GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
PREPARING FOR THE FELLOWSHIP
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT
For whom do the
Fellows accept one-year
assignments to work on the staff of a Member of Congress or a congressional
committee. Fellows are not "employees" of Congress or of
IEEE, but are treated as equivalent to congressional
staffers (e.g., legislative
assistants) in terms of assignments and responsibility. Following the annual AAAS fellows training in September, the
fellow independently seeks out and determines for whom he/she will work based upon personal preferences
and the opportunities available.
For more information on
assignments, consult the section on, "Preparing
for the Fellowship."
What is the
Relationship of the IEEE-USA Congressional fellowship Program and the AAAS
Science & Technology Fellowship Program?
In addition to
supporting its own fellowships, the American Association for the Advancement
of Science (AAAS) hosts an umbrella congressional science and engineering
fellowship program as a collaboration of approximately 25-30 professional
scientific and engineering societies. The program includes a two-week
fellowship orientation as well as opportunities for networking and
educational meetings throughout the fellowship year.
Because of the way the
two programs are publicized, applicants and fellows are often confused about
the distinctions. To clarify, IEEE-USA awards and supports IEEE-USA
Congressional fellowships. IEEE-USA has different selection criteria
than the AAAS fellowships (including a requirement that the applicant must be
an IEEE member in good standing), and an applicant
must apply for
the IEEE-USA fellowship separately from the AAAS fellowship programs.
Do the fellows
receive a salary?
are not employees of IEEE/IEEE-USA or Congress, and do not receive a salary
per se. Fellows do receive a stipend (varies depending upon experience and education) to reimburse
expenses, plus a relocation allowance of $5,000. Costs associated with the fellow's required
attendance at the annual AAAS orientation are
reimbursed by IEEE-USA independently of the stipend.
Does IEEE-USA or
Congress provide benefits?
Neither IEEE-USA nor
Congress provides insurance or other benefits. Many employers find the
to be of value and will continue providing benefits. If you do not have
benefits from an employer, you may wish to retain your own. IEEE
Financial Advantage program offers a number of options.
How long is the
fellowship and can it be renewed or extended?
fellowship supports a one-year fellowship assignment. A fellow may
negotiate changes in the fellowship duration with the
fellows Committee on a case by case basis. If necessary and requested by the host, fellowships may be lengthened or shortened; although if lengthened, IEEE-USA provides no additional financial
contribution. If shortened, stipends will be adjusted.
public policy experience necessary?
Government fellows Committee looks favorably at applicants who have relevant
experience or can demonstrate an understanding of the policy-making process.
However, the primary purpose of IEEE-USA's Congressional fellowship is to provide
a unique educational experience for the fellow. Our hope is that
fellows will use that experience to become more involved and help educate
their colleagues and others about the policy process and how engineering professionals can
effectively contribute to that process. IEEE-USA also expects that fellows will be an
effective source of advice and assistance to their Congressional sponsor.
Are any specific
technical qualifications required?
Members of Congress are
looking for breadth and general knowledge and not specific technical
expertise.Therefore, IEEE-USA does
not recruit Congressional fellows for specific technical backgrounds.
However, in evaluating a fellowship application, IEEE-USA will consider the fellow's technical
When does the
fellowship assignment start?
Beginning in 2013, the fellowship year will run for one year, starting in late September following the AAAS orientation.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Must I be a
Yes, you must be a U.S.
What are the fellowship
qualifications or eligibility criteria?
To be considered for an IEEE-USA Congressional Fellowship, applicants must submit an application confirming the following basic eligibility requirements:
a. Applicants must be a Member in good standing of IEEE at the time of application.
b. Applicants must possess a Ph.D., or a Masters Degree plus five (5) years of relevant professional experience. The degree must be granted by a recognized program in a subject field that falls with the science, engineering, computer, or allied disciplines eligible for IEEE membership. In exceptional cases, the Masters or Ph.D. requirement may be waived by the Government Fellowship Committee for candidates with compensating experience. Work experience must consist of relevant professional employment and does not include internships or student-related employment.
c. An applicant must be a U.S. citizen at the time of application or, at the latest, prior to selection.
addition to these basic eligibility criteria, the Government Fellows
Committee considers the following factors when evaluating fellowship
IEEE Volunteer Activities
Overall Suitability for
fellowship (flexibility, adaptability, open-mindedness, confidence,
maturity, professionalism, etc.)
