Programs: Science and Policy
Fellowship Support: Professional Development Program
AAAS fellowships staff conducts professional development, skill-building and networking events throughout the year for all Science & Technology Policy Fellows. These activities help not only to enhance the Fellows' knowledge and capabilities, but also to foster interaction and collaborative connections. Following is an outline of the various categories of events.
- Educational Seminars
- Capacity-Building Workshops
- Networking & Outreach Events
- Annual Retreat
New Fellows are required to attend an eight-day orientation program that AAAS operates in September at the start of the fellowship year. The aim is to provide Fellows with essential facts about Congress and the Executive Branch, to help define their roles as Fellows, and to offer information and contacts useful to Fellows in their assignments throughout the year. The orientation assists in clarifying objectives and prepares Fellows to be more effective in their new positions. The sessions offer context and background rather than detailed information about how to work in specific fellowship assignments.
AAAS’s reputation and extensive collaborations help attract outstanding senior-level professionals as orientation speakers and resources for new Fellows. AAAS also includes many former Fellows as speakers during orientation to serve as resources and mentors. Involving them is critical to building relationships and a sense of community across the more than 30 cohorts of scientists and engineers who are alumni of the AAAS fellowships.
AAAS Fellows participate in the yearlong program of educational seminars and activities that are provided for all Fellows. The program includes at least one seminar or special activity each month, designed to expose Fellows to a range of issues related to science and policy. Sessions and tours have been arranged addressing topics as diverse as the budget process, communicating science in the media, welfare reform, and the laboratory capabilities and research conducted at various federal agencies.
AAAS offers skill-building sessions for Fellows at a day-long mid-year gathering. The workshops serve to expand the Fellows' professional capacity in such areas as public speaking, negotiation and building consensus, communicating science, project management, facilitating meetings, multi-stakeholder interactions, social marketing, and managing interdisciplinary teams. AAAS also offers career-enhancing workshops throughout the year.
Networking & Outreach Events
Fellows benefit from annual activities sponsored by AAAS that support networking within and across cohorts, and with the broader scientific community. These include the AAAS Annual Meeting held each February, attended by nearly 6,000 scientists, engineers, and policymakers from around the world. It serves as the major interdisciplinary scientific meeting in the United States. The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships department sponsors a networking event for current and alumni Fellows at the meeting as well as a career workshop on the program to recruit future candidates.
The AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy is held each spring in Washington, DC, and provides a venue for discussion and debate about budget and policy issues facing the science and technology policy community. Since its beginning in 1976, it has grown to draw nearly 500 of the nation’s top science and technology experts and has established itself as the major public meeting in the U.S. on science and technology policy issues. AAAS subsidizes Fellows to attend the event.
The AAAS Fellowships department also hosts a networking event each fall for former Fellows to gather to welcome the new cohort of Fellows and begin to establish relationships to support the new class and develop collaborative connections.Annual Retreat
AAAS organizes a year-end, day-long retreat for Fellows to provide a time for reconnecting with their full cohort, for reflection on the fellowship year, for discussion and sharing of resources for future career plans, and for feedback on the fellowships.