ESA Graduate Student Policy Award

View the new ESA Graduate Student Policy Award Alumni Network page here!

Team Mid-Atlantic in front of Capitol.jpgThe Ecological Society of America (ESA) invites applications for its Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA). Offered each year, this award gives graduate students hands-on science policy experience including interacting with congressional decision-makers, federal agency officials, and others engaged in science and public policy.

The GSPA is given to to three to five applicants. Winners participate in the annual Congressional Visits Day, a two-day event, most recently held April 9 - 10, 2014. ESA covers travel and lodging expenses associated with this event for GSPA recipients. Awardees also receive a copy of ESA’s policy guide and the opportunity to be interviewed for ESA’s podcast, The Ecologist Goes to Washington and blog.

ESA is co-organizer of Congressional Visits Day, sponsored by the Biological Ecological Sciences Coalition to promote federal investment in the biological sciences, particularly through the National Science Foundation. Participants receive communications training and learn about the federal budget and appropriations process and the political landscape. During the second day of the event, participants meet with congressional decision makers to discuss federal support of research and education in the biological sciences.


Applicants must be ESA members and United States citizens residing in the country. Past GSPA recipients are not eligible.

To Apply:

  1. A cover letter outlining your interest in science policy and relevant experience
  2. A one-page statement that reflects your insights and perspective on the importance of federal support of science and ecology in particular. Extra credit for examples of ecological success stories (i.e. where investment of federal dollars had a tangible return, particularly for your home state).
  3. A one-page resume

Registration for 2014 is closed. Please direct questions for calendar year 2015 to

To hear the insights of last year’s ESA GSPA winners, please visit the links below:

Lindsey Deel, West Virginia University

Carlos Silva, University of Maryland

Matthew Berg, Texas A&M University

 Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, Boston University

To view the full list of past recipients, click here.