Fellows.

Tiffany Lebrón '11, Allison Chan '11, and Sean Mulligan '11 at mouth of the Nile River.

Become a Summer Human Rights Fellow

Here you will find information on how to apply to be a Summer Human Rights Fellow, including fellowship requirements, funding information, and the application procedure.

Requirements & Application Procedures

BHRC Summer Human Rights Fellowships are granted annually to a select number of highly motivated UB School of Law students committed to combining practical field work experience and scholarly inquiry in the human rights field. As a requisite, applicants must have taken or commit to take Human Rights law in their 2L year.

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Fellows work over the course of a summer with a not-for-profit non-governmental or intergovernmental entity engaged in rights-based work on behalf of impacted communities. Human rights-based work is defined broadly, and includes legal advocacy, individual and community claim-making, political organizing, rights-based monitoring, legal research, and community awareness-raising,  in which the dignity, security, equality, and participation of people and communities are placed at the center of democratic policy choices and decision-making. Rights addressed may include those affecting, inter alia, access to food, housing, healthcare, education, information, security, and equal treatment, as well as appropriate physical and mental treatment, access to remedies and courts, freedom of speech and association, culture, accountability and participation, and/or other rights to equality on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, social condition, or any other status. 

Fellowship Requirements

  1. Minimum Hours of Field Work.  Fellows must complete a minimum of 280 hours of rights-based field work under the supervision of an approved organization or supervisor. 280 hours are the equivalent of 8 weeks at 35 hours/ week.
  2. Supervisor Assessment. Fellows must ask their supervisor to write a thorough evaluation of their work at the end of their stay with the host organization. This evaluation should be emailed directly to Prof. Tara Melish, Director of the Buffalo Human Rights Center.
  3. Presentation of Work to UB Community. Fellows will have the opportunity to present their field work experience to the UB community in at least one panel forum with a view to enhancing community awareness of human rights issues, challenges, and work opportunities. They will be encouraged to consider adapting their research papers into student comments/notes for the Buffalo Law Review or Buffalo Human Rights Law Review. Fellows will be required to present their field work experience to the UB community in at least one panel forum with a view to enhancing community awareness of human rights issues, challenges, and work opportunities. They will be encouraged to consider adapting their research papers into student comments/notes for the Buffalo Law Review or Buffalo Human Rights Law Review.

Finding Placements

Applicants are responsible for identifying and directly contacting the human rights organizations with which they would like to work and in requesting placements consistent with the fellowship guidelines and with their interests and aptitudes. Within this process, the Buffalo Human Rights Center will provide assistance, as needed, in identifying appropriate organizations to those who have been accepted to the human rights fellowship program. The process of identifying an appropriate organization should begin as soon as possible.

Placement Logistics

Fellows are responsible for making their own travel and living accommodation arrangements.

Funding

Funding will be based on need of the applicant, up to $5,000 for international posts; and up to $4,000 for domestic posts (to cover travel and living expenses). A budget will be requested before funds are dispersed.

Alternative Sources of Funding

The BHRC summer human rights fellowship program is a highly selective program in which not all 1L and 2L students interested in summer human rights work will be able to participate. For those who have not been selected as a 2022 Summer Human Rights Fellow, the University at Buffalo School of Law has several summer funding/ fellowship opportunities available to supplement your summer public interest work. These fellowships may be applied to during the Spring 2022 semester. For more information, please visit: Summer Public Interest Funding & Fellowship Program

Students may not receive BHRC Fellowships two years in a row but may receive BHRC Fellowship funding one year and additional summer funding/ fellowships in another. All BHRC Fellow applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in Buffalo Public Interest Law Program (BPILP) fundraising activities throughout their law school career.

Application Procedures

Submission Deadline: Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022. Please apply via the online form.

Applications must include a:

1. Curriculum vitae (resume)

2. Statement of Interest and Internship Proposal: Description of proposed field of work, human rights interests and background.

  • In the style of a professional cover letter, addressed to the BHRC Summer Human Rights Fellowship Selection Committee, your letter should describe:
  1.  The thematic issue(s) or area(s) of human rights law that you would most like to engage and why, and the non-profit organizations to which you plan to apply.
  2.  The general type of field work you are most interested in engaging, including examples of the kind of organization with which you most wish to work and the types of legal skills you want to develop (and why).
  3.  The specific area, country or region you desire to work, and why.
  4.  What you hope to get out of the fellowship and how it relates to your professional ambitions and trajectory.
  5.  Any background or experience you might have in the human rights and social justice fields, including relevant coursework.

3. Unofficial Transcript

4. Funding is contingent on securing a placement with an approved organization.