APA Executive Branch Science Fellowship

APA will sponsor one fellow for a one-year appointment, beginning Sept. 1, 2019, 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, 2019. 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 2019.

For questions contact Craig D. 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 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 D. 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

All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 PM on Jan. 6, 2019. A complete application must include the following:

  • A completed online application. Submitting the application will require uploading and submitting the following materials electronically:
  • 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 recommendation that specifically address your ability to serve successfully in the executive branch as a fellow. Each of the three recommenders must upload their letters by the application deadline. Applicants are responsible for providing this link to each of their recommenders.

For more information about the fellowship, please contact:

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

Past Recipients

Current Fellow

  • Laura Van Berkel, PhD
    National Science Foundation, Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
    Laura Van Berkel, PhD, is a social psychologist with expertise in political psychology and social cognition, particularly on issues of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. She holds a PhD and Master's in social psychology from the University of Kansas, and a Bachelor's in psychology from Saint Louis University. Most recently, Van Berkel was a postdoctoral researcher at the Social Cognition Center Cologne at the University of Cologne in Germany. Her graduate and postdoctoral research focused on understanding basic cognitive processes that shape political attitudes and policy preferences. Her research has been featured in national media outlets, and she has presented her work to policymakers and political advocacy groups. She values interdisciplinary collaboration, mixed-methods research and teaching through service learning. Van Berkel’s policy interests include diversity and inclusion in science, and framing effects/strategies in science and policy communication.

Past Fellows

  • Christin Ogle, 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