WASHINGTON — The National Capital Area Political Science Association awarded Jeff Biggs with the Walter Beach Pi Sigma Alpha Award this afternoon at the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) headquarters in Washington. Dr. Biggs served as director of the APSA Congressional Fellowship Program from 1997 to 2014.
The award recognizes Dr. Biggs’ “substantial contribution to strengthen the relationship between political science and public service,” NCAPSA president Matthew Green noted. The award is named after Walter Beach, a founding member of NCAPSA who also served as a director of the Congressional Fellowship Program and associate director of APSA.
“Jeff is a rare breed: someone who is a scholar, has worked in government service for many years, and spent nearly two decades bringing together hundreds of young scholars and policy-makers, contributing to the professional development of both,” Dr. Green said.
“I am very honored on behalf of the [APSA Congressional Fellowship Program],” Dr. Biggs said to those in attendance. “That honor is augmented by the many friends, colleagues, and former fellows who have preceded me in receiving this award and who played their own significant roles in the fellowship.”
Dr. Biggs also is an alumnus of the Congressional Fellowship Program. Established in 1953, the program enables select political scientists, journalists, federal employees, and other professionals to experience Congress at work by serving fellowship placements on congressional staffs. Before joining the APSA staff, Dr. Biggs spent twenty-one years in the Foreign Service and was named as a Foreign Affairs APSA Congressional Fellow in 1984, serving with Congressman Thomas Foley (D-WA) and Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY). He later served on then-Majority Leader and later-Speaker Foley’s senior staff as press secretary and spokesman from 1987 to 1994.
At today’s award ceremony, Dr. Green conveyed remarks from several CFP alumni who spoke of Dr. Biggs’ influence on their careers and his expertise on Congress.
“I would venture to say that no one single person affected my career more than Jeff Biggs, because he somehow turned an [American Political Development] presidential scholar into a Congress lover and watcher,” said Colleen Shogan, Deputy Director, Congressional Research Service and former president of NCAPSA.
Assistant director of the Congressional Research Service Government and Finance Division, John Haskell, said, “There are few people in Washington who know the ins and outs of Congress as well as Jeff, and there are fewer still who see Congress’ connections to the larger separated system in as sophisticated a way as he sees it.”
Dr. Biggs is a co-author with Thomas S. Foley of Honor in the House: Speaker Tom Foley, author of A Congress of Fellows: Fifty Years of the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program 1953-2003, and a number of journal articles.
Dr. Biggs retired from APSA in 2014.
APSA’s Kara Abramson contributed to this report.