what we do. That being said, I only see my boss, a Senator, some of the time. Most of the interactions I have are with other staff members, the Fellows spread throughout Congress, and constituents. Some days, I attend briefings and hearings; others, I might be pouring over the nitty gritty details of a complex policy problem. It changes every day!
2:21
[Comment From ZachZach: ] 
How much policy background did you have in graduate school? Did you take policy classes or anything similar?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Actually, there's only so much policy experience you can get if you are in basic science. That said, I did quite a bit outside of normal grad school: a STEM education internship with a state-level think tank that introduced me to many of the overarching questions I now deal with on a day-to-day basis. As a postdoc I intentionally focused my work on research impacting policy. It was a great way to continue honing my communication skills dealing with communities, state-level legislators, and industry for transferring the tech that I was developing. Great way to learn more about the policy realm while continuing my research. Be thinking about how you can take your research beyond the bench!
2:23
[Comment From Sam MSam M: ] 
I have no formal training/education in science policy. Do you advise doing preparatory work in terms of reading any materials or following some course of lectures to help educate myself in how policy works in a textbook way before applying?
 
Barry Williams: 
Hi Sam. Many of our applicants have no formal training/education in policy before applying to the program. There are many things you can do now before you apply to the program. If you are still in a campus environment, I would suggest checking out any science policy groups that are available. There are also many career resources available through our colleagues at AAAS: https://careerdevelopment.a....

2:24
[Comment From ZachZach: ] 
Is there any difference in how applications are judged between different branches? I.e., do Executive Branch fellows differ much from Legislative in terms of their qualifications or prior experience?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
Your application should be tailored to the program area to which you are applying. Speak about how you anticipate your background contributing to that branch of government.
2:25
[Comment From VictorVictor: ] 
I know that law school can be an alternative path into science policy. Was this something that Brad or Emma considered? Is there a greater benefit of one over the other?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
I remember the day I decided to go to grad school instead of law school! I think that there are certainly benefits from both routes, but I think that having the scientific background before going into policy was the best decision for me. In terms of the law degree, there are many people involved in the policy realm that do not have legal training. With a few years working in policy, I don’t think that law school would make much of a difference, as you pick up the practical aspects of policy making on the job.
2:26
[Comment From Kriti JKriti J: ] 
When selecting fellows, do you seek to balance backgrounds (engineering vs. medical sciences vs. social sciences)? Are there particular needs or skill sets AAAS is seeking for the upcoming application cycle?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
Fellows represent a diversity of backgrounds including ages, career stage, and discipline. The diversity and depth of experiences fellows bring is and invaluable part of the fellowship experience and network- well beyond the fellowship year. AAAS strives for a broad array of applicants each year.
2:26
[Comment From RukmaniRukmani: ] 
How detailed are you expected to be in describing your fellowship areas of interest and in envisioning your role as a Fellow? Are specific ideas preferred?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Well, there is a lot to be said about flexibility in this process. Putting forward your broad career goals and how your research/experience work toward that is great. But being overly prescriptive with your desires is not all that beneficial. There is so much to learn whether you are in EXACTLY the specific place you want to spend the rest of your career, or simply as an incredible learning/networking opportunity. Be Flexible!
2:27
[Comment From Kerry MKerry M: ] 
Is a post-doc mandatory to be a competitive applicant?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
No, a post-doc is not mandatory but competitive applicants highlight a broad array of experiences that demonstrate their leadership, commitment to public service and skills as strong communicators.
2:28
[Comment From RukmaniRukmani: ] 
Can you apply to more than one branch? (e.g., Executive and Legislative?)
 
