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, Leadership through Policy and Governance 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.

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, most housing costs, and a small stipend will be covered by the fellowship (~$7,000).
  • Students will also participate in additional professional development activities throughout the summer.
  • An orientation for students will be held on April 8, 2019.
  • Program dates: May 20 to August 3, 2019


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 at the Gallery Apartment Complex, university housing located in Alexandria, one block from the Alexandria Center.

Application Deadline

Applications for the 2020 GCC Science Policy Fellowship will be due in late fall 2019. 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

Science Policy Fellowship Application will be posted here in late summer / early fall 2019.

To apply, undergraduate students should submit the following materials by the application deadline in late fall 2019:

  1. A completed application form. (Save the above PDF file to your Desktop before completing.)
  2. Two faculty recommendation letters. (Faculty should send letters directly to jcoker@vt.edu.)
  3. A one-page resume.
Email all materials by the deadline date to:

Jessica Zielske, 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/undergrad/wslg.

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

Dr. Bill Hopkins
Director, Global Change Center


2019 Science Policy Fellowship Award

  • Julia Simpson (Biology and Spanish)

2018 Science Policy Fellowship Award

  • James Maze (Water: Resources, Policy and Management)

2017 Science Policy Fellowship Awards

  • Kallie Peurifoy (Environmental Science)
  • Steven Hall (Mechanical Engineering)

2016 Science Policy Fellowship Awards

  • Lauren Buttling (Environmental Policy & Planning)
  • Austin Berrier (Engineering Science & Mechanics)

A Summer at EPA headquarters: Reflections from James Maze’s Science Policy Fellowship

“I learned a great deal from my Washington Semester experience.  It made me realize how much of an impact I can make through my career and how I can become a change-agent for society.”  -Steven

“I experienced a lot of personal growth in D.C., including the discovery of my true passions.  The biggest driver was the high-stakes atmosphere in our Nation’s Capital, which drastically elevated my desire to succeed.”   -Kallie

Browse photos in our Washington Semester gallery

Undergraduate Science Policy Fellowship Program