The Oak Institute for Human Rights is pleased to announce the creation of the Oak Internship Program supported by a generous gift from the Oak Foundation. The award is intended to allow students to complement their academic work and foreign study with internships at institutions that work on issues of human rights, broadly defined.

Internship funding (up to $5,000) is available to continuing full-time Colby students over the summer.

Learn more about Colby’s grant program here >>>

Applications for Summer 2019 will be due in April.  Please check back for an announcement in March.

Applications should be submitted electronically to and include the following:

  • Your name, status, and current contact information
  • The name of the organization, the nature of the internship and a description of your responsibilities and how you will be supervised.
  • A brief letter from the organization providing the internship as to your responsibilities.  This should include contact information.
  • A personal statement (no more than 1000 words) that explains your motivation for applying for this internship, how it connects to your Colby academic experience, what you expect to contribute to the organization, what you expect to learn from the experience and its impact on your future plans, and the how it ties into the human rights mission of the Oak Institute.
  • At least two letters of recommendation, one of which should come from a Colby faculty member and the other from an employer
  • A resume
  • A current transcript of your grades
  • A budget, which should include an estimate of transportation, living and other expenses.

When they return to campus, recipients of Oak Internships will be expected to submit a 500-1000 word report on their internship work that will be posted on our website.

Important Considerations:

Student Eligibility – Summer awards are open to first-years, sophomores and juniors.  While students who have previously been awarded funds may reapply, preference will be given to new applications.

Internship Eligibility – An internship is a carefully monitored work experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects on what she/he is learning through the experience.  Preference is given to unpaid internships at institutions involved in promoting and protecting human rights, broadly defined.  Summer awards can be adjusted for the length of the internship, and usually require a minimum of 20 hours/week for 8 weeks.

Funding is not meant to serve as compensation for an internship.  Rather, it is designed to cover supplemental costs that come along with an unpaid internship – i.e., transportation, lodging, meals, etc.

Applicants do NOT need to have a confirmed internship to apply.  Based on application deadlines, students are often still waiting to hear back regarding their plans for January or the summer.  Funding applications can be submitted without a secured internship, but should be completed with information for one specific opportunity – the one that is most likely to take place.  The committee will make a decision based on the initial application.  If you are awarded funding, it will be provisional on receipt of a letter from the organization confirming the internship.  If you plans or circumstances change, you will need to resubmit your proposal with the updated information.

If you are applying for funding from other Colby or non-Colby sources, you have an obligation to let us know and provide details.  If you receive funding from one of these sources, you should contact us as soon as possible.

If you are planning to do an internship outside the US, please note that Colby will not sponsor your efforts if the experience is located in a country for which the US government has issued a travel warning or recognizes as a dangerous place.  Please visit the US State Department’s website here for a list of these countries. 

Please do not tie your plans to winning this very competitive award.  You need to make alternative plans in case you are not selected.  The Oak Institute has limited funds to support somewhere between 3 and 5 internships each year and does not have additional funds.