The Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering & Science Fellowship

The COVES Fellowship program, which began in 2020, aims to strengthen ties between the scientific community and state government in the Commonwealth of Virginia, while encouraging and equipping more scientists and engineers to be effective advisors for public policy in the state of Virginia.

The COVES Fellowship Experience

  • Fellows are trained in science policy and science communication through a Fellowship Orientation and Bootcamp in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Fellows are placed in legislative offices, executive agencies, or prominent companies and nonprofits in the state of Virginia starting in May and ending in August each year.
  • Fellows are paired with a mentor from VASEM and involved in VASEM briefings, committee meetings, and the annual summit throughout the Summer.
  • Fellows meet every other week with professionals engaged in science policy.
  • Fellows publish an article about their work on VASEM’s website and are encouraged to publish their work with other organizations.


COVES Fellows must be current postdoctoral fellows or graduate students in a STEM-H field (including MS, PhD, MSN, other degrees will be considered on a case-by-case basis). Qualified candidates will also have at least 1 year of STEM-H experience (BA/BS in a STEM-H field, research experience, or have completed at least the first year of their graduate program); students without a science or technical background should not apply. Participating institutions and individual host offices may limit the eligibility of the fellows they fund or host.

VASEM seeks to choose fellows from a diversity of backgrounds, areas of expertise, career stages, and career interests. Depending on funding support, VASEM may select additional applicants with preference given to applicants from historically excluded communities. Applicants have the option to describe their status in the application. Click here to view our working definition of historically excluded communities.

Program Overview

The Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Fellowship is a full-time (40 hours/week), 12-week fellowship program of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (VASEM). Graduate student and postdoctoral fellows will serve as science advisors in a variety of possible placements, including legislative offices, executive agencies, or prominent companies and nonprofits in the state of Virginia. Fellows will gain experience by serving their host office and performing relevant tasks such as researching, drafting, and revising relevant policies. Fellows will also be paired with a VASEM member who will serve as an experienced science policy mentor throughout the fellowship.

How the Fellowship Works

The COVES Fellowship is a full-time (40 hours/week), 12-week program that places graduate student and postdoctoral Fellows in a legislative office, executive agency, or policy office in a company or nonprofit in Virginia. COVES Fellows will be current STEM-H graduate students or postdoctoral fellows from participating universities across the Commonwealth of Virginia, selected based on career interests, desire to learn, and scientific integrity. Fellows will be matched to offices who have agreed to accept a Fellow based on mutual interest and placement availability. During the first week of the Fellowship, Fellows will attend a science policy bootcamp and orientation that will offer training in science policy and communication and will provide an introduction to governance and policymaking in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to their work in policy offices, COVES Fellows will be paired with a mentor from VASEM and will participate in VASEM briefings, committee meetings, and the annual summit. Fellows will participate in the orientation on May 23 – 24, 2024 in Richmond, VA. Fellows will serve from May 28 – August 16, 2024, and receive a minimum stipend of $9,000 and $2,000 professional development funds. The 2024 COVES Fellowship will run primarily in-person, which may require relocation for the duration of the program, with some remote opportunities.

 If you are interested in more information about how to apply to become a COVES Fellow, click here.

Participating Universities

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 Hampton U 300 wide
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 UVA logo 300 wide
 VCU logo 300 wide
  W&M logo 300 wide 


Participating Sponsors


Questions? Contact the COVES Working Group at [email protected].