Barry Williams: 
You can apply to up to two program areas through AAAS and can additionally apply for partner society sponsored fellowships. More info on our partner societies here: https://www.aaas.org/page/s...
2:28
[Comment From KateKate: ] 
Sure! Brad, you mentioned that you wanted to work as a fellow at the NIH--is it normal for fellows to get their first choice placement?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Thanks for resending, Kate. Don't expect "normal" for basically anything in DC ;)
That said, I did get my first choice. But it wasn't what I thought would be my first choice coming in to placement week. My experience with the people in my office at NIH OD gave me a good reason to change my mind--don't discount the value of working with people you have a good connection with, even if it is somewhat outside your subject matter expertise.
2:29
[Comment From Kerry MKerry M: ] 
Would you characterize your role as "the scientist in the room" or is it more like "Give me a read on the field of x, you have 30 minutes to research it"?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
As a Congressional Fellow, I’ve found myself to be in both positions! When I’m in meetings with my co-workers and either constituents or stakeholder groups, I definitely play the role of ‘scientist in the room’. My colleagues expect me to follow the technical aspects of what we are talking about, and make sure any comments or decisions we make are sound on the science front. I’ve also been asked to give my colleagues and Senator a deep dive presentation or memo on some energy issues, with only 30 minutes to prepare. It totally depends on the day and situation.
2:30
[Comment From Kerry MKerry M: ] 
To follow-on Tiffany';s question- My graduation is "this summer". If my degree is NOT granted for some reason, may I 1) withdraw my application for this cycle and 2) will it damage my future chances to do so?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
As long as you successfully defend on or before November 1 application deadline you are eligible to apply in the current application cycle. You can withdraw and it will not affect your chances in future application cycle.
2:32
[Comment From ZachZach: ] 
I live in Washington, D.C. right now. Are there advocacy events or the like I could be doing with AAAS that would help me get a feel for the kinds of things Fellows do?
 
Barry Williams: 
As you know, there are a wealth of options for talks, networking, etc. in Washington, D.C. I'd start by signing up for our newsletter to find out about our large, public events. These are great opportunities to both learn more about science policy and interact with current and alumni fellows. You can sign up here: https://www.aaas.org/page/s...
2:33
[Comment From Tiffany JTiffany J: ] 
Does applying to more than on branch increase your likelihood of acceptance into the program? Brad/ Emma, did you apply to more than one branch?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
I was only eligible for the Congressional Fellowship through partner societies my first year. I applied to the Executive Branch last year (I’ll be starting with the State Department this coming fall).
2:33
[Comment From RachelRachel: ] 
Does AAAS have a role in informing supervisors on what constitutes a 'good' , or rather quality, fellowship experience?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
Every fellow is assigned a supervisor/mentor in their host office. Your mentor along with your fellowship program manager work with you throughout the year to ensure your fellowship experience is going well and you're hitting the milestones you've indicated in your Fellowship Impact Plan.
2:35
[Comment From RukmaniRukmani: ] 
How do you anticipate Fellowship availability to change at the various Federal agencies next year, given the current administration's interest in decreasing funding / decreasing the size of agencies?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
Agencies will remain the same with shifts in number of placements and/or offices within the agency. While we anticipate a decrease in some agencies we anticipate an increase in others.
2:35
[Comment From SaraSara: ] 
What is the most unexpected skill you've had to learn or use in your current positions?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Hi Sara--This one is a bit of a tough one. Many people work outside their subject matter areas, so learning how to put together policy briefs in very short order was unexpected. In academia you expect to process everything to completion at all times, but sometimes you have to move very quickly even when you don't have EVERY single variable addressed. Being flexible is key.
2:36
[Comment From KateKate: ] 
Application question: Is the 200 word "brief bio" separate from the candidate statement or part of it?
 
Barry Williams: 
Kate, the bio is a separate section. For more information on the application, please visit: https://fellowshipapp.aaas....
2:37
Salaeha Shariff: 
Another advanced question we received.

