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 fellowships are generally 12 - 14 week, unpaid positions 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 Spring 2016 Fellowship session will begin on January 11th and end on May 6th.  Applications for the Spring 2016 Fellowship session will close December 1, 2015. If you have any questions, please email hr@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. All fellowship positions are unpaid, and most are designed as full-time positions. 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 a 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.  For any other inquiries, please email us at the same address as above. 
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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 volunteer positions.  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, accepted fellows will be given a monthly travel stipend. 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, the Washington, D.C. local office, and the Newark, NJ office each session.  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’s 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?

The dress code is business casual Monday through Thursday and casual on Fridays.
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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 generally consists of current or recently graduated undergraduate and graduate students or professionals who are taking time off to contribute their services to this cause.  That said, we welcome individuals of all ages and backgrounds to apply.  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 fellowship, in the past, fellows have worked on grant proposals, research projects, providing client services, and helping with administrative tasks.  For a more detailed description of each position, please see the individual fellowship listing.
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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 work 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 position 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 thirty 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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