Fellowships at the AVMA: FAQ

Eligibility and Application

Q. What is the difference between a letter of intent and a personal statement?
A. A letter of intent is the equivalent of a cover letter; it explains the reasons for your interest in the AVMA Fellowship Program. A personal statement is your opportunity to sell yourself and can include (but is not limited to) information such as why you are the best person for the job; events and experience from your education/career that make you especially suited to the Fellowship; relevant skills/knowledge; the unique contribution you can make to the Fellowship program; and your career goals.

Q. What are some of the competency requirements?

A. Applicants should:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of all aspects of veterinary medicine
  • Have an interest in public policy and/or politics
  • Have an ability to apply scientific knowledge to address societal and public policy issues
  • Possess strong persuasive writing skills
  • Be able to identify and articulate core scientific issues to a variety of audiences
  • Possess strong verbal communications skills
  • Possess robust interpersonal skills

Q. Should letters of recommendation and the letter of support be sent along with all other application materials?
A. These may be sent separately to the Fellowship office or they can be sent along with the other application materials.

Stipend and other Benefits

Q. How much is the annual stipend?
A. The annual stipend for the 2013-2014 Fellowship year is approximately $77,000, paid in 12 monthly installments.

Q. Does the fellowship program pay health insurance?
A. AVMA will reimburse each Fellow up to $6,000 for individual health insurance premiums paid during the Fellowship year. Proof of payment is required.

Q. What other benefits are there besides the stipend and health insurance reimbursement?

A. Fellows are also eligible to receive:

  • up to $3,000 reimbursement for moving expenses to assist with the move to Washington, D.C.
  • up to $1,000 allowance for travel related to the Fellowship
  • AVMA Annual Convention registration, travel, housing, and other related expenses

Selection Process

Q. How are Fellows selected?
A. A 3-member selection committee ranks applicants on specific criteria covering a range of topics.

Q. Who are the members of the selection committee?
A. Each year a new 3-member selection committee is convened. The committee consists of the following:

  • An Executive Board member (who serves as the selection committee chair) is appointed by the AVMA Executive Board Chairman
  • A senior level AVMA staff member, appointed by the Executive Vice President
  • A former AVMA Fellow, appointed by the Director of the Governmental Relations Division

Q. How long is the selection process?
A. The selection process is conducted in 3 phases that occur between February and April.

  • Phase 1: Selection Committee reviews applicant's application materials and selects individuals to move to Phase 2.
  • Phase 2: Participants are given a case study that must be completed over two days. Selection Committee reviews and selects candidates for Phase 3.
  • Phase 3: In-person interview with the Selection Committee at the GRD offices in Washington, DC.

Q. Can the selection committee members be contacted prior to selection?
A. To protect the integrity of the selection process, selection committee members may not be contacted until after the selection process is complete.

Q. When are fellows announced and notified?
A. Applicants participating in the final phase of the selection process will be notified of the selection committee's decision on the Monday following the face-to-face interviews. A formal announcement is made only after the selected applicants confirm acceptance of the Fellowship offer.

Placement and Assignment

Q. Who decides in which offices the Fellows will work?
A. Placement assistance is provided as part of the orientation program administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which is the sponsoring organization under which the AVMA conducts its Fellowship program. Fellows set up their own interviews with Members of Congress or their staff for Fellowship positions in Member offices or Committee Offices.

Q. Is the Fellowship a lobbying position?
A. AVMA Fellows are not lobbyists and are not AVMA employees. Fellows serve at the discretion of the office in which they are placed, and are expected to support the activities of that office. AVMA lobbyists are not allowed to lobby AVMA Fellows. However, AVMA lobbyists are allowed to respond to Fellow inquiries.

Q. What are the typical work hours for a Fellow?
A. Fellows' schedules are determined by the office in which they work. Congressional work days are impacted significantly by the legislative calendar, and 12-hour days and weekend work are not uncommon.