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IEEE-USA Government Fellowships

Enabling Science, Technology & Engineering Professionals to Work With and Advise Government Policymakers

Each year, IEEE-USA sponsors government fellowships for qualified IEEE members.  The fellows chosen by the IEEE-USA Government Fellows Committee and confirmed by the Board spend a year living and working in Washington as advisers to the U.S. Congress and to key U.S. Department of State or U.S. Agency for International Development decision-makers. Known as Congressional Fellowships, Engineering & Diplomacy Fellowships, or Engineering & International Development Fellowships, the fellowship program links science, technology and engineering professionals with government, and provides a mechanism for IEEE's U.S. members to learn firsthand about the public policy process while imparting their knowledge and experience to policymakers.


Deadline for 2016-2017 fellowships - FRIDAY, 15 JANUARY 2016

Congressional Fellowship
Information & Application

State Department Engineering & Diplomacy Fellowship
Information & Application

USAID Engineering & International Development Fellowship
Information & Application


Interested IEEE members may apply for one or all of the three IEEE-USA fellowships. However, applicants must submit (3) THREE separate applications, one for each fellowship. IEEE-USA will not accept a single application stating that you are interested in all three fellowships.

Be mindful of the fact that the three fellowships are very different from each other. If you are applying for more than one, you must submit separate cover letters, separate application packets, and separate reference letters for each application. Your cover letters, references, and application materials should reflect an understanding of the distinctions between the executive and legislative branch fellowships, and illustrate the experiences and qualifications that might benefit you in each fellowship.

News & Notices

The 2015-2016 Engineering & Diplomacy Fellow (US Department of State)

Dr. Benjamin L. Schmitt
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Schmitt received his Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Pennsylvania ( 2015) where he was a was a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow, focusing on experimental cosmology. He research primarily concentrated on the development of novel millimeter-wavelength imaging technologies framed through the design and integration of ACTPol, a polarization-sensitive receiver upgrade for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), currently fully-deployed and operational at over 17,000ft in elevation at the ACT site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Dr. Schmitt’s research in connection to ACTPol was supported by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, as well as an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program grant. He collaborated with teams at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, CO, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and field operations at the ACT site.

Dr. Schmitt previously served as a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, where he engaged in plasma diagnostics research via precision measurement of the photoionization of highly charged ions propagated in an electron beam ion trap under interaction with modern synchrotron radiation light sources. He also supported the development of x-ray diagnostics systems for the OMEGA laser system at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a Department of Energy inertial confinement fusion research center, and has been a visiting researcher at both Cornell and Columbia Universities, with focus on experimental particle physics, and laboratory astrophysics, respectively.

Dr. Schmitt is a professional member of IEEE, the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, and SPIE. He has participated in federal science and technology policy engagement events with members of Congress, the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the Executive Office of the President, and the Fulbright Academy of Science and Technology at the United Nations in the United States, as well as CONICYT in Chile. Additionally, he has worked in support of programs to develop robust bilateral relations via science policy between the U.S. and Chile, including a unique meeting with the Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Juan Gabriel Valdes. He was recently recognized as a 2015 Presidential Management Fellowship semi-finalist.

An accomplished classical vocalist with numerous principal roles with the Eastman Opera Theatre company at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Dr. Schmitt earned a Master of Science degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Astronomy, as well as a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Modern German Languages and Cultures from the University of Rochester.

IEEE-USA is pleased to participate in the AAAS S&T Fellowship Program, which celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2013.  The Anniversary Video features former IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow (and IEEE President) Gordon Day.

For additional reference...

IEEE-USA Today's Engineer, December 2011, What Does it Take to be an IEEE-USA Government Fellow? By Sherry Gillespie, Ph.D. and Tom Tierney, Ph.D.

IEEE-USA Today's Engineer, January 2011, Federal Government 101: The IEEE-USA Congressional and State Department Fellowships, By Norman C. Lerner, Ph.D., P.E. (At the request of the US Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States — the location of Dr. Lerner's fellowship — he is his 2010 fellowship through 2011. Dr. Lerner contributed significantly to a new program sponsored by the OAS Office of Science and Technology, and it was determined that he was instrumental to the program's continued success.)

AAAS publication: "From the Lab to the Hill: Essays Celebrating 20 Years of Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows," which includes essays by IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow alumni Charles Bostian, LeEarl Bryant, Tom Fagan, George Swetnam and Don Willyard.

6 DEC 2007: US News & World Report article: Wanted on the Hill: A Few Good Scientists

Last Update: 16 September 2015

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