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McCain Institute Junior Fellowships


In an effort to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to pursue careers in democracy and human rights, the McCain Institute implements a junior fellowship program trimesterly. 

Junior fellows have the opportunity to collaborate directly with the subject matter experts that design, implement and evaluate the Institute’s programs in addition to the Institute’s leadership and other key stakeholders.  

Throughout the junior fellowship program, participants can expect to:

  • collaborate and contribute to the development of McCain Institute programming;
  • deepen and develop subject matter expertise;
  • network and build connections within the foreign policy and international development industries, and
  • gain experience in program design and management which will inform participants’ longer term professional path and goals.

Students who participate in the McCain Institute’s Junior Fellowship Program will receive a stipend at the onset of the program.

Junior Fellowships in Washington, DC


The Fall 2023 Program will run from Tuesday, Sept. 4 through Friday, Dec. 8. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 21, 2023.

The Spring 2024 Program will run from Tuesday, Jan. 16 through Friday, May 3. The deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 17, 2023.

The Summer 2024 Program will run from Tuesday, May 21 through Friday, August 9. The deadline to apply is Monday, March 15, 2024.


In Washington, There Are Five Programs At The McCain Institute Which Junior Fellows Collaborate With:

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 and Kelsey Syms

The Democracy Programs are 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, Pedro Pizano, and Julia Ellings

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

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, Rachel Neilson, Ashleigh Bowers, Rachel Hunkler, and Neil Saul

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, Cole Davis, Patrick McCann, Colin Denniston, and Sara Perry


Applicant Profile:

In order to be eligible for the McCain Institute Junior Fellowship program, candidates must meet the requirements outlined below:

  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate academic program in the United States;
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of the McCain Institute; and
  • Ability to successfully complete a background check.

To Apply:

In order to apply, candidates should submit a CV, statement of interest not to exceed two pages, and two letters of recommendation in a single PDF to [email protected].

The statement of interest should indicate which program the applicant is interested in supporting if selected to participate in the program.

Junior Fellowship 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