Sommerfeldt Chosen for Jefferson Science Fellowship

Associate Professor Erich Sommerfeldt has been selected by the National Academy of Sciences for a 2021 Jefferson Science Fellowship. During his fellowship in Washington, D.C., Sommerfeldt will take an advisory role with the U.S. Department of State to provide expertise in policy decisions for U.S. public diplomacy around the globe.

Jefferson Science Fellows spend one year at the State Department or USAID for an on-site assignment in Washington, D.C., that may involve extended stays at U.S. foreign embassies and missions. Sommerfeldt will be attached to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs' Office of Research, Planning, and Resources (R/PPR). His activities will include developing policy and planning to help enhance the delivery and evaluation of U.S. diplomatic programs. During the fellowship term, Sommerfeldt will also deliver a lecture as part of the Jefferson Science Distinguished Lecture Series.

Sommerfeldt’s expertise includes research into the nature of relationships among nongovernmental organizations in development and diplomacy practice. Sommerfeldt said, “I’ve spent my entire academic career studying the networks of relationships among organizations that deliver development and diplomacy programs. Adapting these skills to the work of the State Department seems like a natural extension of my capabilities and I look forward to putting my skills to use in the service of the State Department and the American people.”

Sommerfeldt joined UMD in 2012. He has previously advised both the Department of State and USAID on research and evaluation methods for development and diplomacy. He been invited to lecture by the Department of Defense Information School (DINFOS), the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Reserve, and NATO.

Following his tenure as a Jefferson Science Fellow in Washington, D.C., Sommerfeldt will remain available to the U.S. State Department as a consultant for short-term projects over the subsequent five years.


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