Q. How do I gain experience in science policy locally?

A: Identify an area of policy you are passionate about and get involved. Contact your local representatives’ office and let them know you’re interested in contributing your expertise. Connect with your professional society and see what policy engagement opportunities are available. Get involved with or start a science policy group at your academic institution. The AAAS Force for Science Campaign has a great resources and ways you can engage in policy wherever you are: https://www.forceforscience...
2:37
[Comment From KateKate: ] 
How is the work-life balance during the fellowship year? Are you overwhelmed with a new job and all of the AAAS events?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
Compared to the non-existent balance that I had during the last year of my PhD, I’ve found the balance to be totally great! I think that Congressional Fellows have a slightly tighter balance, as our hours and commitments may change depending on when Congress is in session. That being said, I have plenty of opportunities to enjoy many of the wonderful aspects of DC, join my fellow Fellows for happy hour, go to receptions, and if I want… just chill out with my friend and cat. You generally get weekends off, unless you are traveling for work.
2:39
[Comment From SaraSara: ] 
What factors go into deciding whether you apply to the Congressional or Executive Branch fellowship? (or choosing both for that matter)
 
Brad Newsome: 
Well, you can apply to both, but it sometimes comes down to if you want to "inform" science policy vs. "make" it. There are very different paces that you work at between the two. I personally chose executive branch because my personal career trajectory was more aligned with driving science going on around the country instead of the more reactionary nature of being on the hill. All that said, you will learn so much wherever you end up. you can more just align with your long-term career aspirations.
2:39
[Comment From DaveDave: ] 
When putting together policy briefs on an area you are unfamiliar with, what sources do you typically use to get up to speed? How often do you have an opportunity to update or modify them?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Well, you have access to a lot of information that isn't publicly available for writing many briefs, but sometimes it comes down to reading through a lot of papers, reports, and quickly assimilating information. It is often not as complete as you want it to be as a scientist, but brevity and timeliness matters more. Rarely can you change these!
2:42
[Comment From VictorVictor: ] 
Was working in science policy what you expected to be? Are there aspects of scientific research that you miss?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
I do miss using the Scanning Electron Microscope whenever I want, but honestly, I don’t miss the academic research life at all. As a Fellow, I get to interact with other scientists on a regular basis, and that satisfies any need I have for engaging in scientific research myself.
2:42
[Comment From AlanaAlana: ] 
I am an alum of a somewhat similar science policy fellowship program (the Knauss Sea Grant Marine Policy Fellowship) that involved a year long placement in the executive branch. Any thoughts on whether that experience would be viewed as a positive (relevant experience! demonstrated interest!) or a negative (potentially less to gain from another policy fellowship?) in the evaluation of my application?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
Great question, in your application you'll want to make the case why you would benefit from a second executive branch experience and the experience and insight you would bring from having been a Knauss fellow.
2:44
Salaeha Shariff: 
Here's a question we received earlier.

Q. Could there be exceptions in eligibility criteria when it comes to those who are not US citizens?

A: AAAS does not grant exceptions for any eligibility criteria. Non-US citizens should consider applying through one of partner societies that accept non US citizens: https://www.aaas.org/page/s.... And here are a few additional resources to search for other fellowship opportunities, great resource for non US citizens and those who are still in graduate school: https://www.aaas.org/page/s... and http://science-engage.org/i...
2:45
[Comment From DaveDave: ] 
What did you do during your PhD to expose yourself to policy interests, as well as make you a competitive applicant?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
Good question! I became involved with my scientific societies and participated in policy related society activities, such as Congressional Visit Days and the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering workshop. These opportunities opened the window into the policy realm, and helped me to shape my goals when it came to applying for the AAAS STP Fellowship.
2:46
[Comment From David LogerstedtDavid Logerstedt: ] 
How do you think an experience as a Fellow would benefit someone who is interested in staying in academia?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Frankly, I know so much more about the grants process now that I have worked at NIH, to the point where I know I would be better at getting funding based on my knowledge of the process, the priorities, and the ways to interact with program officers. At the end of the day, many people go back to academia after the fellowship with a much clearer picture of how they can frame their research with the public's interest in mind. Probably as many people go back to academia as stay in government (an unsubstantiated claim...), so you'd be in good company!
2:48
Salaeha Shariff: 
And one last advanced question.

