Fellowship Program

About the Program

Polaris offers a wide variety of fellowship positions with a focus on teaching our leaders of tomorrow how to combat the issue of human trafficking. Polaris fellows have the opportunity to make a direct impact in ending human trafficking. Whether it's assisting on the National Human Trafficking Hotline or working side by side with our operations team on nonprofit management, our fellows gain a wide variety of skills where they are given the opportunity to learn and flourish. See a complete current list of available fellowship opportunities below. Early applications are highly recommended as the selection process is on a rolling basis.

Please note that all fellowships are unpaid, generally last 10 - 12 weeks and located in Washington, DC. For best placement results, it is advised that you apply to the opportunity that best meets your background and interest. If you would like to be considered for an additional opportunity, please list your top two positions in order of preference in the second sentence of your cover letter. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.

The Summer 2016 Fellowship session will begin on June 6th and end on August 12th. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and all postings will remain open until filled. If you have any questions, please email fellowships@polarisproject.org.



The Fellowship Program operates in three sessions per year: Spring Session occurs from January to May, Summer Session occurs from June to August, and Fall Session occurs from September to December.  For each session, 15-20 Fellows are selected through a competitive application process from a pool of 200-300 applications. Applicants come from around the world and throughout the United States and range from undergraduate students to seasoned professionals in a range of fields. Below you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions.


How do I apply for the fellowship?

To apply, please visit the Fellowship Positions page. At the bottom of each description there is a link to apply for the position directly. Due to the large volume of applications, we will only be contacting applicants that enter the interview process. If you are selected for an interview, you can expect to be contacted within one month of your application deadline.
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What are the hours of the fellowship?

The minimum work requirement for the fellowships is 24 hours a week; however, we strongly prefer full-time availability of 40 hours a week, particularly during the summer fellowship.
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Does Polaris cover tuition fees or have financial support?

All fellowships are unpaid. While we are unable to provide any direct funding, many fellows have successfully sponsored their position through university stipends, church sponsorships, summer scholarships, or other community based support. Part-time fellows often secure other part-time jobs in the D.C. area to off-set the cost of living. Although Polaris is unable to provide direct funding, fellows will be eligible for monthly travel reimbursement up to $75/month. Further details are available upon confirmation of acceptance into the program.
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What is the interview process like?

While the interview process will vary depending on the fellowship position you are applying for, fellows typically go through one to three interviews either in-person or over the phone before a final decision is reached. If you are selected for an interview, please come prepared to answer questions about your background, Polaris’ programmatic initiatives, and on the issue of human trafficking.
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How many fellows would I be working with at Polaris?

Depending on our current needs we take in between 10-20 fellows at the Washington D.C. headquarters. There are usually 2-3 fellows in each department or program.
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Does Polaris offer housing or help with finding or providing any accommodation?

Unfortunately, we cannot offer housing to fellows. Many fellows have successfully found affordable temporary housing through local area universities. Further details are provided to fellows selected for the program.
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There are a few programs that interest me, what stage do I have to decide which one I would like to apply for? Is there any overlap during the fellowships?

We ask that when you apply for the fellowship you specify in your cover letter your top three program choices. Polaris' various programs and departments are closely related, so while the majority of your fellowship work will be in a specific program, it is likely that you may be asked to help in other departments.
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Would Polaris be able to assist me with a visa application e.g. providing necessary documents that I may need?

We cannot provide any legal assistance with visas or official documents, but we can provide documents of acknowledgment or certification that you are enrolled in the program once you have received notification of acceptance.
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What is the dress code?

Polaris has adopted a “Dress for your Day” dress code for our general office dress, this policy applies to fellows as well. Business formal or business casual dress is always permitted. Dress for your Day modifies the business casual dress code to allow employees more discretion to select appropriate dress for the business of each workday. Employees may choose a more casual dress on workdays that do not involve attending a meeting, conducting a presentation or interview, representing Polaris in any organized or formal setting outside of the office, and/or meeting with a government official. It applies to all business activity, whether you are onsite, offsite or using remote technology such as video conferencing.  
Although casual clothing is permitted, the expectation is that employees will nevertheless wear clothing appropriate for the nature of our business and the type of work performed.  Should there be an event or a meeting for which all staff should be dressed formally, advance notice be sent to all relevant employees

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Can I apply to be a fellow if I don't have any experience in the anti-human trafficking movement or other social justice initiatives?

Yes. While many of our fellows have prior relevant experience, this is not a requirement of the fellowship program. We encourage you to learn more about human trafficking upon applying; this will be very important if you reach the interview stage of the application process. Read through our website, and explore the issue on your own before applying.
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Who applies for the fellowship?

The fellowship program is open to anyone 18 years of age or older. We welcome applications from individuals of various backgrounds who are eager to work in ant-traffiking. Legal fellows are typically either law students or practicing lawyers.
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If I am not able to become a fellow, do you have other volunteer opportunities?

We do not currently have volunteer oppurtunities. Please click here for other ways to get involved.
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What will I be doing as a fellow?

Although tasks vary depending on the department assigned, fellows may participate and learn about the following functions:  grant/proposal writing; research, advocacy, direct client services, and other administrative tasks. For a more detailed description, please see individual fellowship postings.
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Why does your organization use the word "fellowship" instead of "internship"?

Polaris has always been committed to raising new leaders in the field of anti-trafficking. Our organization demands a high level of professionalism and responsibility of all of its fellows, and is committed to providing meaningful training and leadership development for all fellowship participants. Fellows receive intense training and meaningful experience while they are a part of the program. Because these expectations go above and beyond what is typically expected of an intern, we have elected to use the term "fellowship" to describe the experience as accurately as possible.
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What are the dates of the fellowship sessions?

Below you can find a list of all fellowship deadlines. Keep in mind that the process is highly selective and spots fill up very quickly. We begin accepting applications approximately three months prior to the beginning of each session. Please see below for further details about the Fall, Spring, and Summer Fellowships.

Fall Session: 2nd week of September through 2nd week of December
Spring session: 3rd week of January though the 2nd week of May
Summer session: 2nd week of June through the 2nd week of August
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Fellowship Alumni Network

Polaris has hosted over 30 distinct Fellowship sessions and has had more than 500 fellows complete the Fellowship Program. In an effort to celebrate the accomplishments of both current and former Fellows, to create new opportunities for our Fellow alumni community to exchange ideas and stay connected, and to keep former Fellows updated on what’s happening at Polaris and across the broader anti-trafficking movement, we’ve recently created the Fellowship Alumni Network (FAN).

All former Fellows are invited to be members of the Fellowship Alumni Network. As such, members are part of a diverse community with a shared experience. With more than 500 alumni from over 35 states nationally and over 10 countries internationally, our global network offers alums the ability to connect, and engage with each other.

If you’re a former Fellow and not currently a member of the Fellowship Alumni Network, reconnect with Polaris. To be added please contact us at alumni@polarisproject.org.

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