Undergraduate Science Policy Fellowship Program

The Global Change Center (GCC) offers competitive fellowships to undergraduate students to cover the cost of tuition (in-state, 6 credits), housing and fees to attend the Washington Semester Program during summer semester. This program offers a unique 11-week immersion into work experience within the nation’s capital. Students work on challenging science policy issues that shape communities locally and nationally while obtaining academic credit.

The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Virginia Tech offers the Washington Semester program to all undergraduate students, regardless of major, who have earned a minimum of 60 credits (Junior or Senior status) and are in good academic standing. The GCC Science Policy Fellowship is designed to support a unique track for science and engineering majors who are specifically interested in the science-policy interface.


Virginia Tech’s 2016 class of Washington Semester students visits Capitol Hill

Program Overview

  • All fellowship recipients in the Science-Policy Track of the Washington Semester program will be placed in an internship within a public, private, or non-profit organization for a minimum of 30 hours per week. Examples of placement agencies in the nation’s capital include USFWS, USAID, USEPA, and USDA. Placements are based on each student’s interests and professional goals.
  • Students will enroll for 6 credits in SPIA 4964 – Field Study.
  • In-state tuition, fees, and most housing costs will be covered by the fellowship (~$5,000).
  • Students will also participate in additional professional development activities throughout the summer.
  • Program dates: May 22 to August 5, 2017


The Washington Semester Program is located in Old Town Alexandria, VA at the Alexandria Center of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The building has classroom and computer facilities and is convenient to the King Street Metro. Students receiving a Science-Policy Fellowship from the Global Change Center are required to live in housing provided by the program at the Gallery Apartment Complex.


Download the flyer

Application Deadline

GCC Science-Policy Fellowship applications are due December 10, 2016. Science and engineering students applying for a GCC Fellowship do not need to apply to the School of Public & International Affairs (SPIA) separately. Your application will be forwarded to SPIA.

Application Procedure

To apply, undergraduate students should submit the following materials by December 10, 2016.

  1. A completed application form. (Save the PDF file to your Desktop before completing.)
  2. Two faculty recommendation letters. (Send letters directly to schoeng@vt.edu.)
  3. A one-page resume.

Download Application

Email all materials by December 10th to:

Gloria Schoenholtz, GCC Program Coordinator
Phone: 540-231-5400

Additional Information

For additional information about the SPIA Washington Semester, please visit their website at www.spia.vt.edu/ws.

For further questions about the GCC fellowship program, please contact:

Dr. Bill Hopkins
Director, Global Change Center



During Summer Semester 2016, two undergraduate students participated in the GCC Science Policy Fellowship Program. Based on their interests, both students were placed at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lauren Buttling is a rising junior majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning at Virginia Tech. Her goal is to pursue a Masters degree and then a career in environmental health.

Austin Berrier is a rising senior majoring in Engineering Science & Mechanics. He plans to attend law school and eventually work in the field of international human rights law.