LSU College of the Coast & Environment Graduate Selected for AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship

Matt Kupchik

Matthew J. Kupchik, a doctoral graduate and postdoctoral scientist of the LSU College of the Coast & Environment, has been awarded a prestigious AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Matt Kupchik, LSU

BATON ROUGE —Matthew J. Kupchik, a doctoral graduate and postdoctoral scientist of the LSU College of the Coast & Environment, has been awarded a prestigious science and technology policy fellowship in Washington, D.C. Operated as part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, the Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, or STPF, places highly trained scientists and engineers within the federal government to help inform policy decisions in order to advance science and serve society.

“The AAAS STPF offers me a chance to learn about and provide information for policy creation and direction at the federal level. Personally, it represents a chance to apply many of the skills I gained during my graduate work and through my postdoctoral research in a new arena and chances to expand my thinking as a scientist,” Kupchik said. “In my career, this represents a fairly large shift from direct research into a more meta-level approach to how research fits into the larger policy goals of the U.S. federal government.”

Kupchik is among the 278 highly trained scientists and engineers who will serve in federal agencies and congressional offices in Washington, D.C. Kupchik will serve in the executive branch of the government at the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, in the Bureau for Asia which covers Asia, the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Islands, except Australia and New Zealand. As part of the USAID’s Environmental Security and Resilience team, he will be working on marine issues ranging from illegal and unregulated fishing, plastic and microplastic marine pollution and marine protected areas and coral reef conservation.

His graduate research at LSU on the importance of fish eggs and larvae to commercial fisheries and his postdoctoral research collaborating with offshore oil and gas industries to survey and record deep sea life has helped prepare him for this next step.

“In both my graduate and postdoctoral research, I was exposed to a high level of autonomy where problem-solving difficult research questions was encouraged and supported,” he said. “With my postdoctoral research, in particular, working with industry and various government and stakeholder groups provided the skills and experience to take complex research topics and make sure they are easily understandable to a wide range of audiences. Throughout the application and evaluation process with AAAS for the STPF, those skills became invaluable in my successful bid to become a fellow.”

The 2019-20 class is comprised of 278 fellows sponsored by AAAS and partner societies. Of these, 33 will serve in Congress and 245 in the executive branch among 19 federal agencies or departments.

“We are truly happy to welcome the 47th class of Science & Technology Policy Fellows this fall,” STPF Director Jennifer Pearl said. “The incoming class of fellows are on their way to making a big step forward in advancing science and society.”

Since the program’s inception in 1973, more than 3,000 fellows have supported the executive, judicial and legislative branches of the U.S. government seeding every corner of Washington and beyond with a high caliber of scientific know-how. After the fellowship, many fellows remain in the policy arena working at the federal, state, regional or international level. Others pursue careers in industry or the nonprofit sector. Those who choose academia often teach or mentor students to understand the policy context for research and the importance of science communication.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.

Visit to learn more about the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships.


Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations