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Posted by: Tiffany Adams on Mar 19, 2013

PSC Professor Works as Jefferson Science Fellow

Kjelgren gives a presentation during his service as a Jefferson Science Fellow

As the school year nears its end, one professor in the College of Agriculture continues his service as a Jefferson Science Fellow (JSF) in Washington, D.C. 

Roger Kjelgren, a professor in the plants, soils and climate department (PSC), is currently serving as a JSF, working as a science advisor in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) Office of Economic Affairs. 

The Jefferson Science Fellowship was founded in 2003 to establish a new model of engagement between the American academic science, technology, engineering and medical communities and American policy makers. After their one-year assignment, fellows continue to serve as a resource to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for an additional five years.

Fellows are selected by a 21-member committee made up of leadership from the National Academy of Sciences, State Department and former fellows and must go through an extensive U.S. government security clearance process prior to serving as a JSF.

After completing their necessary security clearances, fellows work to meet their specific office’s needs.  

“What I bring to [the] State and the intelligence community is a unique scientific perspective on agricultural and higher education issues in developing countries,” Kjelgren said.  Using that perspective, Kjelgren regularly engages in free trade discussions and writes about the economic impact climate volatility will have on agriculture and forestry in developing countries. 

Additionally, Kjelgren plans to explore higher education gender ratios in developing countries and the use of remote sensing technologies to quantify water supplies in major river basins around the world.

Living in D.C. since August has also been a highlight for Kjelgren. “D.C. is a fascinating city of people and pedestrians interested in many things,” he said. “There are talks [at] any given hour [on] any given policy topic somewhere in the city.”

This isn’t Kjelgren’s first prestigious fellowship either. He also served a Fulbright fellowship in Thailand that led to developing academic relationships with partner Thai and Chinese universities.