Since 1973, ASME has sponsored the Congressional Fellowship program to provide an opportunity for Society members to work with the U.S. Congress. As federal legislation becomes increasingly technical, the need for engineering expertise is essential. Congressional fellows participate directly in the lawmaking process and learn how the federal government operates. In addition, Congress is provided with the necessary engineering expertise and, at the end of the fellowship year, a fellow's employer has an engineer with in-depth knowledge of congressional decision-making processes.
Once chosen as a congressional fellow, an ASME member selects his or her congressional assignment through interviews with congressional offices, with assistance from the ASME government relations staff, and with reference to the issues identified in the Public Policy Agenda of ASME.
Recruitment and Training
Fellows may serve from January through December, or September through August, at their option. An ASME selection committee screens applications and will notify selected candidates of their interest in scheduling an interview in February or March. Interviews with final candidates will be scheduled in April. After the interviews, the selection committee may tentatively match finalists with available fellowship opportunities. Selected fellows will receive offers in late April or early May.
Fellows are required to attend a two-week orientation course in Washington, DC, in September. Administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the course provides useful training and a foundation for a fellow's network that serves as both a formal and informal resource for participants throughout the fellowship year.
Financial Support of Federal Government Fellows
ASME has a limited number of stipends of $80,000 per congressional/federal government fellow. Because the stipend is not intended to be the fellow's entire financial support, the remaining salary and other costs, including benefits, must be negotiated between the fellow and his or her employer. Society members selected for congressional fellowships typically take a one-year leave of absence from their employer.
Who Should Apply
All Fellowship Applicants must be:
- A U.S. citizen
- ASME member at the time of application.
The following credentials are encouraged:
- at least five years of professional experience;
- advanced engineering degree;
- professional engineer registration; and
- public policy experience.
- Sex, creed, race, ethnic background, and political affiliation are expressly excluded as selection criteria for fellows.
- The fellowship does not create an employer-employee relationship with the government nor with ASME.
- During the entire selection process, applicants shall only contact a prospective government host office with the knowledge and consent of the ASME program manager.
- Except for the congressional fellows, final selection of the federal government fellows is conditional upon consent of the host government office where the fellow will be working during the fellowship year and successful completion of any necessary agreements between the host office and ASME.
- The federal government fellow may receive a stipend of $80,000. The remaining salary, moving expenses, and all other costs (including fringe benefits) must be negotiated between the fellow and his or her current employer (if applicable).
- ASME's financial liability to the federal government fellow does not exceed the amount of any expenses approved by the ASME program manager. No person or entity shall have any claim against ASME for any other expenses, nor for the actions of the fellows.
- Federal government fellows shall be willing to make oral presentations and appearances at a reasonable number of ASME functions during their fellowship year. Travel expenses for such activities will be paid by ASME. Any travel must be approved in advance by the ASME program manager.
- Fellows are responsible for all out-of-pocket costs once they begin work in Washington; any costs they anticipate for which they wish ASME reimbursement must be approved by the ASME program manager
- Fellows must attend an orientation program in Washington, D.C., preceding the fellowship; his or her employer must be prepared to give the fellow this time off. The orientation program is paid by ASME.
- Fellows must submit monthly activity reports to the ASME program manager.
- Fellows must comply with ASME policy on conflict of interest. In addition, White House fellows must comply with executive branch policies regarding conflict of interest and financial disclosure.
- Fellows shall not discredit the integrity of the assistance rendered to the Congress, White House, or other government office by permitting improper influence by any organization nor by action that would suggest such influence. Fellows must not engage in any partisan political activities during the term of appointment, including campaign activities
- In the event of malfeasance on the part of a fellow, as determined by the ASME Board on Government Relations, the fellowship may be suspended immediately.
- After they have completed their term, fellows will be asked to serve as adjunct members of the ASME Board on Government Relations and encouraged to participate in the Society's public affairs activities.
- Federal Employee's may apply for an ASME Federal Government Fellowship
- ASME Federal Fellows are required to relocate to Washington D.C. for one year for their fellowship, and are responsible for researching members of Congress and finding their own fellowships, etc.