Would you like to be paid to study and work on education policy in Washington DC for a year with fellow educators? Have you ever complained that the “powers that be” making decisions regarding education in our country should have been a teacher, need to listen to teachers or (and likely all three), have no idea what it is like to be a teacher?
If this describes you, and you are a teacher who teaches elementary with all subject areas, or secondary in any STEM area, it may be just the right time for you to consider applying to be an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow!
My name is Andi Webb, and I am an elementary teacher from North Carolina. I recently moved to Arlington, Virginia. In May 2022, I graduated with my doctorate and in about a ten-year time span, have secured approximately half a million dollars in teacher grant and fellowship funding.
My very first trip abroad was to Russia. Go big or go home, right? While experiencing the people and culture of Russia, I knew I needed to learn about the world all over. And, I have spent much time since that first trip abroad doing just that.
The Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship
During the 2018-2019 school year, I had one of the most amazing experiences of my career. I served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in the United States House of Representatives on the Education & Labor Committee.
Throughout the year, I learned about national education policy, had my own portfolio to work on that focused on STEM and international education, and even wrote hearing questions for members of Congress focused on teacher recruitment and retention.
Where Do AEF Serve in DC?
During the year of my fellowship, 13 of my “fellow Fellows” served in other federal agencies or Congressional offices. Four others served in Congress like me and the rest served in agencies including the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Library of Congress, and the Department of Energy. Other agencies have included the United States Geological Survey, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and more. Each year of the fellowship, the agencies may vary.
How Long is the DC Einstein Fellowship?
The Einstein Fellowship is an eleven month fellowship in Washington, D.C. Fellows are required to move to the nation’s capital if they are not local. As you read this, you may ask yourself how it could be possible to relocate yourself and/or your family.
Every person’s situation is different, but I can assure you that fellows have been single, married, had children, had supportive school districts, had unsupportive schools districts — you name it, because it runs the gamut — and still found a way to participate in the fellowship. Fellows have rented their homes out for the year, taken a leave of absence, resigned from their school districts, enrolled their children in local school districts, and even relocated to Washington, D.C. on a permanent basis.
What are AEF Benefits, and is it Paid?
Throughout the fellowship, AEF fellows work in their respective offices, have opportunities for professional development, network, and learn from each other. Fellows are paid throughout the eleven months and even receive a stipend for professional development geared toward their own professional goals.
One of the best aspects of the fellowship is the friends you are in the fellowship with throughout the eleven months. Lifetime friendships are made with both your own fellows, as well as alumni and the new fellows as your own experience concludes. I even flew across the country to spend a couple of days with a fellow Fellow. Even throughout the events of 2020, we would often meet virtually to stay in touch with each other.
The Einstein Fellowship Application Timeline
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship is a unique, life-changing opportunity. Applications typically open each August and usually close in November. Throughout the time that applications are open, there are often various opportunities for applicants to learn strategies for making their applications more competitive.
If an application is accepted, there is an invitation extended to participate in an interview process in Washington, D.C. Typically in early March, applicants who are accepted for interviews attend a multi-day interview process.
From that point forward, applicants then wait on pins and needles to find out the results of their interviews! If so fortunate, successful applicants receive the much anticipated news that they will be living and working in Washington, D.C. as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow!
Any Questions About the AEF Program, or Others?
Do you have specific questions? I am happy to share my experiences. For those who want specific help on various grants and fellowships, I am available for hire as a personal teacher grant/travel consultant for very reasonable prices depending on the needs of each individual— just reach out to me at teachandtraveltheworld at gmail.com. Need some help with planning your travel? I can help with that too! Just let me know your needs!
I believe in the power of teachers and the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship allows teachers to have a voice in national work that impacts us as both educators and citizens. It also allows those making extremely impactful decisions to hear the needs and heart’s desires of teachers and students throughout the country. It is a most unique chance to have a valued seat at the decision making table.
As a reminder, applications typically open each August so be on the lookout. In the meantime, you can follow both current fellows and alumni on Twitter with @AEF_Program. There are often Twitter chats once a month throughout the year so please join us!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English from Boston who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched TeachingTraveling.com in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and over 1.6 million readers have visited over the past decade. Lillie also runs AroundTheWorld L.com Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational art. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following @WorldLillie on social media!