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Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

I am not a permanent resident or U.S. citizen. Can I apply?

No. Applicants must be U.S. citizens in order to apply.

I am a part-time teacher. Can I apply?

Yes. Part-time teachers may apply.

I am an educator, but do not teach a STEM subject. Can I apply?

Yes. You do not need to teach a STEM subject to apply. Public health is multidisciplinary. We are looking for a mix of educators passionate about public health.

I am not a middle- or high-school teacher. Can I apply?

Yes. Historically, we have accepted elementary teachers, pre-services teachers, college professors, and those who hold education leadership roles at the district, state, or national level.

I am new to teaching and have very little experience. Can I apply?

Yes. Many factors are considered during the application review process, including education leadership experience, classroom potential, and passion for public health. We look for applicants who demonstrate a commitment to bring epidemiology and public health sciences into their classroom.

I applied in a previous year but was not accepted. Can I apply again?

Yes. Each year, we are looking for a mix of participants and are not always able to accept all qualified applicants. Therefore, we strongly encourage re-applying.

I participated in the Science Ambassador program in a previous year. Can I apply?

Yes. We accept alumni who have participated in previous years. Alumni must submit a new application.

I do not have a background in public health. Can I apply?

Yes. Previous experience in public health is not required.

Application

What should I include in my personal statement?

Applicants accepted into the program in prior years have explained their interest in the fellowship and how it aligned with their career goals. Strong statements included examples of how applicants formally shared their work with fellow teachers and the steps they planned to promote public health within their teaching communities.

How many recommendation letters do I need?

Every applicant must upload one letter of recommendation.

Can I submit more than one recommendation letter?

No. Applicants should only submit one recommendation letter.

Who do I ask to write my recommendation letter?

Recommendation writers should be a school administrator (e.g., principal or headmaster), department chair, or a direct supervisor.

A friend who attended previously is encouraging me to apply. Should I ask him/her to be my recommendation writer?

Recommendation writers should be a school administrator (e.g., principal or headmaster), department chair, or a direct supervisor. Seek a recommendation writer who can speak to your skills and strengths.

I asked my recommendation writer to provide a recommendation but he/she may not be able to get it done by the deadline. Will you accept it late?

No. In order to provide a fair application system, the deadline is strictly adhered to. See key dates.

Can I upload the letter of recommendation on behalf of my recommendation writer?

No. The online system does not allow the applicant to upload the letter. If the recommendation writer is unable to upload the letter, their letter can be sent via email to scienceambassador@cdc.gov.

Will I receive a confirmation when my application has been received?

The online application system will automatically send a confirmation e-mail to the applicant when the application has been submitted. It is the applicant’s responsibility ensure that all required forms are submitted prior to the deadline. Late submissions will not be considered.

Selection

How are fellows selected?

Applications will be objectively reviewed by a selection committee. Applications are then ranked and the top candidates are accepted.

Will all applicants be notified of the program’s admissions decision?

Yes. Notifications will be sent by e-mail in March. Applicants may check their application status at any time in the application systemexternal icon.

General Questions

What is the estimated time commitment?

The duration of the fellowship is 1 year. Fellows are required to take an online course before participating in the 5-day summer course held at CDC headquarters. Summer course begins in July and sessions occur each day, 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (ET). Thereafter, fellows are expected to work remotely for approximately 5-10 hours per month. During this time, fellows may be asked to pilot public health lesson plans, present lesson plans at local teacher conferences or meetings, and consult on the development of public health based resource materials for middle and high school teachers nationwide.

How are the regional trainings different from the Science Ambassador Fellowship?

The Science Ambassador Fellowship is a 5-day summer course at the CDC followed by one year of remote collaboration. Throughout the summer course and remote collaboration, participants work in teams to develop classroom activities with CDC subject matter experts. The regional trainings provide a 2-day course modeled after the first two days of the Science Ambassador Fellowship summer course. Regional training participants are not responsible for the development of classroom activities. Participants of both the fellowship and regional trainings receive public health training and activities to take back to the classroom.

How long is the fellowship?

The duration of the fellowship is 1 year. Fellows attend the summer course in July and participate remotely for the remainder of the fellowship through June of the following year.

Is the 5-day summer course mandatory for fellows?

Yes. Fellows must attend the 5-day summer course in July held at CDC in Atlanta, Georgia.

Will I be able to receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this fellowship?

Yes. The CDC is authorized by IACET to offer 4.0 CEUs for the summer course.

How much does the fellowship cost?

The fellowship and summer course are free of charge. However, participants are responsible for all costs related to the fellowship and summer course, including lodging, food, and transportation to Atlanta, Georgia. No other travel is required. Past participants have received grants to support costs. It is the fellows’ responsibility to seek and acquire funding.

What is the link between STEM and public health?

Teaching epidemiology and public health science (e.g., surveillance, biostatistics, informatics, laboratories, and prevention effectiveness) in the classroom engages students in learning experiences across STEM disciplines. By viewing STEM content through the lens of public health, students will develop an understanding of how information learned in the classroom translates into real-world disease control and prevention, and community health and wellness.

Is public health a part of my state’s curriculum?

Several states now accredit public health-related courses as part of a school science curriculum. To guide teachers in integrating public health into the STEM classroom or developing a new course in epidemiology and public health, CDC has developed a set of competencies for public health sciences that are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)external icon and Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Critical Components for an Undergraduate Major in Public Healthexternal icon. CDC has also compiled examples of how to transform CDC and non-CDC resources into classroom materials.