The Fellowship Experience

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“The fellowship year had a transformative impact on my career. There is simply no better way to deepen knowledge of public policy, member behavior, and legislative process than the hands-on, direct experience the Congressional Fellowship provides.”

Janna Deitz, 2011-2012 Congressional Fellow

  • “The APSA Congressional Fellowship Program is an unparalleled and unique way for political scientists to see how Congress really works, and to gain unique insights into the policy process they study as academics.”
  • “You learn things you don't expect to learn and you walk away with a new skill set and amazing contacts.”
  • “The APSA Congressional Fellowship Program was an amazing opportunity to learn about Congress. The balance between the orientation offered in the Fall and the on-job-experience offered an in-depth experience, which provided insight into the Congressional process that I don’t think is available elsewhere.”
  • “The fellowship is a fun, meaningful, and life-changing experience. I have a gained a new perspective on Congress and legislative politics that will forever improve my teaching and research.” “I had a front row seat to watch one of the Senate’s most effective leaders respond to the most pressing public health crises of our time – Flint water contamination, opioid epidemic, and the Zika crisis. What could be more amazing than that?!”
  • An exceptional experience that provided a window into the workings of a congressional office.”
  • “Participating in the APSA Congressional Fellowship was a rewarding experience that broadened my understanding of the legislative process. Working with legislative staff on a day-to-day basis has also identified ways to make my research on Congress more relevant to those who work within the institution and ways I can restructure course assignments to simulate the skills staff need to contribute in a meaningful way.”
  • This fellowship has changed my life and my career trajectory. I am more confident and able to inform politicians and stakeholders about health and aging policy. I understand even more clearly my responsibilities as an American citizen, and the opportunities afforded to me to participate in my government.”
  • This is something you will talk about for the rest of your life.
  • “As the most complex and professionalized legislature in the world, Congress can really only be understood from the inside. There is a maze of procedures, processes, and norms that would take a lifetime for someone to learn. This fellowship allows a peek, which is just enough time to ignite dozens of questions that can drive a research agenda for years.”
  • “A very transformative experience professionally and personally…This fellowship has redirected and reinforced my professional focus.”
  • The APSA congressional fellowship program provides the most comprehensive orientation of any fellowship program – allowing fellows to hit the ground running and make the most of their time on the Hill.”
  • “The APSA CFP orientation offered in November was incredibly useful for my placement….I also appreciated how many APSA CFP alumni we met.”
  • A fantastic array of speakers who offered useful insights on congressional work.”
  • The orientation was a major benefit, because fellows were immediately introduced to jargon on the Capitol, and the diverse presentations (public scholars and CRS trainings) provided excellent examples of how different perspectives view/utilize the same information.”
  • “The orientation is very informative and set the stage for the entire fellowship.”
  • “You spend a month…learning how federal policy works, networking, and securing a placement. What could be a better way to transition to or grow in the policy field?
  • An exceptional roster of DC insiders and experts. Even as someone who studies Congress, I learned something new every day, whether it was a different perspective on how the Hill works or actually being trained by the Congressional Research Service to work as a staffer.”


District Trip
  • “An opportunity not to be missed!”
  • “The district visit …was the most valuable experience of the fellowship with respect to improving my teaching.”
  • “I very much enjoyed my experience interacting with the district office staff and constituents. I think it was one of the best parts of the fellowship.”
Spring Seminar Series
  • “Always interesting and informative.”
  • “These conversations were a great way to spend a Friday afternoon after a busy week.”
Canadian Exchange
  • An unexpected highlight of the fellowship year. Learning about politics and governance in the Canadian context revealed stark comparisons with the American experience.”
  • “The Canadian exchange wasn’t just an opportunity to try poutine and play tourist. Rather, it was an opportunity to see – up close and personal – how different (yet how similar) our neighbors to the North are to us. … My knowledge of Canada and its parliamentary system increased close to 100 percent because of this program.
  • A true highlight of the fellowship experience. We were given a behind-the-scenes view of how a wholly different system of democratic government works. We met government ministers, [a] Supreme Court [Justice], an advisor to the Prime Minister, and prominent political journalists… and that was just 48 hours of the trip.”
  • This was an awesome experience all the way through. The Canadians were gracious hosts and we got to see nearly every corner of their government.”
Maryland Statehouse Visit
  • The history and traditions were awe inspiring; learning more about our first President on the spot where he resigned his commission was a highlight.”
  • “An interesting look at politics and governance on the state level.”
  • “Prior to this visit, I did not know much about Maryland’s political history and hadn’t given much thought to the work of state legislatures. The visit to Annapolis’ State House fixed that! The visit was very informative and I gained a new appreciation for legislation at the state level.”
Articles by Congressional Fellows about the Program

Symposium: Reflections on 65 Years of the APSA Congressional Fellowship Program

This symposium features a selection of articles from members of the 2015-2016 Congressional Fellowship class. Edited by Frances Lee (CFP 2002-2003), the symposium also features reflections by Bruce Oppenheimer (CFP 1974-1975) and Dan Stid (CFP 1995-1996) on the fellowship experience. Articles from 2015-2016 fellows Brian Alexander, Travis Johnston, Thomas Ringenberg, Lisa Hager, Mark E. Owens, Justin S. Brown, and Nicholas O. Howard span a range of topics on the workings of Congress and the impact of the Congressional Fellowship Program experience. Read the symposium here.

Recent PS Articles by CFP Alumni