Colloquium Fellowship

Beginning in 2011, the American Academy of Microbiology (Academy) will provide a one-year fellowship to a recent microbiology PhD recipient. The Academy is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public. To this end, each year the Academy convenes three to four colloquia to address critical issues in microbiology. Colloquium reports are used by governmental agencies, industry, educators and the scientific and lay communities.

The field of microbiology is broad and microbiologists have much to contribute to solving societal challenges in health, food, energy and the environment. Communicating the excitement and potential benefits of advances in microbiology is critically important to attract the next generation of students into the field, to educate and inform the public and to justify continued investment in microbiology research. In addition to academic researchers and clinicians, the field of microbiology needs individuals who are skilled in science communication and public outreach. The goal of the AAM Colloquium fellowship is to provide an opportunity for a recent microbiology PhD graduate to develop these skills. The fellow will work closely with the Academy Director on the colloquium program, participating in the entire process from choosing appropriate topics through proposal development and fund-raising to writing colloquium reports to publicity and dissemination.

Applicants for the fellowship should have a broad interest in the field of microbiology and a willingness to learn about topics outside their own area of expertise. Exceptional writing skills are essential. The fellowship will provide salary and some benefits. The fellowship is based at ASM headquaters in Washington, D.C. and will last one year.



The fellow will work with the Director on the Academy Colloquium program:


  • developing novel colloquium ideas
  • working with volunteers to develop submitted colloquium ideas
  • identifying appropriate steering committee members and participants
  • identifying funding sources and drafting inquiries and/or grant proposals
  • attending colloquia and drafting session notes
  • drafting and editing colloquium reports

The fellow may also be asked to help with other Academy activities including the organization of General Meeting sessions, identification of candidates for Awards committees, monitoring the election to fellowship process and interfacing with other parts of the ASM.


  • Advanced degree in microbiology (PhD preferred)
  • Exceptional writing skills including the ability to write clearly and succinctly about complex scientific and technical topics for a general audience
  • Ability to assimilate and summarize information from the primary microbiology literature
  • Ability to follow, then quickly and accurately summarize group discussions
  • Ability to identify appropriate experts for colloquia, committees and other volunteer positions
  • Excellent people skills – experience working with expert volunteers would be a plus

Candidate must be prepared to travel; approximately 6 off-site meetings are anticipated during the one-year term of the fellowship.