Q. How do the activities of policy fellows differ between the three branches of government?

A. Executive branch fellows contribute to policy, administration, and implementation in federal agencies. Fellows are placed across a vast array of agencies including the Agency for International Development, the National Science Foundation, the Department of State, the Department of Health & Human Services, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Fellows serve alongside staff in federal agencies pursing in a wide variety of activities:
Collecting and analyzing information.
Writing talking points, speeches, press releases, reports, websites, etc.
Preparing for hearings.
Fostering interagency collaborations.
Facilitating program development, implementation and evaluation.
Planning and implementing events.
Congressional Fellows spend a year on Capitol Hill helping to research, develop and draft legislation and provide input to policy review and oversight. AAAS sponsors two congressional placements. Additional congressional placements are available through approximately 30 scientific partner societies. Individuals are encouraged to apply to a AAAS sponsored Fellowship as well as to any partner societies for which they qualify.
Judicial fellows contribute scientific and technical expertise to judicial administration, operations, education programs, protocol and discovery, or courtroom technology while learning first-hand about contemporary policy issues facing the judiciary. The judicial fellowship is a unique opportunity to develop new research projects and apply mature scholarship to real world policy problems.
2:49
[Comment From JamieJamie: ] 
Are there any provisions for taking family leave during the fellowship?
 
Salaeha Shariff: 
That is managed on a case by case basis between the fellow and his/her host office.
2:50
[Comment From ZachZach: ] 
I think most people, when they think of science and policy, think of environmental issues or science funding. What are some areas where you've gotten to contribute scientific perspective that you wouldn't have thought of beforehand?
 
Brad Newsome: 
Well, I spent a lot of time working on an interagency White House subcommittee focused on STEM education and equity issues. Every issue you can imagine, we have a committee addressing. Think about global health with the proposed budget in mind--you can imagine that there is a lot going on with how science impacts health around the world, not just within the US. I'm working in all of these areas now, which is pretty exciting (and daunting...)
2:51
[Comment From Mohammad AMohammad A: ] 
How long did it take to adjust to the pace of work? Focusing on brevity and not on completeness of information sounds a little scary.
 
Emma Locatelli: 
It definitely takes some getting used to, but finding a good mentor that can give you some idea of what is needed is helpful in adjusting. The focus on brevity is somewhat flexible, as it depends on the situation. Sometimes, a deeper dive is absolutely essential.
2:52
Salaeha Shariff: 
We’re now approaching 3pm and the end of this chat.
2:52
Salaeha Shariff: 
Emma and Brad- what parting advice do you have for someone interested in engaging in science policy? How can someone go about getting involved?
 
Emma Locatelli: 
If you are interested in policy, this Fellowship is a great way to get started! You don’t have to have any policy experience to get started. Otherwise, there are a number of different ways to be involved: Participate in a Congressional Visit Day. Many scientific societies engage with Congress, and it is a good way to learn about the relationship between science and Congressional policy makers. If you can’t make it to a CVD, meet with your local Representative’s and Senators' offices - build a relationship with them as a scientist and citizen, and you can become a resource when they need scientific input in the future. Good luck, everyone!
2:53
Brad Newsome: 
I can’t think of a better organization to be a part of than AAAS to figure out how to get involved in science policy. They give incredible resources for figuring out how to do that. Also, university settings are incredible places to start looking in to the broader implications of the science that you’re doing. They have great connections with state governmental partners, community-based research programs, environmental partners, energy partners, etc. where science policy has never been more important for informing inquiry-based decision making to inform policy
2:54
Salaeha Shariff: 
That wraps up the first in this year’s AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships chat series. Join us on June 22 at 2pm EST where you’ll hear from fellows with backgrounds in math, computer science and engineering. Visit STPF chat page to view upcoming chats in the series: https://www.aaas.org/news/s...
2:55
Salaeha Shariff: 
An archived transcript of this chat will be available on the chat page shortly.

Thanks for joining us today, we hope you found this chat session useful. If we weren’t able to get to your question email us at fellowships@aaas.org.

To stay updated with the Fellowships program, like us on Facebook, join us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter at @AAASFellowships.

 

 

 

With yearlong placements in Washington, DC in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of federal government, the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships fosters a network of STEM leaders who understand government and policymaking, and are prepared to develop and execute solutions to address today’s pressing challenges. 

To view and register for additional chats in this series, click here.

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