Human Rights Internship Program

From the Andes to Uganda, University of Chicago Human Rights interns combat police abuse, research drone attacks, organize with workers for fair conditions, help trafficking victims find new livelihoods, and report on election irregularities. Our interns are all over the world and very close to home...putting theory into practice and creating human rights in action!

The Human Rights Internship Program offers a select group of Chicago students the opportunity to learn the skills and understand the inherent difficulties in putting human rights into practice. Since its establishment in 1998, the Internship Program has helped place more than 350 students with non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, and international bodies around the world. The Internship Program is unique in its flexibility, awarding $5,000 grants to afford all interns the freedom to explore their interests, whether thematic or regional in focus.

For more information:

New York, New York, USA

Alexandria Wilkins

Alexandria Wilkins

Alexandria is working with a non-profit social responsibility and educational organization, the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility. She teaches a weekly class on social responsibility, as well as aiding in the planning and research of 4th- and 5th-grade curricula for the upcoming school year.

Dearborn, Michigan, USA

Andrea Haidar

Andrea Haidar

Andrea is interning at Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Dearborn, Michigan. ACCESS a nonprofit agency that advocates for and empowers the diverse individuals, families, and communities in the metro Detroit area. ACCESS honors a commitment to Arab American heritage while providing a wide range of health and human services, employment services, youth programs, and educational and cultural programs. Andrea is working in particular with the Youth & Education department and the Arab American National Museum, which is a subsidiary of ACCESS.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Ashley Cureton Turner

Ashley Cureton Turner

Ashley’s internship is at GirlForward, a non-profit organization in Chicago. GirlForward provides adolescent refugee girls with individual mentorship, educational programs, and leadership opportunities. GirlForward creates a community of support that serves as a resource and empowers girls to be strong, confident, and independent.

Chicago, Illinois / Oakland, California, USA

Ava Benezra

Ava Benezra

Ava is working on two projects aiming to address issues related to policing and racial profiling. The first half of her internship focuses on a campaign to reform the University of Chicago Police Department. In particular, she hopes to build a coalition of community members interested in working to address this concern. She takes a different approach to police reform in the second half of the internship, working in Oakland's Police Department viewing tapes of on-foot and traffic stops to note patterns in officer behavior.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Emma LaBounty

Emma's internship is at IIRON (formerly the Illinois-Indiana Regional Organizing Network), a Chicago-based community organization devoted to building power for economic and racial justice.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Grant Buhr

Grant Buhr

Grant’s internship is at the YMCA’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) program. YSVP's summer initiative “Bridging the Divide: A Summer of Dialogue and Creative Action" is part of a long-term strategy to address community violence. It focuses on strengthening the relational groundwork of traditionally tense relationships between youth, police, and other community residents. Using a combination of structured stakeholder conversations and creative community projects, the project aims to build the understanding and relational infrastructure to improve neighborhood safety and reduce disproportionate minority contact (DMC) with the juvenile justice system.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Joe Kaplan

Joe Kaplan

Joe works at the Restaurant Opportunities Center in Chicago. He connects restaurant workers to the resources they need in order to organize against exploitative workplace conditions, lost wages, and racist managerial practices. ROC has achieved notable success in winning workplace justice campaigns and advocating for a just minimum wage. Workers' rights are human rights!

Portland, Maine, USA

Katharine Sidelnik

Katharine Sidelnik

Katharine Sidelnik is interning at the Justice Policy Program of the Cutler Institute on Health and Social Policy at the University of Southern Maine. Katharine is researching the process and product of the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Panel over the course of 15 years of investigation into DV homicides. She focuses on recommendations made for law enforcement and recommendations regarding firearms and dangerous weapons, and she aims to have her research paper published in a scholarly journal.

Boston, Massachusettes, USA

Kelsey Reid

Kelsey Reid

Kelsey is interning with the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, a research organization and NGO that seeks to foster collaboration between scholars, NGOs, and policy makers on gender equitable policy in armed-conflict zones. The Consortium advises reforms to NGO and the UN Security Council policies and practices to better engage women and girls in peacebuilding initiatives and more effectively protect women and girls in armed-conflict regions from violence.

