Editor’s note: Guest columnist Catherine Paolucci served as the AMS/AAAS 2016-17 Congressional Fellow and is now serving a second year as a AAAS fellow, this time posted in the Executive Branch.
As a mathematics community, we often look to publication, education, and mentorship as ways to broaden our impact, both within and beyond our specific disciplines. For the past year, I’ve had the exciting opportunity to serve as the 2016-2017 AMS Congressional Fellow. This experience has expanded my vision of the ways in which mathematicians can use their expertise, skills, and specialized training to broaden their impact through government service and policy work.
For those of you who don’t know, each year the AMS sponsors a Congressional Fellowship as part of the broader American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program (more about that later). The AMS Congressional Fellow has the unique opportunity to join the office of a member of Congress, or a Congressional Committee, and serve in that office for the academic year.
As with two of the last three AMS Congressional Fellows before me (including AMS Washington Office Director Karen Saxe!), I had the privilege of being offered an opportunity to serve as an Education Policy Fellow for Senator Al Franken (MN). While the learning curve was steep, and I often felt completely out of my element, I gained extremely valuable knowledge and experience. I was also able to contribute to many important developments related to education, including higher education, teacher education, and career and technical education (CTE).
This past year was unlike anything that I ever imagined I would do as part of my career. While the opportunities to bring mathematical knowledge to the table were limited, the personal and professional growth far exceeded anything that I could have expected. In addition, I have been able to bring strategies and insight back to the mathematics community for effective advocacy and efforts to ensure continued support for mathematics research and education.
In addition to the Congressional Fellowship, the broader AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program offers opportunities to make valuable mathematical contributions within Executive Branch Agencies. These fellowships are open to applicants at any stage in their career who have a doctorate in a scientific field. They offer one-to-two-year placements in government agencies, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Health, State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and others.
In fact, after completing my Congressional Fellowship, I have decided to further expand my impact and learning as an Executive Branch Fellow with a placement in the National Science Foundation (NSF). I am also excited to report that, from last year to this year, the number of fellows who have come from a mathematical field has more than doubled! As a proud member of this group of outstanding fellows, I interviewed for a wide range of interesting opportunities involving work in data analytics, modeling, program evaluation, science diplomacy, outreach, and STEM education. Here’s everything that you need to know to apply:
Congressional Fellowships: In addition to applying for a Congressional Fellowship through the AMS, AAAS also sponsors two Congressional Fellows each year. If you are interested in working in Congress, I recommend that you apply for both opportunities to increase your chances. I also encourage you to stop by the AMS Congressional Fellowship Information Session (Friday January 12, 4:30-6:30 in Room 11B on the upper level of the San Diego Convention Center) at the upcoming Joint Mathematics Meeting…But don’t wait to apply!!
AAAS Congressional Fellowship: Deadline: November 1, 2017 Apply Here
AMS Congressional Fellowship: Deadline: February 15, 2018 Apply Here
Executive Branch Fellowships: The same application is used for both the AAAS sponsored Congressional Fellowship and Executive Branch Fellowship programs (if you happen to have a J.D. or legal experience, it also offers a Judicial Branch Fellowship). You can apply for up to two programs, so you can apply for both the Congressional Fellowship and the Executive Branch Fellowship or either on its own. The deadline to apply for fellowships that begin in September 2018 is fast approaching, so start your application now!!
Deadline: November 1, 2017 Apply Here
If you have questions about any of these fellowship programs, or you’re interested in applying, please feel free to contact me (Catherine) by e-mail.