Science Policy Fellows Program

Dr. Marianne Alleyne and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), May 2015The Science Policy Fellows (SPF) program is a two-year active training program to teach entomologists the skills needed to successfully advocate for the discipline. The training focuses on federal policy in Washington, D.C. Each year five applications are selected by during a competitive application process. ESA SPFs engage in a variety of virtual and in-person educational events to teach them about how science policy and science funding decisions are made at the federal level, and to provide them an opportunity to engage with lawmakers, legislative staff, and federal agency leaders in Washington, D.C. Active training lasts for two years, at which time SPFs become alumni and form the core of ESA's advocacy team, representing the science in their legislative districts. 

Typical activities for an ESA Science Policy Fellow may include:

  • Attending science and policy workshops and networking events at ESA’s Annual Meeting (receive gratis registration and $500 travel stipend);
  • Participating in teleconferences and webinars on federal science policy and budget development, as well as specific policy issues;
  • Assisting in the development of policy statements;
  • Participating in Washington, D.C.-based meetings and events for hands-on experience with legislators, legislative staff, and agency leaders (all travel expenses covered by ESA).

Learn more about past and current SPF cohorts:

  • Class of 2021 (To be selected in summer 2021; active service through Nov. 4, 2023)
  • Class of 2020 (Selected in 2020; active service through Nov. 13, 2022)
  • Class of 2019 (Selected in 2019; active service through Oct. 30, 2021)
  • Class of 2018 (Selected in 2018; active service through Nov. 14, 2020)
  • Class of 2017 (Selected in 2017; active service through Nov. 16, 2019)
  • Class of 2016 (Selected in 2016; active service through Nov. 10, 2018)
  • Class of 2015 (Selected in 2015; active service through Nov. 4, 2017)
  • Class of 2014 (Selected in 2014; active service through Sept. 24, 2016)

Learn more about the application process

Alumni thoughts on the value of the SPF Program:

  • “Keeping science in front of our senators and representatives is critical for our government to make appropriate decisions.  Training as an ESA SPF was valuable and rewarding because we had practice and opportunities to do exactly that: influence government in a positive manner.” – Jeff Scott, Class of 2017
  • “The ESA SPF program added an entirely new skill set to what I can offer my colleagues and students. It is not a one-time experience, it is an experience that is now part of my mindset in all of the work that I do.” – Rayda Krell, Class of 2014
  • “Although the program focus is at the national level, being a Fellow has inspired me to pay more attention to local politics (and connect to my local representatives). Another benefit of the SPF program is the camaraderie inherent in being part of a cohort of like-minded entomologists in varying stages of their careers!” – John “Buck Banks, Class of 2018
  • “Participating in the ESA SPF program has enabled me to become more effective at communicating my research to a broad audience and provided me with first-hand experience in the process of federal science funding. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone with an interest in policy or scientific communication.” – Sheina Sim, Class of 2018
  • "The ESA SPF Program first showed me the wide range of opportunities that exist for careers in government, non-governmental organizations (NGO), and related organizations.  Being an ESA Fellow opened the door to these possibilities. In my case, the ESA SPF led to a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (STPF) that enabled me to work with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)." – Tom Anderson, Class of 2015