Student Science Policy Award

Former ASM-AIBS Graduate Student Public Policy Internship Committee (ad hoc)

About the Committee


Mariah Schlis-Elias (


  • Joseph A. Cook
  • Alicia V. Linzey
  • Alicia Shenko
  • Sarah Smiley


Ex oficio

  • Jyotsna Pandey

History and Mission

The American Society of Mammalogists has a long-standing commitment to providing legislators and public policy officials with the best available science.  We are committed to communicating the results of our research to a broad audience and engaging the public in the process of scientific inquiry through increased understanding.  In the spirit of creating a scientifically informed society, we offer this award to graduate students as an opportunity to further their professional development and increase their skills in communicating science.  Please see the Grants & Awards section of our committee page for information on how to apply for this award as well as application deadlines.   

Established as an internship program in 2005, the nature of this award has shifted over the years.  However, ASM remains committed to providing graduate students experience in the realm of science public policy.  We are grateful that the American Institute of Biological Sciences has been a continuous partner and host to student award recipients. 

Statements from former ASM Student Science Policy Awardees and Interns 

"What a transformative experience! Participation in Congressional Visit Days and in the Student Policy Award has solidified my desire to follow a career in science policy. The visit was essential for me to understand job opportunities and the roles of scientists in the policy field.  Each congressional meeting was purposeful and instructional, and we had a few lively debates on the merits of science funding. This award has been instrumental for my career and has provided me with knowledge on how science and policy work together. I am very grateful to ASM and to AIBS for this unique and influential experience."  -Margot A. Wood (2015 award recipient)

"I am passionate about effectively engaging the many people who will shape the future of research, policy and society -- from students to lawmakers. Basic research in the biological sciences plays such a vital yet often unappreciated role in technical innovation, economic and national security, health, ecosystem services, and more areas than I could easily name. My experiences with the American Institute of Biological Sciences helped shape my perspective on science communication. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many dedicated scientists and science advocates while on Capitol Hill, and my time there reinforced my own commitment to effectively communicating science." -Eve McCulloch (2012 award recipient)

“Few opportunities in my graduate career provided the valuable networking and professional development that I received while I was an ASM fellow with AIBS.  From federal agencies to our nation’s lawmakers, I met and worked with people who I have maintained lasting connections with since my time in Washington, D.C.  Most importantly, this opportunity gave me direction for my career path, which has since focused on science communication, research and education.  I encourage my students to be engaged, passionate, educated, and critical thinking citizens because I know how valuable those skills are to see real change happen in this country.” -Natalie Dawson (2006 award recipient)

Grants & Awards

Application Process and Requirements

The American Society of Mammalogists is pleased to announce that its committee is accepting applications for the 2024 ASM Student Science Policy Award. This award is offered in collaboration with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). The award enables graduate students with an interest in both science policy and mammalogy to participate in AIBS Congressional Visits Day with travel expenses paid. Congressional Visits Day will be  held in Washington, D.C. in mid-April 2024. During the event, awardees will receive policy and communication training to prepare for meetings with congressional policymakers and federal agency scientists concerning research and budget priorities. A full day will be spent on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the importance of federal investment in the biological sciences.

Recipients of this award will receive a sponsored trip to Washington, D.C. including domestic airfare and hotel accommodations, a one-year online subscription to the journal BioScience, and online policy and communications training. They also will receive an award certificate upon completion of the public policy leadership training and recognition during the annual members meeting of ASM.

All graduate students who are members of the American Society of Mammalogists are encouraged to apply. You must obtain membership prior to submission of your application to be considered. Student online-only membership is available for $25 (

To apply: See below or our website ( for application details. Send a cover letter, one-page policy statement, resume, and one letter of reference to no later than 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Friday, February 2nd , 2024.  The subject line of the email must include “ASM Student Science Policy Award” and the applicant’s name (e.g. ASM Student Science Policy Award – J. Smith). All documents should be included in a single PDF document with the format Applicantfirstname_Lastname_Application.pdf
(e.g. Jane_Smith_Application.pdf). Letters of reference emailed separately from the application will be accepted provided they use the same subject line and clearly identify the applicant.

  • Cover Letter: Describe your interest in science policy and how this experience will further your career goals. Confirm your ability to commit to travel to Washington D.C. in mid-April 2024 to participate in the event.
  • One-page Statement: In 500 words or less, articulate the importance of federal support of research in the biological sciences, particularly mammalogy. A successful statement will communicate the significance of such research to a non-scientist audience, drawing upon the applicant’s experiences and research. The statement can also reference local issues that may be of interest to your Congressional delegation.
  • Resume (two-page limit): The resume should emphasize leadership, policy experience, and communication experience. This may include graduate, undergraduate, or non-academic activities, relevant education, work experience,honors and awards, and membership in scientific societies. Conference presentations and scientific manuscripts should be included if they are relevant to the science-policy interface.
  • Letter of Reference: A reference letter should be provided by a college or university faculty mentor who can attest to your program of study, leadership, personal motivation, and interpersonal communication skills. Ideally, the letter writer would be someone familiar with your interest in or experience with science policy.

Applicants will be notified in late February 2024 of the decision of the ASM selection committee. Please direct questions to:


ASM-AIBS Graduate Student Public Policy Interns

  • 2005—Judsen BruzgulStanford University
  • 2006—Natalie Dawson, University of New Mexico
  • 2007—Joshua SmithSouth Dakota State University
  • 2008—Sarah Smiley, University of South Florida
  • 2011—James Moree, University of Georgia
  • 2012—Eve McCullochLouisiana State University

ASM Graduate Student Science Policy Leadership Award Recipients

  • 2014—Melanie SturmArizona State University
  • 2014—Kathryn Preston, North Dakota State University
  • 2014—Cybil “Nikki” Cavalieri, Michigan State University

ASM Student Science Policy Award Recipients

  • 2015—Catherine FoleyStony Brook University
  • 2015—Margot WoodTexas A&M University
  • 2016—Elizabeth Flesch, Montana State University
  • 2016—Alexis Mychajliw, Stanford University
  • 2017Giorgia Auteri, University of Michigan
  • 2017—Jessica Gilbert, Texas A&M University
  • 2018—Dana GreenNorthern Arizona University
  • 2018—Mariah Schlis-EliasAustin Peay State University
  • 2019—Rhiannon Jakopak, University of Wyoming
  • 2019—Kelsey Stoneberg, Bowling Green State University


  • 2020—Antonia Androski, University of New Mexico
  • 2020—Barbara Sugarman, Sul Ross State University
  • 2021—Award not offered (COVID)
  • 2022—Conner Philson, University of California Los Angeles
  • 2022—Matt Lacey, University of Vermont
  • 2023—Hannah WilsonUniversity of Regina
  • 2024—Anna Willoughby, University of Georgia
  • 2024—Gabriel Gadsden, Yale University