AVMA fellowships: FAQ

Eligibility and application

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

A: All AVMA member veterinarians are eligible to apply.

Q: What are the qualifications?

A: Fellows must meet these criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be an AVMA member.*
  • Have an interest in public policy and/or politics, and in applying scientific knowledge to address societal and public policy issues.
  • Possess strong persuasive writing skills, and be able to identify and articulate core scientific issues to a variety of audiences.
  • Have strong interpersonal skills.
  • Want to network with leaders in the nation's political hub as well as stakeholder groups.
  • Abide by the AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows Ethics Policy​ as well as the House or Senate ethics policies pertaining to their fellowship placement.

*If selected as an AVMA fellow, you will be required to resign from any AVMA or constituent organization legislative bodies, councils, committees, task forces, or any AVMA or constituent offices.

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 meet these criteria:

  • Be an advocate for veterinary medicine
  • Have an interest in public policy and/or politics
  • Exhibit an interest in applying scientific knowledge to address societal/public policy issues
  • Be able to analyze, identify, and easily explain core scientific issues to a variety of audiences
  • Be an AVMA member and U.S. citizen
  • Be able to pass a government background investigation

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. The letters of recommendation and the letter of support must be submitted in an envelope sealed by the writer. Letters may also be submitted via email. Emailed letters must be sent directly from the writers.

Stipend and other benefits

Q: How much is the annual stipend?

A: The annual stipend for the 2024-2025 fellowship year is approximately $93,972, 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 the following:

  • Up to $3,000 reimbursement for moving expenses for relocation to Washington, D.C.
  • Up to $1,000 allowance for travel related to the fellowship

Selection process

Q: How are fellows selected?

A: A three-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 selection committee is convened. The committee consists of the following:

  • A member of the AVMA Board of Directors (who serves as the selection committee chair), appointed by the Board of Directors chair
  • A senior-level AVMA staff member, appointed by the AVMA executive vice president
  • A former AVMA fellow, appointed by the director of the Government Relations Division

Q: How long is the selection process?

A: The selection process is conducted in three phases between February and April.

  • Phase 1: The selection committee reviews 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. The selection committee reviews and selects candidates for Phase 3.
  • Phase 3: In-person interviews are held with the selection committee, typically at the AVMA offices in Washington, D.C.

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)​, the sponsoring organization under which the AVMA conducts fellowships. 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 fellows' 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.