Free Expression Programs Internship – D.C.

PEN America’s Washington, D.C. office seeks motivated interns to support our work promoting free expression and supporting writers at risk in the United States and around the world. This work includes research and advocacy on U.S. and global free expression issues, including press freedom, fraudulent news, digital rights, surveillance and privacy rights, whistleblower protections, access to information, and other issues. This internship will operate from our D.C. office on a hybrid schedule during normal business hours. Applicants needing a fully virtual arrangement are also welcome to apply and should indicate this requirement in their application.

Interns will have the opportunity to draft advocacy materials including press releases, memos, and briefing papers; interact with congressional offices, the executive branch, and other nonprofit organizations; and help organize events in Washington. Interns will help manage a database of key contacts in Washington (congressional and executive branch, media, and civil society organizations).

A limited number of paid internships are available through our Centenary Internship program and would require a commitment of 15-20 hours/week over 26 weeks, and would pay $15/hour for hours worked. All internships are also eligible for college credit.


Interns will provide support for the Washington, D.C. office, including the following tasks:

  • Work closely with the Washington director and senior manager of legislative affairs to track and respond to current events related to free expression issues in the United States and abroad
  • Draft press and advocacy materials, social media, and web content
  • Support legislative outreach
  • Conduct research and prepare memos
  • Conduct research on writers facing severe threats globally
  • Help organize events and provide logistical support 
  • Explore issues of personal interest related to PEN America’s mission

Desired Attributes:

  • Demonstrated commitment to the principles of free expression
  • Superb writing skills, including the ability to craft clear, user-friendly language
  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Keen logistical eye for details and excellent organizational skills
  • Strong familiarity with social media platforms
  • Knowledge of U.S. or global human rights and free expression issues
  • Fluency in Google Drive and other applications on G Suite
  • High energy and efficiency
  • Strong work ethic
  • Meticulous attention to deadlines
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an aptitude for collaboration, creativity, and initiative

Application Periods:

Be sure to include the dates of your availability with your application.

  • Fall Internship: Please submit your application between July and September
  • Winter/Spring Internship: Please submit your application between November and January
  • Summer Internship: Please submit your application between March and May

To apply:

Please email your resume and a cover letter explaining your interest to Laura Schroeder, Senior Manager, Legislative Affairs, at [email protected] Please include the cycle you’re applying for, and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Fall FEP D.C. Internship – Jane Doe”).

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.