Austin, Texas, USA

Lucia Ramirez-Bolivar

Lucia Ramirez-Bolivar

Lucia Ramírez-Bolívar is interning at American Gateways, a organization that provides legal and educational services to immigrants who need to navigate the complex immigration system. Their clients are asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, victims of family violence, long-term residents facing removal to their home countries, and DREAMers. Lucia works in the Asylum and Detention Assistance Program updating research reports about the situation of undocumented immigrants at detention centers. She also supports an outreach and advocacy program.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Matt Kellner

Matt Kellner

Matt is working at Innocence Project New Orleans, a nonprofit law office dedicated to freeing innocent people in Louisiana and Mississippi jails and preventing wrongful convictions. Under a staff attorney, he investigates cases for some of IPNO's clients. In addition, Matt is visiting and corresponding with incarcerated clients, as well as screening inmate requests for assistance.

New York, New York, USA

Maya Goldman

Maya Goldman

Maya is interning at the Vera Institute's Center on Youth Justice, which works closely with government agencies to reform juvenile justice policy in New York and keep children and teens in school and in their communities. CYJ aims to prevent youth who have committed low-level offenses from entering the juvenile justice system. One method of improving the treatment of status offenders is the Center's Status Offense Reform Center, an online resource that Maya is primarily in charge of during the summer. Maya is conducting interviews for the site as well as incorporating guest blogs into the SORC. Maya also assists with Youth Futures, an initiative that works to improve employment and education prospects for system-involved youth in Chicago, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Melissa Noe

Melissa Noe

Melissa’s internship is at Latino Policy Forum, a non-profit organization in Chicago that conducts analysis to improve education outcomes, advocate for affordable housing, and promote just immigration policies, with an understanding that advancing Latinos advances a shared future. Melissa is assisting in research and program implementation that assesses, as well as ensures, access to safe, secure, habitable, and affordable housing for Latinos in Chicago.

Rikers Island, New York, New York, USA

Sofia Flores

Sofia Flores

Sofia is working at the New York Department of Corrections through an Osborne Association program entitled ABLE. She is working with adolescent detainees, leading educational and recreational programming that fosters positive development.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Tovia Siegel

Tovia Siegel

Tovia is organizing around education and safety with the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a community organization devoted to building power in order to combat problems related to education, safety, housing, health, and immigration in southwest Chicago neighborhoods. She is organizing with youth through the TeenReach or VOYCE programs and creating programming in the neighborhood to engage blocks and reduce violence. She is also researching police practices in the neighborhood.

São Paulo, Brazil

Daniel Ramirez-Raftree

Daniel Ramirez-Raftree

Daniel is interning at Brasil de Fato, a progressive newspaper that acts as a voice for many of Brazil's social movements. He assists with daily operations, translates articles into English, and dedicates much of his time to connecting with and volunteering for local social movements.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Daniela Tolchinsky

Daniela Tolchinsky

Daniela is interning for the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), which promotes the effective exercise of human rights, justice, and social inclusion at a national and international level. She is primarily responsible for classifying and analyzing U.S. State Department and CIA documents found in the National Security Archive, specifically in regard to Operation Condor. She is also investigating reference to companies suspected of complicity in crimes against humanity.

Florencia, Caquetá, Colombia

Erin McFee

Erin McFee

Erin is working with Colombian "receiving communities," areas that have a mix of civilian populations and individuals who demobilized from illegal armed groups. She focuses on the daily practices of forgiveness and reconciliation in local contexts. Over three months, she is developing policy recommendations for the Governor's Office of Caquetá regarding the lived daily experience of (in)security and the role that this experience plays in the state's peacebuilding processes. She analyzes various actors' understandings of citizen security, tracking who is responsible for which aspects of this common mandate.

Europe

No interns this year

Casablanca, Morocco

Jeanne Chauffour

Jeanne Chauffour

Jeanne is interning with the Association de la Lutte Contre le SIDA (ALCS - "Association for the fight against AIDS") in Casablanca, Morocco. As headquarters of ALCS, the Casablanca office works on education, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS with vulnerable populations. While other city offices focus on immigrants, the Casablanca office works with networks of female sex workers in urban areas. Located within the medical school campus in Casablanca, ALCS provides lobbying training for volunteers to defend PLHIV rights both at the local and national level.

