Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship Program

Funding Agency:
Optical Society

OSA and SPIE offer a congressional fellowship program providing members with an invaluable opportunity of public policy learning. Fellows gain a perspective that enhances their industrial, academic or government careers and the optics community's ability to more effectively communicate with Congress. The Fellowship is an ideal way to spend an academic sabbatical or leave of absence from a company.

The Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow works in the office of a US Senator or Representative or with a congressional committee to get first-hand knowledge of congressional operations, contribute to the policymaking process, and forge links among the engineering, scientific, and public policy communities.

Deadline: Jan. 3, 2020

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Fellows are evaluated on the basis of technical competence, responsible work experience, ability to serve in a public environment and evidence of service to OSA, SPIE and the profession. Prospective Fellows must have a PhD or equivalent doctoral level degree by program orientation (September 1, 2019); significant familiarity with optical engineering or science disciplines; a working understanding of the optical engineering and science communities; and demonstrated interest in the United States public policy process. Although prior experience in public policy is not necessary, a demonstrable interest in applying science and engineering to the solution of United States policy issues is required. Federal employees are not eligible. US citizenship is not required; however, applicants must be authorized to work in the United States. Applicants should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills and possess the flexibility to tackle a variety of work. Specifically excluded as selection criteria are age, sex, creed, race, ethnic background, and partisan political affiliation.



Amount Description

Fellowships are normally for one year, running September through August. The 2019-2020 Guenther Fellow will join more than two dozen other scientists and engineers in early September 2019 for an intensive orientation program on the legislative and executive branches. This program is organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which also provides educational and collegial programs for the Fellow throughout the year. Following interviews on the Hill, Fellows choose a congressional office - personal or committee staff - where they wish to serve. Fellows are expected to handle varied assignments, both technical and non-technical.

A stipend of $75,000 is provided by OSA and SPIE, and additional support from other sources, such as a present employer, is permitted. The Societies also provide an allowance for health insurance, travel, and relocation expenses to the Washington, D.C. area. Final selection of the Fellow will be made in early 2019 after personal interviews are conducted.

Funding Type



Post Doctoral Fellows


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Social Sciences

External Deadline

January 3, 2020