OSA and MRS offer a congressional fellowship program providing members with an invaluable opportunity of public policy learning. Fellows contribute effective use of optical and materials science knowledge in government and broaden awareness of the value of scientist- and engineer-government interaction among our memberships, the federal government and the public.
The Fellow spends one year working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee. Activities may involve conducting legislative or oversight work, assisting in congressional hearings and debates and preparing briefs and writing speeches. The Fellow also attends an orientation program administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on congressional and executive branch operations, which includes guidance in the congressional placement process, and a year-long seminar series on science and public policy issues. The AAAS also administers many other aspects of the program for the OSA/MRS Fellow, as well as other Fellows sponsored by nearly two dozen other scientific societies.
A prospective Fellow must have a record of success in research or scholarship in a field relevant to optical science and technology and/or materials, familiarity with the discipline and a working understanding of the scientific communities. The Fellow must also demonstrate sensitivity toward policy issues and have a strong interest in applying scientific and technical knowledge to United States public policy issues. The Fellow must be able to work quickly and communicate effectively to both scientific and non-scientific audiences on a wide variety of topics and work cooperatively with individuals having diverse viewpoints. An applicant is expected to be a member of OSA or MRS (or an applicant for membership) and have a Ph.D. by the Fellowship's start date. US citizenship is not required; however, applicants must be authorized to work in the United States. Specifically excluded as selection criteria are age, sex, creed, race, ethnic background and partisan political affiliation.