This highly competitive program strengthens the connections between scientists and journalists by placing advanced undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level scientists, engineers and mathematicians at media organizations nationwide. Fellows have worked as reporters, editors, researchers, and production assistants at such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Scientific American. The Mass Media Fellows use their academic training in the sciences as they research, write and report today’s headlines, sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to non-specialists. Participants come in knowing the importance of translating their work for the public, but they leave with the tools and the know-how to accomplish this important goal.
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For 10 weeks during the summer, the AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows collaborate with media professionals at radio and television stations, newspapers, and magazines. As part of their job, the student-scientists and their host-journalists strive to make science news easy for the public to understand. The fellowship program is designed to enhance coverage of science-related issues in the media in order to improve public understanding and appreciation of science and technology. Fellows have the opportunity to observe and participate in the process by which events and ideas become news, improve their communication skills by learning to describe complex technical subjects in a manner understandable to the lay public, and increase their understanding of editorial decision making and the way in which information is effectively disseminated. In its 44 year history, the program has supported over 750 fellows.
The world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals, AAAS has individual members in more than 91 countries around the globe. Membership is open to anyone who shares their goals and belief that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can help solve many of the challenges the world faces today. You can lend your support to their efforts on behalf of scientists, engineers, educators, and students everywhere by becoming a member.
Fellows will be provided with a weekly stipend of $500 as well as travel expenses to and from AAAS and their sites.
- Applicants must be enrolled as students (upper-level undergraduate or graduate) or postdoctoral trainees at a university — or within one year of a completed degree — in the life, physical, health, engineering, computer, or social sciences or mathematics and related fields. If you have questions about your eligibility, email [email protected].
- Students enrolled in English, journalism, science journalism, or other non-technical fields are not eligible for the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship BUT these students may be eligible for the Minority Science Writers Internship.
- Applicants must be US citizens or already hold visas that allow them to receive payment for work during the summer. AAAS cannot assist in obtaining/retaining visas.
- Successful applicants are required to attend an orientation at AAAS headquarters at the beginning of the summer (early June) and a wrap-up session at the end of the summer (mid-August). They will prepare reports on the progress of their fellowships throughout their placement.
- The fellowship is open to international students who are already studying in the United States and who hold visas that allow them to receive payment for work during the summer. AAAS cannot assist in obtaining/retaining visas. The fellowship is also open to US citizens studying abroad as long as they can pay their way back into the US for the fellowship.
A complete application packet consists of:
- 1. Applicant information (contact information, academic history etc.)
- Two references with contact information is required from ALL applicants, BUT only semifinalists’ references will be contacted. For those semifinalists two “Recommendation Questionnaires” must be completed online by recommenders you identify. At least one of the two recommenders should be a faculty member who can comment on your academic work. A third is optional but encouraged. Recommendations from those that can comment on your science communication or writing are highly encouraged as well. The questions (each with a 200 word limit) on the Recommendation Questionnaire are:
- Describe your work with the applicant (research, academic, communication, etc.). Highlight the applicant’s contribution, role and accomplishments. This section is similar to what one would write in a standard letter of recommendation but should NOT be as extensive or as detailed.
- Describe why you think the fellowship is a good match for the candidate’s talents and interests. You may wish to highlight the applicant’s communication skills (written and/or verbal communication, ability to communicate with the public and diverse audiences), or characteristics such as intelligence, creativity, devotion to science communication, etc.
- Describe the applicant’s workplace skills (maturity, initiative, teamwork and affability, ability to take criticism and direction, dependability, and respect for others—especially supervisors).
- Describe any additional information the selection committee should take into account (hardships the applicant has overcome or any circumstances that you feel the selection committee should know about).
- Your CV (text entered into form, NOT an uploaded document).
- Candidate Questions: Responses to each of the 7 reflective questions found within the online application.
- Why are you, as a scientist or engineer, interested in participating in this program?
- What in your background has prepared you for this fellowship?
- How do you think the skills learned from the fellowship will impact your future career or academic plans?
- Have you had previous media-related experiences? Please provide details.
- Describe any activities, other than previous media experiences, you have undertaken that involved increasing public understanding of science and technology.
- What community outreach or educational activities have you participated in, science-related or otherwise?
- How did you find out about the program?
- General Writing Sample: Brief sample of your writing on any subject–science or non-science topic and directed toward a non-scientific audience, using language appropriate for the general public. DO NOT submit technical or journal articles. 1000 words entered into text box in application.
- Sample News Story: A 750 word ‘news’ story for the general public summarizing a science, mathematics or engineering journal paper from the past 6 months (published after July 2018) and describing what the study’s findings are, why they are important, and what the impact will be on the public. The original paper MUST BE PRIMARY LITERATURE (scientific paper published in a journal or presented at a scientific conference, NOT from a newspaper, magazine or other popular media). 750 words entered into text box in application.
- Upload source article: The journal article used to write your Sample News Story. This is the only item you will upload for the application.
*Transcripts are NOT requested for the initial application submission. Finalists will be asked to send official transcripts before moving to the final selection round.
Applicants are evaluated by a selection committee composed of experts in the sciences, education, and media. The committee makes recommendations to the AAAS staff, who are responsible for the final decisions and for negotiations between the candidates and the media hosts. Telephone or virtual interviews are conducted with semi-finalists sometime in March each year. Applicants should receive final notification of the status of their application by April 15th, but are encouraged to contact [email protected] at any time to check on the status of their applications.
Application Deadline: January 15, 2019Application ClosedOfficial link