Civil engineering professor selected for AAAS fellowship

Writer: Darrell J. Pehr

Civil engineering professor selected for AAAS fellowship J. Phillip King, associate professor of civil engineering, has received an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellowship in Science and Technology Policy. He will be working as an AAAS Energy, Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Fellow for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.

Phil King

J. Phillip King, professor of civil engineering at NMSU, poses above a flood control gate at the Mesilla Dam. King has received an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellowship in Science and Technology Policy. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

King is among 190 doctoral-level scientists and master’s- and doctoral-level engineers who will spend a year working in federal agencies or congressional offices. The Fellows learn about science policy while providing valuable science and technology expertise to the government. The fellowship began Sept. 1 with a two-week orientation in Washington, D.C.

“With the new presidential administration emphasizing evidence-based policymaking and a call to service, we received a record number of applications for the 2009-2010 fellowship year,” said Cynthia Robinson, director of the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships. “This class of nearly 200 Fellows, a jump of almost 20 percent, is the largest cohort in the program’s 36-year history.”

Funded by science societies and government agencies, the Fellows complete their year-long fellowship in congressional offices or federal departments such as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense.

“Host offices gain scientific and technical expertise and analytical capabilities to inform policy, as well as talented individuals with energy, drive and fresh perspective,” Robinson said. “Fellows gain the opportunity to learn first-hand how policy is deliberated, developed, regulated, evaluated and to understand how science may be applied in the policy realm to make a difference at local, national and international levels.”

Fellows represent a spectrum of fields in the sciences and engineering. Fellows in the 2009-2010 class list climate change, renewable energy, food security, sustainable development, health and disease, and science education among their policy interests. Robinson noted that more than 60 incoming Fellows will be working on energy, environment, agriculture and natural resources issues.

Since the program began in 1973, nearly 2,200 Fellows have worked in Congress and executive branch agencies and departments. After the fellowship, some Fellows return to academia. Others stay in policy and go to work at government agencies or enter careers in non-profit and private sectors.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science ( and Science Signaling.

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