These are not weighted
criteria, but are part of a holistic review and evaluation of the candidate
based on the written application and interview.
IEEE-USA does not
restrict applications by IEEE
members who are Federal employees. Employees should note however, that
many government agencies (including branches of the military services) have
policies and programs in place regarding fellowships and may not support
participation in non-governmental fellowship programs. Over the years,
IEEE-USA has had a number of applicants from military backgrounds who were
denied permission to participate by their military superiors at very late
stages of the application process. For that reason, IEEE-USA prefers
that federal employees investigate their organization's policies and
processes before applying for an IEEE-USA fellowship.
Who selects the
Fellows Committee is comprised of six volunteers selected for their
and the public policy/legislative process, at least three of whom are
What is the selection process?
The fellows Committee
reviews the written applications and then selects a number (typically 3-5 for each available fellowship) of
"finalists" for face-to-face interviews. At our expense, IEEE-USA
flies the finalists to
for an interview with the Government fellows Committee.
Finalists must be able to attend the interview
in person. Rescheduling the
face-to-face interview is not an option.
Based on the
application and interview, the Government fellows Committee then recommends candidates
for the fellowships and presents the names to the IEEE-USA Board for final approval.
A fellowship offer is made
After the fellow
accepts the offer, a fellowship agreement is finalized so that
the fellow can begin to prepare for a move to Washington for the AAAS fellowship orientation in early
September, and the start of the fellowship.
PREPARING FOR THE FELLOWSHIP
Each fellow is required
to participate in a two-week orientation organized by the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The AAAS orientation introduces the fellow to the legislative process, the
federal budget, important S&T policy issues, the nature of the fellowship
experience, and the resources available to fellows and Hill staffers in
part of the Orientation, AAAS will brief the fellows on known fellowship
orientation, the fellow will visit congressional offices of interest to offer
his/her services. Offices that are interested with typically invite the
fellow to one or more interviews before conveying a placement offer. Fellows then choose their preferred assignment from among the various
offers. In many respects, the process is comparable to looking for a
job. The difference is that you do not cost the congressional office
anything except space to work.
Not every office is
interested in having a fellow. Other offices may be looking for fellows
with specific areas of expertise. However, the number of fellowship opportunities
has always exceeded the number of available fellows.
experience is unique in many respects. See
reports of the
fellowship alumni for individual examples.
In there any
obligation for IEEE-USA involvement after the fellowship?
Although there is no
service obligation, IEEE-USA encourages fellowship alumni to join
policy committees. IEEE-USA hopes to benefit from the knowledge
and interests of the fellows alumni. And many alumni find
volunteering to be a rewarding way to continue pursuing their interest in
public policy and legislative issues.
How would the
fellowship affect my career?
of IEEE-USA's fellows are from academic backgrounds,
and most return to their universities and use their fellowship experience to
enrich their classrooms.
Another one-third of
IEEE-USA's fellows are at retirement age or are in
retirement. Most return to retirement after their fellowships, often becoming
active IEEE-USA volunteers. A few find new opportunities to start a second career,
often taking advantage of their Washington
experience and contacts.
The balance of IEEE-USA
fellows are typically at mid-career, often at a point of career
transition. Most return to their company for a specified number of
years. Others transition to new positions in their companies; some have
been assigned to the corporation's Washington
office or detailed to work with related trade associations. Others move
on to new employers. A few accept permanent staff positions in Congress
or executive branch agencies. One IEEE-USA Congressional fellow,
Leonard Weiss, served for a number of years as Staff Director of the Senate
Governmental Affairs Committee (now called the
Senate Committee on Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs). Another fellow joined the staff of the House Armed
Services Subcommittee on Research and Development after his fellowship,
before transitioning to a post with Congress' U.S. Government Accountability
In surveys of the
fellows alumni, many report that the fellowship experience provided a stepping
stone to a more fulfilling and rewarding career path. Even those that
return to their previous engineering career paths agree that the experience
helped enhance their careers. Most cite the skills learned (writing,
briefing non-engineers on S&T matters, communicating, knowledge of the
legislative process), as well as the usefulness of contacts made while in