IEEE-USA created the Congressional Fellowship program in 1973 to:
- to enable IEEE’s U.S. member to make practical contributions to the public policy process, promoting more effective use of scientific and technical knowledge in the U.S. government;
- to help educate the scientific and engineering community on the public policy process; and
- to broaden the perspectives of the science, engineering, and governmental communities regarding the value of such interaction.
Since inception, more than 100 IEEE U.S. members have worked on Capitol Hill as advisors to the U.S. Congress, serving on the personal staff of a Senator or Representative, or the professional staff of a congressional committee, of the fellow’s choosing.
Each year, the IEEE-USA Government Fellows Committee selects two eligible IEEE members from a pool of applicants to serve a one-year fellowship on Capitol Hill. Selections are made on the basis of the applications and in-person interviews with the Committee. The Committee is composed of IEEE members, some of whom are former fellows. The IEEE-USA Board approves the Committee's selections.
IEEE-USA Congressional Fellowships run 1 September - 31 August each year.
It is notable that one professional organization in particular, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), currently supports several Congressional Fellows, all of whom are engineers in senior level positions. Members' offices and committees have found these individuals among the most helpful and productive Congressional Fellows.
If you wish to apply for an IEEE-USA Congressional Fellowship, please apply directly to IEEE-USA using the application linked to this page. Do not apply to AAAS for the IEEE-USA Fellowship.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While you may apply for more than one of the IEEE-USA fellowships (Congressional, State, USAID) in any one year, you must be sure to submit a completely separate cover letter and separate supporting packages for each type of fellowship. Each of your statements of intent and reference letters must carefully illustrate your understanding of the specific type of fellowship for which you are applying. These cover letters illustrate to the selection committee your understanding and awareness of the distinctions between the responsibilities of legislative and executive branch personnel. IEEE-USA will not accept one application package in which you state you are interested in all three types of fellowships.
Please send your application to Erica Wissolik at firstname.lastname@example.org. We must receive your application via e-mail by the 5pm deadline for it to be considered valid.
The interviews for 2021-2022 Fellows are scheduled for 4-5 FEBRUARY 2021 in Washington, D.C. Interviews are approximately 45 minutes long. Applicants need to be here for only one of those days and scheduling will occur at the time of notification of an interview. If you are selected for an interview, you must be able to attend in person. Rescheduling the face-to-face interview is not an option.
To be considered for an IEEE-USA Congressional Fellowship, applicants must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Applicants must be an IEEE Member (which includes those in graduate student membership status) in good standing at the time of application.
- Applicants must possess either:
i.) a Ph.D.; or
ii.) a Master's degree plus a minimum of five (5) years of full-time, professional work experience.
Applicants who are in the final stage of obtaining a Ph.D. may apply and interview for the Fellowship. However, the applicant must provide official transcripts confirming possession of a Ph.D. prior to the start of the Fellowship on September 1st. The degree must be granted by an accredited program in a subject field that falls within the science, engineering, computer, or allied disciplines eligible for IEEE membership. In exceptional cases, the Government Fellows Committee may waive the Masters plus work experience or Ph.D. requirements for candidates with extraordinary compensating experience. Work experience must consist of full-time, relevant professional employment and does not include internships or student-related employment.
- An applicant must be a U.S. citizen at the time of application or, at the latest, prior to selection.
Please review the Program Policies & Procedures document for complete information on eligibility requirements.
Applicants are evaluated on the basis of:
- Technical competence,
- Ability to serve in a public environment,
- Basic comprehension and understanding of the public policy process, and
- Evidence of service to IEEE and the engineering profession.
The Government Fellows selection committee may establish additional criteria. Specifically excluded as selection criteria are age, sex, creed, race, ethnic background, and partisan political affiliations.
Prior to beginning a fellowship, Fellows are enrolled in a mandatory, multi-society, two-week orientation program organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The orientation takes place in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of every September. IEEE-USA pays for the orientation registration fees. At the completion of the 2-week orientation, fellows begin their search for a fellowship placement, and upon finding a placement, begin their fellowship. The fellowships run for one year, from September 1st through August 31st.
STIPEND & TRAVEL
Fellows will receive a stipend of either $75,000 (for those fellows who possess both the required degrees and at least five years of full-time, professional work experience), or $65,000 (for Post Docs and new PhDs just entering the workforce). To be considered for the higher stipend, the work experience must consist of full-time, relevant professional employment. Student-related employment and research, or time spent working in graduate-level internships will not be counted. Stipends are normally paid in two equal lump sum payments at the beginning and mid-point of the fellowship. Alternative payment schedules can be negotiated. An additional, supplementary expense allowance of $5,000 is given to offset the costs of relocation to Washington, DC, but can be used for any fellowship expense, or wrapped into the fellowship stipend at the fellow’s discretion.
Stipends are non-negotiable and the Government Fellows Committee retains sole discretion to determine which stipend a fellow will receive based upon an applicant's experience and education. For more details, please review the Policies and Procedures.
The Fellows or their employers - if applicable - are responsible for the balance of salaries, benefits (including health insurance), and all other expenses.
During their Fellowship year, the Fellows are required to provide IEEE-USA with three (3) reports:
- 1st—the placement report, due at the end of the first month of the fellowship—highlights the Fellowship assignment and expectations for the year.
- 2nd—the midyear report, due at the end of the sixth month of the fellowship—is a progress report highlighting the Fellows activities and achievements for the year to date.
- Final—due at the end of the twelfth month of the fellowship—summarizes the Fellowship experience and offers advice for prospective Fellows as well as recommendations to IEEE-USA regarding the Fellowship program.
THE FELLOWSHIP EXPERIENCE
The fellowship experience is intended to be both a learning experience for the fellow, but more importantly, it is an opportunity for an IEEE member to pass on his/her knowledge and experience to policymakers who may or may not have a science and technology background. A successful fellow is most importantly, proactive and takes the initiative. You will:
- perform professionally and complete projects,
- articulate needs in a constructive and respectful way,
- address challenges with creativity and thoughtfulness,
- take initiative to obtain information necessary to accomplish tasks,
- inform the Member of Congress you are serving and achieve fellowship goals with respect for the opinions of others and an awareness of the environment; and
- balance work time with learning time.
We work on science and innovation and all kinds of things, but you have to have somebody who knows what they’re talking about. In this office, in health care, science, technology and innovation, we’ve had those people, and they make all the difference in the world.
Program Manager, Government Activities