Internships - Oak Institute




The Oak Institute for Human Rights offers summer internship funding to allow students to pursue 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.

To prepare your application and apply for funding from the Oak Institute, you may visit the student funding page on the DavisConnects website:

General Info

Applications for Summer Internships will be live on this DavisConnects webpage on March  13, 2023. Students will submit a general application (please visit DavisConnects funding page to prep all essay questions and application materials) in addition to the following questions by April 5, 2023, at 11:59 PM EST. 

How does your experience tie into the mission of the human rights mission of the Oak Institute. Please send a request to a current or former employer willing to give you a reference. They will be asked to fill out a brief questionnaire. Please give them prior notice of your specific plans and explain that references are due by April 5, 2023. The committee will make a decision by April 17, 2023, but funding will be conditional on a positive reference.

Please upload a copy of your unofficial transcript.

Are you applying for funding from any source other than the Oak Institute? If so, indicate the source and how much are you requesting.

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 – JanPlan and Summer awards are open to first-years, sophomores, juniors and seniors. 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 and social justice, 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 your 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 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.

Your plans should not be contingent upon winning this competitive award. Please 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.

Please, email the Director, Valérie M. Dionne ([email protected]) for help finding internships.

Oak Human Rights Internship Program

A program brought to you by the Oak Institute, DavisConnects and Omprakash EdGE

The Oak Human Rights Internship Program seeks to foster critical reflection, dialogue, and action related to the broad theme of human rights across contexts. The program includes global and US-based internships, opportunities for funding, and cohort-based learning via Omprakash EdGE for Summer Internships only.

The program targets currently enrolled Colby students with exceptional academic backgrounds and an inspired commitment to effecting social change. It offers such students the opportunity for guided theoretical and practical engagement with the topic of human rights across differences of culture and power. Students will have access to a number of relevant faculty, visiting professors and activists, research workshops, personalized mentorship provided by Omprakash, and the Oak Human Rights Fellow.

We invite you to submit your preliminary registration below so that you can learn more about the program and begin browsing internship opportunities.  

What Is This?

The Oak Human Rights Internship program helps Colby students connect with human rights focused internship and research opportunities around the world and engage in critical dialogue and reflection about the complexities of defining, promoting and supporting human rights across differences of culture and power. 

The program combines the following elements:

Internships and research opportunities (online or in-person)*  — the Oak Human Rights Internship program supports students as they browse and apply for internships or research opportunities with Omprakash Partners working in the field of human rights. Students are not, however, required to pursue an internship or research position with an Omprakash Partner; it is also possible to intern with an organization outside of the Omprakash network or to undertake an independent research project. 

Online learning, mentorship, and community — all program participants will engage in an EdGE online course called ‘Critical Approaches to Human Rights’ which will help them to reflect upon the complexities of defining, promoting, and supporting human rights across differences of culture and power. This makes it easy for your faculty sponsor (should you choose to register for credit) to track your academic progress throughout the program. Additionally, students will receive guidance and support from an EdGE Mentor to deepen their learning and reflection throughout the summer. 

Digital storytelling to document your Oak Human Rights Internship experience — each student will create a series of multimedia blog posts that eventually form a Digital Portfolio that they can share with faculty sponsors and others; students will present their work at the Oak Human Rights Symposium at the end of the program.

Peer-to-peer learning, optional webinars, and periodic discussion groups to support community-building and critical reflection around human rights and closely related topics.

*Not sure whether you’d prefer to travel or intern remotely during Summer 2022? No problem! This program is designed to be flexible and adaptable to your own schedule and preferences. We encourage you to register below to get started with browsing internship opportunities as soon as possible, but you won’t need to commit to anything until you feel comfortable doing so.

How does it work?

Program Overview & Timing

The Oak Human Rights Internship Program is open for enrollment up through mid-May 2023. We encourage students to register early to make the most of the opportunity and to get started with the process of planning their summer.

The official program period runs from mid-May to September, but students who register early will be able to start as soon as they complete the necessary tasks in the Logistics section.

During the Summer program period, students will:

Participate in a multimedia online classroom exploring essential questions related to justice, rights, and inequality and the complexities of defining, promoting and supporting human rights across differences of culture and power;

Pursue a human rights-focused internship or research position (online or in-person, or possibly hybrid) OR undertake an independent research experience;

Build a portfolio of digital storytelling posts that documents their Summer experience;

Participate in a Digital Symposium at the end of the program to share their work with each other and with a broader audience

Internship Planning

If you are planning to pursue an internship or research position during the summer, you may choose to intern with an Omprakash Partner organization, or find an opportunity outside the Omprakash network. 

For those interested in interning with an Omprakash Partner, you’ll benefit from our expansive network of Partner organizations which includes over 220 grassroots organizations working in fields related to human rights in over 50 countries around the world. You will also receive support and guidance from Omprakash staff throughout the process of browsing and applying for internship positions. 

Internships can be shorter or longer than the official program window. Regardless of when you choose to start your internship, however, we encourage you to begin browsing and applying for internship opportunities as soon as possible. Check out our robust Partner network and search database to get a sense of how this works. 

Academic Credit & Funding

Students will have the option to earn one internship credit for successfully completing the program. The program provides a streamlined process for finding a Faculty Sponsor and registering your summer experience for credit via myColby. 

Toward the end of April, the Oak Institute will confirm its funding allocations to interns (based on merit and need). Note that participation in this program is free for all students, but there is no guarantee that everyone will receive additional funding to support their summer experience.

How can I learn more?

In case you missed the info sessions we held in early March, check out this recording from one of the sessions to learn more about the program and how to browse and apply for internships! You can also learn more by registering below.