Frequently Asked Questions

About USGS

The USGS is the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. We provide science about natural resource conditions and problems.

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The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a science bureau within the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS provides science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on; the health of our ecosystems and environment; and the impacts of climate...
Photo of Walter Curran Mendenhall
The first step is to become aware of the Research Opportunities available for a given year and the application deadline. Check the table of opportunities and the associated descriptions. Then, contact the Research Advisor(s) listed and express an interest in the project advertised. Applicants are strongly urged to coordinate the development of...
Seismologist installing equipment at station NED on Mount St. Helen...
Yes. Mendenhall Fellowship applicants are strongly urged to coordinate the development of their research proposals with the appropriate Research Advisors. Currently there is no limit on the number of applications an individual can submit. In the event that an applicant ranks highly for more than one Research Opportunity, the USGS retains the right...
Scientist discussion near lake
Mendenhall Fellowship applicants are strongly urged to coordinate the development of their research proposals with the appropriate Research Advisor(s). The role of the Research Advisor(s) is primarily consultative. They can provide assistance in the sharpening up of a proposal but should not be actively involved in writing the proposal. The...
Image: Surprise Glacier
Yes. Each year a number of the Research Opportunities advertised have co-mentors from universities and other institutions. Funding is typically provided by the USGS. However, it's possible to conduct research under this Program with joint funding between the USGS and other sources. Learn more: USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program
Image: Adule Golden Eagle (Portrait)
Mendenhall Fellowships are funded for two full years; funding cannot be extended. However, the appointment can be extended for up to an additional two years if appropriate work and funding are available. Some Mendenhall Fellows have been able to extend their employment with the USGS by obtaining additional funds from other USGS funding sources and...
Photo of former USGS employee Kat Powelson measuring marsh accretion.
Mendenhall Fellowship application packages are evaluated based on four criteria. One of these considers whether the proposed budget is commensurate with the level of effort and reasonable with respect to the value of anticipated results. This factor also considers the availability of necessary facilities at the USGS or proposed arrangements for...
Weiskopf field work
Approximately 100 Mendenhall Fellowship applications are received each year and about 12 to 20 fellows are hired, depending on available funding. Advertised opportunities might not be filled if there is not sufficient funding. Learn more: USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program
Scientist pointing to graphic on a screen while children watch
Yes. As a part of the final steps toward career preparation, Mendenhall Fellows are encouraged to take part in educational activities as appropriate. Some examples include preparation of relevant Fact Sheets, involvement with educational committees of professional societies, visiting schools as guest scientists, working directly with teachers to...
Reston Microbiology Laboratory employee conducting Gel Electrophoresis
No. Mendenhall Fellowships are U.S. Government positions, so the USGS must give preference to U.S. citizens. However, citizens of other nations might be considered under certain circumstances, such as when there are no qualified citizen applicants. It is optional for the USGS to consider citizens of other nations, and various laws and regulations...
A USGS researcher sits in the sand conducting fieldwork on Buttonwood Key, FL
Each application for a Mendenhall Fellowship is checked to confirm that all required documents have been submitted, that minimum educational qualifications are met, and that a research proposal has been submitted in the appropriate format. Then the applications are forwarded to a review panel, to the Coordinator of the Mendenhall Program, and to...
PIERC_Collaborator meeting
All qualified Mendenhall Fellowship applications are reviewed using a two-step process. First, a review panel made up of subject matter experts (scientists) reviews each application on the basis of the criteria described below and ranks all applications. Research proposals are expected to be fully responsive to the requirements described in the...