APA Executive Branch Science Fellowship Program

APA will sponsor one fellow for a one-year appointment, beginning Sept. 1, 2018, to spend a year working as a special assistant in an executive branch research funding/coordinating office.

Sponsor: Science Directorate


APA Executive Branch Science Fellows spend one year working as special assistants in executive branch science mission agencies, most often in research funding and coordinating offices. Specific placement is determined based on the fellows’ expertise and interests in coordination with APA staff. Placement opportunities often include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice. Activities may involve soliciting research applications and running peer review panels, staffing intergovernmental scientific task forces and committees, producing scientific media materials, responding to congressional inquiries, working on agency budgets and programming, and preparing briefs and speeches.

APA fellows attend a two-week orientation program on congressional and executive branch operations as well as participate in a yearlong science and public policy seminar series administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS administers these professional development activities for the APA fellows and for fellows sponsored by more than two dozen other professional scientific societies.

APA will sponsor one fellow for a one-year appointment beginning Sept. 1, 2018. APA provides a fellowship stipend of approximately $80,000, as well as allotments for health insurance coverage, professional development, relocation expenses, and travel and lodging for the 2019 APA Annual Convention at which the fellow will present at the annual Convention Fellowship Symposium. Final selection of fellows will be made in early spring of 2018.

For questions contact Craig Fisher, PsyD, of the APA Science Directorate.


A prospective fellow should:

  • Demonstrate excellence in scientific psychology.
  • Understand the application of psychological knowledge to national research and policy issues.
  • Be able to work quickly and communicate effectively on a wide variety of topics and work cooperatively with individuals having diverse viewpoints.

An applicant must:

  • Have a doctorate in psychology (from an APA-accredited doctoral program) or related field.
  • Be a member of APA (or applicant for membership) and a U.S. citizen.

A minimum of two years postdoctoral experience is preferred. If you are a current predoctoral psychology intern, please have your dissertation advisor email Craig Fisher, PsyD, certifying that you have met all but the internship requirement for your doctoral degree by the application deadline.

Applicants may apply both to APA’s Congressional Fellowship and Executive Branch Science Fellowship, but they are administered by different offices and the application processes are different, thus they require separate applications. 

How to Apply

The application deadline is Jan. 5, 2018. A complete application must include the following:

  • A completed online application.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae providing information about educational background, professional employment and activities, professional publications and presentations, public policy and legislative experience, and committee and advisory group appointments.
  • A statement of approximately 1,000 words addressing your interest in the fellowship, contributions you believe you can make to the federal scientific research process, what you want to learn from the experience and how the fellowship fits within your overall career goals.
  • Three letters of reference specifically addressing your ability to serve successfully in the executive branch as a fellow should be sent to Craig Fisher, PsyD at the address below. Signed, hard-copy letters in sealed envelopes may be sent by the reference writers or by the applicant to the address listed below, and/or email versions of reference letters may be emailed by the reference writers directly from their email accounts. Mailed letters must be postmarked, and emailed letters received, by the application deadline. 

Application materials should be sent to:

Craig Fisher, PsyD  
Executive Branch Science Fellowship
Science Government Relations Office
American Psychological Association
750 First St. NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

For additional information, please contact Fellowship Director Craig Fisher, PsyD, at (202) 336-5762.

Past Recipients

Current Fellow

  • Amanda Dettmer, PhD
    Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
    Amanda Dettmer, PhD is a behavioral neuroscientist, primatologist, and psychologist with expertise studying early life environments that contribute to chronic stress and later cognitive and social development. Dettmer earned her BS in zoology from the University of Washington, Seattle, and her MS (2007) and PhD (2009) in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Most recently, she worked as a senior postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at NIH, where she led several research programs aimed at identifying the causes and consequences of long-term stress in nonhuman primate models of child development. Dettmer currently serves on APA's Coalition for Psychology in Schools in Education (Div. 6 representative), is executive secretary of the American Society of Primatologists, and a member of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Committee on Animals in Research, as well as an editor for the Speaking of Research news blog. Dettmer, an enthusiastic science communicator with school-aged children, also serves as the chair of the Governing Council of her local public charter Montessori school. 

Past Fellows

  • Christin Ogle, PhD
    Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice
  • Matthew Johnson, PhD
    Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice
  • Wendy Grolnick, PhD
    National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Barbara Oudekerk, PhD
    Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice
  • Drika Weller, PhD
    United States Agency for International Development
    National Science Foundation, Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
  • Abigail Haydon, PhD
    National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Sarah Johnson, PhD
    National Institutes of Health, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
  • Kimberly Montgomery, PhD
    National Science Foundation, Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
  • Erin Jonaitis, PhD
    National Science Foundation, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, & Economic Sciences