Summer Fellowship/Internship Program


About the Program

Polaris offers a wide variety of fellowship/internship positions with a focus on teaching our leaders of tomorrow how to combat the issue of human trafficking. Polaris program participants 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 participants gain a wide variety of skills where they are given the opportunity to learn and flourish. 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 2018 Fellowship/Internship session will begin June 4th and end August 10th. Applications for the summer session open in early March, and the deadline to apply is May 10th. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and all postings will remain open until the posted deadline. If you have any questions, please email


The Fellowship/Internship Program selects 10 - 20 participants of a competitive application process from a pool of 200 - 300 applications. Applicants throughout the United States and around the world, from undergraduate students to seasoned professionals in a range of fields, are represented in this applicant pool. Below you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Who is eligible to participate in the program?

The program is open to anyone 18 years of age or older. We welcome applications from individuals of various backgrounds and are eager to work in the anti-trafficking. Legal fellows are typically law students or practicing attorneys.
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Will I be considered if I do not have experience in the anti-human trafficking movement or other social justice initiatives?

Yes. While many of our participants have prior and/or relevant experience, it is not a requirement of the 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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How do I apply to the program?

Applications for the summer session will not open until early March. Once the postings are listed to apply, select the opening you are in interested in applying to from the list of current opportunities. At the bottom of each description there is a link to apply to each position directly. Due to the large volume of applications, we will only contact applicants that are selected for interview. 
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There are a few programs that interest me; at what stage must I have to decide which one to apply? Is there any overlap in the program?

We ask that you apply to your top choice directly and in your cover letter, you specify your other two program choices. Please note, 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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What are the hours of work?

The minimum work requirement is 24 hours a week; however, we strongly prefer full-time availability of 30 - 40 hours a week.
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Does Polaris cover tuition fees or provide financial support?

Participation in our program is unpaid. While we are unable to provide any direct financial support, many fellows have successfully supplemented their living expenses through university stipends, church sponsorships, summer scholarships, or other community based financial support. Part-time fellows often secure other part-time jobs in the Washington DC Metropolitan area to supplement cost of living. Further details are available upon confirmation of acceptance into the program.
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What can I expect from the interview process?

The interview process will vary depending on the position that you apply. Applicants typically participate in one to three interviews, either in-person or over the telephone before a final decision is reached. If you are selected for an interview, please be prepared to answer questions about your background, Polaris’ programmatic initiatives, and on the issue of human trafficking.
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What kind of work can I expect as a participant?

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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How many participants can I expect to work with?

Depending on our current need, we host 10 - 20 participants. There is usually 1 – 2 participants assigned to each program and/or department.
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Does Polaris offer housing, assistance or provide any lodging accommodations?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer housing. Many have successfully found affordable temporary housing through local area universities.
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Would Polaris be able to assist me with a visa application?

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 meeting for which all staff should be dressed formally, advance notice be sent to all relevant employees.
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If I am not accepted to the program, are there volunteer opportunities?

We are looking to develop a formal volunteer program soon. Please check our website at a later date for an update.  However, in the meantime, please click here for other ways to get involved.
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Fellowship/Internship Alumni Network

Polaris has hosted over 30 distinct Fellowship/Internship sessions. All former Fellows are invited to be members of the Fellowship/Internship Alumni Network. 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 are a former participant and not currently a member of the Fellowship/Internship Alumni Network, please contact us at to join and reconnect with Polaris.

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