Grace L. Ostenso Nutrition and Public Policy Fellowship

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (Foundation) is seeking a doctoral-prepared, RDN member of the Academy to serve as a fellow. The fellow will participate in a public policy opportunity titled the “Grace L. Ostenso Nutrition and Public Policy Fellowship” in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The fellowship begins on September 1, 2024 in Washington, DC.

This opportunity is a full-time, one-year fellowship role* supported by the Foundation’s Grace L. Ostenso Nutrition and Public Policy Fellowship Fund. Read more about Dr. Ostenso’s legacy here.

The fellow will be placed by AAAS and will work as a special assistant in a legislative area that will benefit from scientific input. While the fellow may lend expertise on food and nutrition-related issues, their work may be focused in another scientific area and direct work on food and nutrition-related policy is not guaranteed.

*The fellowship is subject to the Foundation securing funding.


Interested candidates should apply online by 3:00 pm CT on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Applications should include a CV, a tailored personal statement highlighting relevant experience and skills that make the candidate a good fit for the fellowship, and two letters of recommendation from individuals who have a professional relationship with the applicant (e.g., work supervisor, mentor, etc.).

Questions? Please visit the Foundation’s fellowship page to read the Frequently Asked Questions first. Further questions can be directed via email to Elisha Reichling, MS, RDN, LDN, Program Manager, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation at with the subject “Ostenso Fellowship.”


This fellowship is a joint opportunity between the Foundation, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) and AAAS. The fellowship permits the recipient to participate in the Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows Program (the Program), coordinated by AAAS, and spend one year working as a special assistant in a legislative area that will benefit from scientific and engineering input, serving on the staffs of Members of Congress or congressional committees.

The Program is a cooperative initiative of 30 scientific and engineering societies, each of which selects and supports highly skilled scientists and engineers for one-year fellowship awards. The fellowships provide the opportunity for accomplished individuals who have a commitment to applying their science in service to society to participate in and contribute to the policy making processes within the U.S. Congress while gaining first-hand experience of federal decision making, policy development, and implementation.

The Program provides an existing infrastructure for placement and year-long professional development of the Fellows, including orientation, monthly seminars, career-enhancement sessions, skill-building workshops, and networking events. The opportunity for our Fellows, the Academy, and the Foundation to be a part of this larger group not only benefits from AAAS’s more than 35 years of experience in public policy fellowships, but also enables the Academy and Foundation to interact with these other societies, sharing and supporting each other on issues of common concern.

The Congressional Fellowships are designed to provide a unique public policy learning experience, to demonstrate the value of science-government interaction, and to make practical contributions to the more effective use of scientific and technical knowledge in government. The overarching goals are to increase the capacity of scientists to inform the discussions and decisions of individuals and institutions that influence or determine policies and to provide scientific expertise and analysis to support decision-makers confronting increasingly complex scientific and technological issues.

This award is intended to encourage and support the development of public policy expertise within Academy membership by enabling individuals interested in this area to gain experience through direct participation in the public policy process at the federal level.

Details and Responsibilities

Fellows will work for one year on the staff of a Member of Congress or a congressional committee on topics relating generally to science or engineering. Fellows are free to choose their own placement and to work without direction, influence or an agenda from the Academy and the Foundation. AAAS administers the placement process for all congressional fellows. Congressional fellows are not to solicit potential placements before the end of their orientation. (The placement process start date varies depending on the orientation schedule, but usually begins in the third week of September.)

Along with providing required reports to AAAS, the fellow will also be expected to share learnings and expertise with the Academy, Foundation, and Academy membership, such as the following:

  • Quarterly reports
  • Webinars
  • Presentations
  • Final report with a summary of the fellowship experience and key learnings

Additional Position Details

  • The position is in Washington, DC. The Fellow will be required to be in person for this experience. Precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of all participants related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional details will be shared with finalists for the position.
  • This is a full-time position.

Fellow Criteria

Required criteria:

  • Must be a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Must have a PhD or an equivalent doctoral-level degree
  • Credentialed status as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist strongly preferred
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must not be a federal employee
  • Should be mid-career, with three or more years’ experience in the field

Additional requirements:

  • Must be committed to operate as a “free agent,” without any agenda provided by their employer or sponsoring organization, and must endeavor to avoid both real and perceived conflicts of interest. Please see more on AAAS’s ethics policy here.
  • Must be sensitive to possible conflict of interest concerns and should not be active on any policy committees or be actively participating in lobbying activities.
  • Must be willing and able to make a one-year commitment, if selected, to complete the AAAS program as a Fellow from September 1, 2024 to August 31, 2025.

Fellows must demonstrate:

  • Exceptional competence in the field of nutrition and his/her related field
  • Interest in public policy, such as previously completed academic coursework
  • Solid scientific and technical credentials
  • The endorsement of two or more qualified references
  • A strong interest in applying their knowledge to the solution of societal challenges
  • Awareness of the ways in which science, engineering and technology affect a range of non-scientific issues, and sensitivity to political, economic and social factors
  • Willingness and flexibility to collaborate across sectors and disciplines to tackle problems beyond the scope of their specific area(s) of scientific or engineering expertise
  • Integrity and good judgment
  • The ability to communicate well, both verbally and in writing, to non-scientific audiences
  • The capacity to work effectively with decision makers and others outside the scientific and engineering communities
  • Maturity and self-direction, with the initiative and flexibility to work well independently as well as in groups

Additional Fellow Requirements

  • Willingness to travel as needed, such as to Academy conferences (costs covered by the Foundation).
  • Willingness to participate fully in the expectations of the Academy and Foundation, including project reports and professional presentations.
  • Availability and commitment to the full-time position beginning September 1, 2024 for one year.

Fellowship Award

The Foundation will provide funding support for the fellowship as four, quarterly payments as follows:

  • $104,104 Fellowship Stipend, which includes:
    • $8,400 allowance for health insurance
    • $2,150 allowance for professional development

The fund does not provide for living or relocation expenses. Additional benefits (retirement, etc.) are not available for this fellowship.

Apply Here