Thomas Miller, Jefferson Science Fellow, at U.S. State Department

Thomas Miller, University of California, Riverside, is the first entomologist to be selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow. Fellows spend one year at the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for an on-site assignment in Washington, D.C. that may also involve extended stays at U.S. foreign embassies and/or missions.

It has been a tradition for JSFers to have a picture taken with the Secretary of State to underscore the high value given this program, started in 2004 with five Fellows. This year there were 12. Ten Fellows were stationed at the Department of State and two were housed at US-AID.

Jefferson Science Fellows are on contract for five years, the first of which is in residence. Their campuses sign an agreement with the science advisors office at the Department of State that allows leave of absence for one year at full salary, and they are given a stipend of $50,000 tax free for living expenses in the DC area. They are also given a five-year budget of $10,000 for travel from the National Academy of Sciences.

Tenured academic scientists and engineers from U.S. institutions of higher learning are eligible for selection to be Jefferson Science Fellows. Competition for these Fellowships is fierce. Interviews are held every March after an application process the previous fall. For more information on Jefferson Science Fellowships, including application information,  click here.

All JSF assignments are designed in consultation with regional and/or functional bureaus within the U.S. Department of State/USAID. While in general JSF assignments involve providing up-to-date expertise in the rapidly advancing STE arenas that routinely impact the policy decisions encountered by the U.S. Department of State/USAID, each Fellow is also expected to become conversant with the functional operation of the U.S. Department of State/USAID. In doing so, the JSF program complements and enhances the existing efforts by both the continuing employees within the U.S. Department of State/USAID and other temporary fellows supported by non-governmental organizations who address STE issues. Following the fellowship year, the Jefferson Science Fellow will return to his/her academic career, but will remain available to the U.S. Department of State/USAID for short-term projects over the following five years.