ASTC Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows Program

In October 2001, ASTC’s Board launched a field-wide Equity and Diversity Initiative to attempt to bring balance in the disparity between the diversity of our society and the diversity of professional staff, audience, and board members of the science center field. The primary activity for addressing this disparity is the ASTC Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows Program, originally designed to support the professional growth and retention of professionals of color currently working in the field. In response to the ever-changing nature of equity and diversity issues, eligibility criteria have been expanded and now include science center professionals from ethnic/racial minority backgrounds; with disabilities; and who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA). To date, more than 200 science center professionals from nearly 100 science centers and museums in the United States and Canada have participated in the program.

Fellows selected in this competitive application process will receive more than 25 hours of year-round, customized professional development; a free registration for the 2019 ASTC Annual Conference in Toronto; reimbursement of up to $1,500 in conference-related travel, lodging, and meals; and more.

2018 ASTC Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows
at the 2018 ASTC Annual Conference in Hartford, Connecticut

Eligibility: Individuals who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply to the program

  • Identify with one or more of the following underrepresented groups: racial/ethnic minority, LGBTQIA, or person with a disability
  • Are employed at an ASTC-member institution in Canada or the United States and live in one of those countries
  • Have been employed at their present institution full-time for at least one year prior to date of application submission
  • Hold a mid-level management position (i.e., non-entry level)
  • Demonstrate a desire to advance their career in the science center/museum field
  • Express an interest in supporting equity and diversity in the science center/museum field
  • NEW Fellows: Have not attended an ASTC Annual Conference in the past three years
     (Note: one spot will be open for an applicant who has attended the conference in recent years.)
  • ALUMNI Fellows: Did not receive alumni fellowship in the previous year and have been included in an ASTC Annual Conference session proposal, this year or prior years.



New and Alumni Fellows will use the same online application portal at the “Apply Now!” button below.

Applications consist of

  • Contact and demographic information
  • Short essay questions
  • Documents to upload including your resume, organizational chart, and signed Applicant and Institution Statement of Understanding
  • (Optional) Supplementary materials that might include excerpts from publications, awards, program information, or letters of recommendation that demonstrate your dedication to the field and diversity work.

Pro Tip: Before completing your online application, download this scratch pad and draft your answers; you may want to save a copy of this for your records.

Pro Tip: Get your Applicant and Institution Statement of Understanding signed now! Don’t let those signatures delay your application.



  1. Click on the button below to begin your application.

    Apply Now!
  2. Select “Register” in top right corner.
  3. Create account by filling out information.
  4. Follow prompts to find and apply for 2019 Diversity Fellows program.
  5. Answer the eligibility question.
  6. Proceed to application portal to answer questions and upload all necessary materials.
  7. Review your application, download a copy if you wish, and hit “Submit” by 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 12.

Pro Tip: The online system will send notification emails to your registered account. Look for them in your spam folder, if needed.


Questions? Contact ASTC’s Ann Hernandez.

Deadline: Sunday, May 12, at 11:00 p.m. ET


Selection: In this competitive process, a panel of reviewers familiar with the science center profession and diversity issues will review the applications. The panel will select this year’s Fellows based on evidence that the applicants are committed to promoting equity and diversity, have long-term visions of themselves in the science center field, and are at places in their careers where they will benefit from this experience. 2019 Fellows will be announced in June.