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Federal Relations Assistant

SUMMARY: The Federal Relations Assistant provides general administrative support for multiple members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) Federal Relations team. Serves as the front-line contact to screen and handle high-level inquiries, as well as phone, email, and mail requests, as appropriate. Communicates extensively with internal and external colleagues and maintains a high level of customer service.

PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned to meet business needs.

  • Screens telephone calls and meeting requests, handles routine inquiries independently with personal knowledge of supervisors’ activities.

  • Schedules meetings, telephone calls, conference calls, and webinars, for supervisors; creates agendas, participates in meetings and takes notes, and ensures follow-up is completed as needed.

  • Schedules meetings on Capitol Hill and elsewhere with AAU staff and constituent members; uses AAU’s online reservation system to schedule meetings in AAU’s conference room(s). Anticipates schedule conflicts, preparation and travel time, and other events which might impact schedule.

  • Uses knowledge of AAU practices and priorities to proactively respond to daily issues and requests; provides organizational support related to daily workflow and determining action items and priorities.

  • Drafts, prepares, and distributes letters, advocacy one-pagers, talking points, presentations, and issue summaries on behalf of supervisors, including creating initial drafts, proofing, editing, formatting, and working with mass emailing software.

  • Monitors legislative developments in Congress for supervisors or other members of the FR team as needed.

  • Covers hearings and writes up accurate, timely, and comprehensive summaries and analysis for supervisors or other members of the FR team as needed.

  • Maintains, updates and tracks records in AAU’s database (Association Management System), retrieves and relays information from database.

  • Provides materials to and maintains committee, task force, and listserv lists and coordinates conference calls and occasional in-person meetings; manages supervisors’ commitments to steering committees, advisory groups, boards, and other external groups; takes accurate notes during meetings as appropriate.

  • Posts supervisors’ content to the AAU website, including posting new documents and deleting obsolete information in a timely manner.

  • Organizes issue portfolio content on SharePoint site and posts content in appropriate SharePoint site.

  • Administers supervisors’ travel and prepares itineraries, prepares supervisors’ expense reports, check requests, and credit card reconciliations in accordance with AAU policies and procedures; organizes and maintains paper and computer files.

  • Cooperates and coordinates with other administrative assistants and fills in as necessary.

  • Daily review of the Federal Register and send subsequent e-mails about notices to the appropriate AAU staff.

  • Performs other duties as assigned.



  • Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF)

  • Supports the Associate Vice President for Federal Relations in the management of the CNSF.

  • Coordinates conference calls and in-person meetings by helping to develop monthly coalition agendas and meeting materials; provides on-site coordination and support for monthly meetings and events.

  • Maintains current membership list and facilitates members’ communication as needed.

  • Supports CNSF website; serves as the point of contact between CNSF and HLP to upload website content.

  • Serves as the liaison with the AAU finance department to ensure billings and annual CNSF membership invoices are sent early in the calendar year (well before registration for the CNSF exhibition)

  • Assists in the preparation and execution of the annual CNSF Exhibition and Reception. Also plays an active role in the post-exhibition internal (AAU/AAAS) meeting.

  • Council on Federal Relations (CFR)

  • Serves as the administrative backup for the monthly CFR meeting.

  • Provides materials to and maintains membership lists of supervisors’ CFR task forces.


QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Superior organization and prioritization skills and must be meticulous and detail oriented; must follow through in a timely manner, completing tasks without prompting.

  • Flexibility and ability to manage competing demands; must be able to manage a myriad of on-going tasks in a fast-paced environment and adjust to changes.

  • Resourcefulness and ability to work proactively - thinking ahead. Good logic skills to review minutes and summarize the conclusions and actions taken.

  • Demonstrated ability to resolve problems, use analytical judgement, and must be able to process a high volume of accurate, detailed, and quality work product.

  • Demonstrated ability to create and support an environment which fosters teamwork, cooperation, respect and diversity. 

  • Demonstrated ability to promote and foster productive multidirectional communications with staff as well as AAU member university officials and external parties.

  • Intermediate writing and editing skills; varies writing style and voice as needed.

  • History of working with integrity and ethically; must follow AAU's policies and procedures; is consistently at work and on time; ensures work responsibilities are covered when absent.

  • Willingness to take ownership for wide-ranging responsibilities; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; looks for ways to improve and monitors own work to ensure quality.

  • Must reside within the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area while working for AAU.



  • College degree preferred; 2-4 years of administrative support. Experience working with multiple supervisors and/or in government relations preferred.

  • Must have a working knowledge of, and display an advanced level of skill in, the Microsoft Office suite 2010 or more recent programs.

  • Experience working with Office 365, SharePoint, association management systems, mass email systems, and website content management systems is required.


TRAVEL. Travel is primarily local during the business day, although some evening, out-of-the-area, and overnight travel may be expected. Since this position will be providing administrative support for various meetings, travel will be expected.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY. This position has no supervisory responsibilities. However, the Federal Relations Assistant is expected to coordinate efforts with key personnel in the department and the Association to achieve the position’s purpose.

WORK ENVIRONMENT. This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS. The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate and exchange information.

This is largely a stationary position; however, the employee is required to occasionally move about inside the office to access file cabinets, office machinery, etc. and operate a computer and other office productivity machinery and equipment, such as a copy machine, a computer printer, filing cabinets, etc. Some filing is required; this requires the ability to move files up to 20lbs across the office for various needs.

POSITION TYPE. This is a full-time, non-exempt position. Days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand.

OTHER DUTIES. Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

DISCLAIMER: This job description is not to be construed in a manner which implies an employee’s right to employee. This job description is not a contract of employment, expressed or implied, nor is it an offer to enter into such a contract or guarantee of employment for any duration.

AAU is committed to a work environment that is inclusive to all and free of discrimination. It is our policy to be an equal opportunity employer without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, citizenship status or any other factors prohibited by federal, state, and local law. AAU will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with a disability.