Abuja, Nigeria

Motolani Akinola

Motolani Akinola

Tolani is working with the Civil Society for Family Planning (CiSFP), a small, grass-roots-level organization located in Abuja, Nigeria. She is mainly conducting research on severe complications during pregnancy (defined as maternal deaths or maternal near misses) in addition to the availability of essential interventions within Abuja's health care facilities. In addition, she is assisting in family planning counseling and other outreach initiatives aimed at improving maternal health. Other duties include developing communications materials, studying the effectiveness of CiSFP's programs in relation to improving maternal health, and tracking CiSFP's liaisons with other reproductive health organizations.

Monrovia, Liberia

Zean Dunbar

Zean Dunbar

Zean's internship is at the Angie Brooks International Centre. The Centre aims to provide training and transparency in order to maintain a safe and peaceful election season during the nation's upcoming senatorial elections. Through this work, the Centre promotes women's empowerment and leadership.

Russia

No interns this year

Nablus, Palestine

Alyssa Bivins

Alyssa Bivins

Alyssa is teaching with Windows for Peace, an organization that serves the Balata Refugee camp in the West Bank of Palestine. As an non-profit working with both Palestine and Israel, Windows aims to educate youth for peace by supplying them with tools for self-expression, venues for open discussion, and high-quality education opportunities.

Jodhpur, India

Isabella Mckinley-Corbo

Isabella Mckinley-Corbo

Isabella is interning with the Sambhali Trust, a community-based NGO operating in the city of Jodhpur, India and surrounding villages. Sambhali Trust works to expand opportunities for Dalit (lower-caste) women and girls by directly providing them with formal education, vocational training, and access to counseling and support groups. This summer, Isabella will assist Sambhali in maintaining and developing its empowerment programs, as well as working on grant-writing and fundraising projects to ensure future sustainability.

Amman, Jordan

Melissa Gatter

Melissa Gatter

Melissa will be working at the Collateral Repair Project in Amman, Jordan and the Orphan Welfare Association in the Baqa'a refugee camp. Her time with CRP will be focused on providing educational and financial assistance to Iraqi and Syrian refugees. On the weekends, Melissa will be leading English classes and recreational activities for young Palestinian refugees living in Baqa'a.

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Miriam Shestack

Miriam Shestack

Miriam is working at the AFL-CIO Solidarity Cetner office in Colombo, which supports projects concerning migration and human trafficking, gender equity, and labor union rights in South Asia. The Solidarity Center's mission is to help build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent, and democratic unions.

Mumbai, India

Trace Chaplin

Trace Chaplin

Trace is interning for the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC). The MSHRC uses education, information, and publicity to promote, protect and enforce human rights in Mumbai, India. Trace is researching access to water in the slums and pavement dweller communities of Mumbai. Her report will document human rights violations and analyze potential policy mechanisms for the redressal and enforcement of the human right to water.

Wuhan, China

Cindy Ji

Cindy Ji

Cindy Ji is working with the Wuhan University Medical Education Reform Project, led by Dr. Sherer and the Section of Infectious Disease and Global Health at the Pritzker School of Medicine. WUMER addresses healthcare reform in China by reforming medical education curriculum and methodology. She is assisting research that evaluates the implementation and cross-cultural implications of a new Ethics, Professionalism, and Doctor-Patient Relationships program. Also, she is collecting a series of oral narratives with senior physicians and healthcare workers who discuss the challenges and changes in China's healthcare system over the past decades—as well as the possibilities for future healthcare reform.

Taipei, Taiwan

Jacqueline Thanh

Jacqueline Thanh

Jacquie is interning with a community NGO, The Garden of Hope Foundation, in Taipei, Taiwan. The organization works towards cultivating a future where women and girls are free from sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. She is facilitating a trauma-informed photo-narrative workshop with migrant women and girls in domestic shelters throughout Taiwan.

Singapore, Singapore

Nissa Mai

Nissa Mai

Nissa has a research internship at Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), a Singaporean NGO that promotes the fair treatment of low-wage migrant workers. In addition to providing direct services to workers requiring medical or legal assistance, TWC2 engages in policy advocacy to improve migrant labor laws as well as education efforts to publicize exploitation and abuse. This summer, Nissa is researching the impact of a new law which is supposed to grant domestic workers a day off and gathering information about setting up a domestic workers' shelter.

Oceania

No interns this year