The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University offers internship opportunities for college students and recent graduates in Washington, DC. The Institute provides an unlimited transportation stipend to all students who participate in its internship program.

Interns at the McCain Institute make a direct impact on program development and execution and are offered opportunities to work collaboratively across the organization alongside all levels of staff. Participation in the McCain Institute Internship program places students in the heart of the nation’s capital, giving them access to some of the top foreign policy leaders and allowing them to gain hands-on experience in program development and management while developing a professional skill set necessary for a successful career in Washington, DC.

McCain Institute Interns are asked to commit to 20 or more office hours a week. Internships are offered on a trimester schedule: fall semester (September – December), spring semester (January – April) and summer semester (May – August).


2019 Summer Interns meet Nicolae Popescu, the new Foreign Minister of Moldova

Internships in Washington, DC


Spring 2021 Internship Program: Tuesday, January 19 to Friday, April 30
Deadline to Apply: Monday, November 16, 2020

Summer 2021 Internship Program: Tuesday, June 1 to Friday, August 6
Deadline to Apply: Monday, March 22, 2021

Fall 2021 Internship Program: Tuesday, September 7 to Friday, December 3
Deadline to Apply: Monday, July 19, 2021

Spring 2022 Internship Program: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 to Friday, April 29, 2022
Deadline to Apply: Monday, November 15, 2021


In Washington, there are eight programs at the McCain Institute which interns support and assist:

The Combatting Human Trafficking program educates, raises awareness and implements action-based solutions to end modern slavery. Through collaborative partnerships, critical research and direct engagement with innovative programs, the Institute develops and deploys strategies to combat all forms of human trafficking at local, state, national and international levels.
The Team: Kristen Abrams, Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia, Joanna Jauregui, Claire Sechler Merkel, Lindsay Murphy, Sarah Southey and Kelsey Syms

The Human Rights and Democracy program is dedicated to advancing human rights, dignity, democracy and freedom in the United States and around the world.
The Team: Paul Fagan, Luke Englebert and Berivan Orucoglu

Leadership Programs is committed to identifying, training, supporting, networking and fostering the growth of the next generation of global leaders.
The Team: Ambassador Michael PoltGeneral Ben Freakley, Ambassador Edward O’DonnellRachel Hunkler, Addie Fairley and Ashleigh Bowers

Education Programs are committed to empowering students to be future leaders in the global arena through a range of educational programming executed in partnership with Arizona State University. This intern will provide research and support for all education programs, including the Washington Policy Design Studio and Master’s Program International Affairs and Leadership.
The Team: Ambassador Michael Polt, Ambassador Edward O’Donnell and Ashleigh Bowers

The National Security & Counterterrorism program strives to deliver tangible change in the environment that feeds global extremism and develop relationships with international partners who share our commitment to countering terrorism with all of the tools at our disposal.
The Team: Nicholas Rasmussen, Brette Steele and Johannah Lowin

The International Rule of Law & Security program has two components: academic and operational. The academic component instructs students on the development of rule of law and good governance in transitional and post-conflict states while the operational component is a focal point for securing and implementing development projects in the areas of rule of law and governance.
The Team: Ambassador Clint Williamson, Julia Fromholtz, Fron Nahzi, Kaleigh Scwalbe and Jacob Kostrzewski

The Communications and Events program plays a critical role in creating and shaping the Institute’s communications and social media strategy and aids in execution of Institute events.
The Team: Luke Knittig, Staci McDermott, Patrick McCann and Cole Davis

The Finance and Operations team administers the Institute’s daily business responsibilities while overseeing the financial and organizational management of the Institute.
The Team: Caitlin Battey, Nicole Brown, Joe Finedore and Virginia Pounds


2019 Summer Interns attend a congressional hearing on the Myanmar Human Rights Crisis at the Rayburn House building

Position Responsibilities: 

  • Research various issues such as human rights and democracy; ethics, values and leadership readings to supplement the Leadership Programs curriculum development; and international rule of law, good governance, transitional justice, counterterrorism, national security and other relevant topics;
  • Attend meetings and events and provide written summaries;
  • Represent the Institute at events, conferences and seminars to learn about ongoing work done in relevant areas;
  • Track media sources for relevant stories that will be sent out via the Institute’s social media platforms, including daily Twitter posts;
  • Support event planning and execution;
  • Create content for McCain Institute social media channels and blog;
  • Assist with domestic and international reimbursements;
  • Contribute to the production of monthly financial reports, analysis and distribution; and
  • Perform other tasks as required.


  • Demonstrated interest in foreign policy, character-driven leadership, human rights and democracy, civic engagement, international security and counterterrorism;
  • Ability to work independently and exercise excellent judgment;
  • Must be highly organized, able to balance multiple priorities, meet deadlines and work well in a team-oriented environment;
  • Excellent writing skills and attention to detail;
  • Previous experience using social media platforms: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc.;
  • General office, event and program support and administrative responsibilities;
  • Comfortable interacting with high-level professionals and officials regularly; and
  • Other duties as assigned.


To Apply:

Email a cover letter, resume, two-page writing sample and two references in a single PDF to [email protected]. Please state in your cover letter the position for which you are applying.


Intern Testimonial:

“My internship experience flew by! Everyone at the Institute was incredibly friendly and helpful. Meeting with the different directors and senior advisors throughout the Institute just to ask questions and learn about their experience was extremely transformative. Even meeting with those who worked in departments that were not necessarily relevant to my interests was great because I was able to learn even more!”

-Shirin Atayeva, 2019 International Rule of Law & Security Intern