The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University offers part-time and full-time internship opportunities for college students and recent graduates in Washington, DC. Participants in our internship program are eligible for academic credit.

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 that will enable their future professional success.

Professional and career development are central components to the Institute’s Internship program, which includes educational brown bag sessions with members of senior staff, as well as resume and cover letter review sessions.

Students are asked to commit at least 20 office hours a week if selected for the Institute’s Internship Program.

The Institute’s Internship Program operates on a trimester schedule:

  • Fall Semester (September – December)
  • Spring Semester (January – May) 
  • Summer Semester (May – August)

Internships in Washington, DC


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

Summer 2022 Program: Monday, June 6, 2022 – Friday, August 12, 2022
Deadline to Apply: Monday, March 21, 2022

Fall 2022 Program: Tuesday, September 6, 2022 – Friday, December 9, 2022
Deadline to Apply: Monday, June 27, 2022

Spring 2023 Program: Tuesday, January 17, 2023 – Friday, May 5, 2023
Deadline to Apply: Friday, November 18, 2022

Summer 2023 Program: Monday, June 5, 2023 – Friday, August 11, 2023
Deadline to Apply: Monday, March 13, 2023


In Washington, There Are Five 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, Joanna Jauregui, Claire Sechler Merkel, Susan Powell 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, Berivan Orucoglu and Pedro Pizano.

Leadership Programs is committed to identifying, training, supporting, networking and fostering the growth of the next generation of global leaders.
The Team: Scott Nemeth.

Preventing Targeted Violence program develops action-based solutions to end targeted violence nationally and internationally. The McCain Institute collaborates with community stakeholders and industry leaders to develop actionable policy recommendations, build the capacity of local prevention practitioners, and foster innovation.
The Team: Brette Steele, Marlene Sallo, Ashleigh Bowers, Addie Fairley and Rachel Hunkler.

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



Position Responsibilities:

  • Research various issues such as human rights and democracy; ethics, values and leadership; 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. You may apply for multiple programs.

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