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VU STEM Policy Seminar in D.C.



Application Deadline for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows: August 21

Application Deadline for undergraduates: September 7th

This two-day event will provide Vanderbilt University students and postdoctoral fellows in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), including Social Sciences, an opportunity to learn how federal STEM policy is made and the role of advocacy by various stakeholders in achieving policy goals. Participants will hear from officials – including some Vanderbilt alumni – who work in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government as well as scientific societies, associations, and coalitions who are actively engaged in influencing and promoting federal investments in science and engineering.

For STEM students and postdocs thinking about careers in public policy, this behind the scenes look will provide insights to potential career opportunities.

This event is hosted by the Vanderbilt University Office of Federal Relations and will take place in Washington, D.C., on October 18-19, 2018. Up to 30 graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows will be selected through a competitive application process.

Airfare, hotel accommodations, and some meals will be fully sponsored for graduate students and postdocs. Details about eligibility, application, selection, and sponsorship can be found below. Questions about the program may be directed to the contact person listed on the application.

See the MyVU articles below for more information on past seminars:


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Vanderbilt University Office of Federal Relations
American Psychological Association Building
750 First Street, NE
9th Floor Conference Room
Washington, D.C. 20002

9:00 AM Welcome and Introductions
9:30 AM Introduction to U.S. Science & Technology Policy
10:30 AM Break
10:45 AM Introduction to the Federal Budget Process & Federal R&D Budgets
12:00 PM Lunch
12:30 PM An Election Preview
2:00 PM The Administration's View
3:15 PM - 3:45 PM Walk to Capitol for photo and Hill panel
4:00 PM Capitol Hill Careers
5:00 PM  Conclude

Friday, October 19, 2018

Hall of States office building
444 North Capitol Street, NW
Room #233/235 (Second Floor)
Washington, D.C. 20001

8:15 AM Arrive at Hall of States
8:30 AM Case Study: Mock FY19 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations conference committee
10:15 AM Break
10:30 AM Science & Technology Fellowship Programs/Internship Roundtable
11:30 AM Lunch (on your own)
12:30 PM Federal Careers in Science Policy
1:30 PM Advocacy through Professional Societies
2:30 PM Reflections & Conclusions
2:45 PM Return to airport



  1. Applicants must be current Vanderbilt University undergraduates, PhD or MS/MA students, or postdoctoral fellows in the disciplines of Science, quantitative Social Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
  • Undergraduates must be sophomores, juniors or seniors.
  • MS students must be in a terminal Master's program granted by the Graduate School and have completed one full year of graduate work at VU by the time of application.
  • Biomedical PhD students who entered graduate school through the IGP, QCB, CPB, or IMSD must have passed their qualifying exams and be admitted to candidacy before the application deadline of August 21 at midnight.
  • Postdoctoral fellows may be affiliated with either Vanderbilt University Medical Center or Vanderbilt University.

     2. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship or dual citizenship between the US and another country.

    3.  Applicants must be able to attend the full workshop in Washington, D.C., on October 18-19, 2018; this will require 
         departure from Nashville on October 17.


The application deadline for Federal STEM Policy & Advocacy: An Inside the Beltway Look is August 21 for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and September 7 for undergraduates.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will apply online at and submit the following:

  • A CV or resume highlighting academic accomplishments, leadership and service, and other experiences relevant to this event.
  • A letter of interest (300-400 words) describing your interest in the role of science in policy-making and advocacy, and what you hope to gain from such an experience.
  • A brief description (300-400 words) of your graduate or postdoctoral research, as you would describe it to a general audience; for example, if you were going to describe it to your grandmother or a lawmaker.

Undergraduates can apply beginning August 1 via Doreways ( Job ID: 63226 ) and submit a resume and one-page cover letter addressing the following:

  • Describe your interest in the role of science in policy-making and advocacy.
  • How do you think this experience will be beneficial to you?
  • What do you hope to gain from such an experience?


Successful applicants will have:

  • Solid academic credentials,
  • Excellent communication skills, and
  • Strong interest in applying their knowledge toward STEM advocacy or a career relating to STEM policy


Federal STEM Policy & Advocacy: An Inside the Beltway Look is hosted by the Vanderbilt University Office of Federal Relations and there is no registration fee to attend.

Coach class airfare, shared hotel accommodations*, and some meals will be provided for graduate student and postdoctoral applicants who are selected to attend. Shared hotel accommodations will be in a standard double room with two queen beds (two same-sex attendees per room). Undergraduate attendees must secure their own travel and lodging arrangements and are financially responsible for all costs associated with the event. Some financial assistance may be available for students who demonstrate need.  Details about sponsorship of graduate and postdoctoral travel can be found on the application site.


If you have questions about the program, please contact:
Cathy Weisbrodt at (undergraduates)
Kim Petrie at (biomedical sciences PhD students and postdoctoral fellows)
Ruth Schemmer at (non-biomedical PhD/MS/MA and non-biomedical postdoctoral fellows)