Increasing public understanding of science and technology is a principal goal of AAAS, so it only makes sense that it recognizes the need for scientists who are well versed in communicating complex ideas to a general audience. Enter the AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows program, which has thrived in this endeavor for 44 years.
This highly competitive program strengthens the connections between scientists and journalists by placing advanced undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level scientists, engineers and mathematicians at media organizations nationwide. Fellows have worked as reporters, editors, researchers, and production assistants at such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Scientific American. Recently the program has made an effort to reach regional news outlets in order to engage a more divers and broad population. Last year these efforts were highly successful and the applicants placed at sites like the Dallas Morning News, Idaho Statesman, and Indianapolis Star, had some of the most meaningful and impactful experiences. The Mass Media Fellows use their academic training in the sciences as they research, write and report today's headlines, sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to non-specialists. Participants come in knowing the importance of translating their work for the public, but they leave with the tools and the know-how to accomplish this important goal.
For 10 weeks during the summer, the AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows collaborate with media professionals at radio and television stations, newspapers, and magazines. As part of their job, the student-scientists and their host-journalists strive to make science news easy for the public to understand. The fellowship program is designed to enhance coverage of science-related issues in the media in order to improve public understanding and appreciation of science and technology. Fellows have the opportunity to observe and participate in the process by which events and ideas become news, improve their communication skills by learning to describe complex technical subjects in a manner understandable to the lay public, and increase their understanding of editorial decision making and the way in which information is effectively disseminated. In its 44-year history, the program has supported over 750 Fellows.
AAAS typically selects from 15-20 Mass Media Fellows each summer. Fellows are provided a weekly stipend of $500 as well as travel expenses to and from AAAS and their sites. AAAS does not provide housing or an additional housing stipend.
June 6, 2018 – August 21, 2018
Orientation in DC: June 6-8
Dates onsite: June 11 - August 17
Wrap-up in DC: August 20-21
The best way to keep up with fellowship dates and news is to follow us on Twitter @AAASMassMedia.