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ASPET Washington Fellows Program

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Program Mission

The mission of the ASPET Washington Fellows Program is to enable developing and early career scientists interested in science policy to learn about and become more engaged in public policy issues.

Fellows will develop an understanding of how public policy decisions made in Washington help shape and impact science policy, such as funding for the National Institutes of Health and other science agencies. Fellows will also learn how to advocate effectively on Capitol Hill and in their home districts.

This program will help fellows develop the skills and insights to become future leaders in science. 

Applications for the 2017 program are now closed. 

What Will ASPET Fellows Do?

  • Advocate on Capitol Hill: ASPET Fellows will come to Washington, DC, to meet with their congressional delegation to advocate for biomedical research and increased funding for the NIH. Fellows will be well trained by ASPET and prepared with the appropriate message to deliver to Congress. ASPET will cover transportation costs, hotel, and other reasonable expenses that follow ASPET’s reimbursement policy.
  • Become advocates in their home districts: ASPET Fellows will meet with Members of Congress in their home district, act as a conduit to inform colleagues within their departments/institutions about federal legislative matters, write op-ed pieces to local papers, etc. All these activities will be prepared with the support and advice of ASPET.
  • Attend the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2017: ASPET Fellows will attend the 2017 ASPET Annual Meeting in Chicago and any related policy program sessions assigned. Fellows will receive complimentary registration to the meeting.


The ASPET Washington Fellows Program is open to any graduate student, postdoctoral trainee, or researcher no more than four years past the completion of his/her postdoctoral training.

Applicants must be members of ASPET in good standing and have a strong interest in science and its intersection with public policy. Fellows will be selected by the ASPET Science Policy Committee.

Application Information

ASPET anticipates up to 10 Washington Fellows Program participants in 2017. Fellows serve one-year terms.

All applications must contain the following information and be submitted by September 6, 2016, as a single combined PDF:

  • A letter (no more than two pages) from the applicant stating their interest in public policy and why they are interested in the ASPET Washington Fellows Program
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • A letter of support from the candidate’s mentor and/or department chair supporting the application

Incomplete applications and/or applications received after September 6, 2016, will not be considered.

Questions? Email us at publicaffairs@aspet.org.

ASPET Fellows Alumni


“I went into research in the neuroscience/pharmacology field to be able to make contributions to the understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders,” she said, “but as I progressed, I also became interested in raising awareness about the science policies at issue in my community as well as also reaching broader audiences of government officials and the general public."

– Rebecca Benham Vautour, PhD  

“It is very important to have people who are expert researchers also know how to communicate with policymakers. In times of limited federal budgets, advocacy for research in Washington has never been more important.”

– 2016 Washington Fellow  

“Not only were these meetings informative but they also made me realize how important a role we as scientists, particularly early career scientists, play in informing lawmakers about the importance of federally funded research and the subsequent consequences of cutting that investment.”

– Prasad Krishnan, PhD 

“The ASPET Washington Fellows Program was a great experience. It was also a very interesting endeavor advocating for strong budget support for NIH funding since the inaugural class served just as sequestration was coming into effect. It was very satisfying to develop a brief presentation that provided the unique perspective of young investigators and students just starting to pursue a science education. We really tried to give the people meeting us new information that they could use to convince others of the importance of sustained biomedical funding.”

– Adam Kuszak,PhD 

“The Washington Fellow Program was a positive experience in every way. I was able to explore a particular avenue of science advocacy, participate in the policy making process within ASPET leadership meetings, and I made many professional connections that opened the doors to many other opportunities. The ASPET Washington Fellows Program was instrumental in my career development.”

– 2015 Washington Fellow 

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