Over the past 40 years, AAAS S&T Policy Fellows have gone on to top leadership posts in U.S. science policy. In a new video, several alumni discuss the program’s global impact.
In the early 1970s, science-related issues emerged at the center of public debate and at the top of the U.S. political agenda: water and air pollution, energy and nuclear power, the future of the space program. And yet leaders in the U.S. science community, including some at AAAS, realized that Congress and other policy agencies lacked the scientific expertise that would be essential in addressing these issues.
To fill the need, they established the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, and in 1973, seven select scientists and engineers—the first class of Fellows—were dispatched to congressional offices. Over the next four decades, each new year brought a new and bigger class of Fellows. As the years have passed, alumni have risen to high-impact positions in Congress, the White House, the State Department, federal agencies, research universities, and non-governmental organizations.