Internships & Externships 

INTERNSHIP APPLICATION

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The Internship and Externship Program at CAIR-Chicago offers students a great opportunity to learn, interact, and grow in a friendly and diverse environment. Our program is career-oriented and based in grassroots activism.

The internship and externship program at CAIR-Chicago is continuously expanding its university and college partnerships with local, state, regional and national institutions. Our program is currently connected with over 120 institutions of higher learning. This includes several of the largest and most renowned college networks, consortia and university systems such as the Carnegie Research I schools, the Ivy League, University of California system, University of Texas system, and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). We hosted international interns, externs and fellows (hailing from China, New Zealand, Argentina, the Netherlands, Egypt, Russia, and the United Kingdom in recent years).

In addition, we feature fellowships through partner organizations, such as the renowned Public Interest Law Interest (PILI) fellowship for recent law school graduates studying for the state bar exam, and the New American Democracy Project (NADP) for voter registration organizers during general and midterm election seasons.

WHY JOIN CAIR-CHICAGO?

Opportunities are available throughout the year for all students to apply—full-time or part-time, undergraduate or graduate, all majors, and even high school students. Interns can earn academic credit or community service hours, or simply enrich their experience and insight to advocacy and civil rights efforts.

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

Click here to download a PDF of the application

A complete application consists of the following documents submitted by email:

1. Application Form, signed and dated with all spaces filled with the most updated information and truthful responses, and submitted through email only;

2. Cover Letter that specifies the position you’re applying and session (i.e., Winter-Spring, Summer, or Fall) you’re applying for, as well as your interests and qualifications;

3. Resumé that lists your most relevant and updated profile and contact information; and

4. Samples (Department/Division administrators may require to submit at least one of the following samples)

o Writing Sample, [Civil Rights] a drafted legal document or essay that reflects civil rights and advocacy as it pertains to CAIR-Chicago’s scope (max. 15 pages). [All other departments] an original work (2-3 pages) not submitted for academic course work that reflects CAIR-Chicago's scope as it pertains to the applied position; OR

o Portfolio, [Communications or Operations] a display of completed works displaying skills, interests and perspective that also reflects CAIR-Chicago's scope as it pertains to the applied position.

Applications and required documents must be submitted by email only to the relevant department. See below.

Civil Rights Department: Phil Robertson at probertson@cair.com

Government Affairs Division: Gerald Hankerson at ghankerson@cair.com.

Communications Department: Saadia Pervaiz at spervaiz@cair.com.

Operations Department: Siham Naser snaser@cair.com.

Outreach Department: Gerald Hankerson at ghankerson@cair.com.

Research Department: Muhammad Akbar at makbar@cair.com.

Applicants must clearly indicate which internship session and position they are applying for in the cover letter. Applications that do not state this information may not be processed.

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ACADEMIC CREDIT & COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS

Students interested in receiving academic credit (college) or community service hours (high school) should indicate so in their cover letters. Credit may be arranged during the first week of the academic term.

QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS

For general inquiries, email Gerald Hankerson, Outreach Coordinator.

High School, Undergraduate, Recent College Graduate (Associate’s or Bachelor’s) ghankerson@cair.com.

Graduate (Master’s or Law School) ghankerson@cair.com.

If you are selected as an interview candidate, contact the department/division administrator for the position you are applying for.

TIMELINE & MINIMUM EXPECTATIONS

CAIR-Chicago’s internship and externship program is open throughout the year, offering over 20 specialties to cultivate young professionals and activists. Considering high school and college academic calendars, each session generally runs between the following months, though this may be adjusted depending on your availability:

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Winter-Spring: January – May Summer: May – September Fall: September – December

SELECTION PROCESS

There is a specified time period to submit applications for each session, with the last date set as the official deadline. Since posts are filled as soon as candidates are selected and they choose to accept the internship or externship, it is strongly recommended to submit applications as soon as possible.

Applicants should be contacted within five (5) business days of sending their complete applications. If an applicant is identified as a viable candidate for the program, an interview is scheduled. Candidates may be asked for additional documents to compliment their applications prior to their interview.

CAIR-Chicago should notify the candidate of its decision within two (2) business weeks of the interview. Candidates must respond whether they accept or reject to join the program within one (1) business week. Each department/division accepts a minimum of four team members each session.

SCHEDULE REQUIREMENT

Based on the level of formal education, CAIR-Chicago has established a minimum hourly and weekly schedule requirement for individuals accepted into the program.

Undergraduate/Graduate: Individuals who have attained at least a high school diploma or G.E.D. will be required to complete at least 12 weeks with a minimum of 12 hours per week.

High School: Students in grades 9-12 will be required to complete at least eight (8) weeks with a minimum of 10 hours per week.

All individuals: Individuals who are selected but are available to complete less than the required hours stated above will be invited to join CAIR-Chicago’s Volunteer Activist (VA) Program. Please visit the Volunteer Center to learn more and sign up.

ORIENTATION & TRAINING REQUIREMENT

It is required for each intern, extern, and fellow to attend the mandatory orientation and departmental training sessions. Failure to fulfill this requirement will void the internship opportunity.

COMPLETION

Upon completing a minimum of 12 weeks in the internship or externship program, each of the program’s alumni must complete an exit interview with their supervisors for a final evaluation of their performance. They will also be given the opportunity to share feedback of their experience, and share suggestions to improve the program. Alumni who completed their internships and externships with high regards may be invited to return for future sessions, given their availability and the organization’s needs.


Available Internships

Currently, the six following internships are being offered: 

 

1. CIVIL RIGHTS

Our Civil Rights Department handles cases that range from prejudiced gestures to full-blown discrimination. Our clients are Muslims, as well as members from other faith communities who have had Islam imputed upon them. Law Clerks and interns assist in several projects that highlight distinct civil rights issues that range from citizenship delays to securing the rights of Muslims to practice their religion freely in the public sphere, schools, places of employment, prisons, and other institutions.

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INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION

Interns and Externs will work closely with the Civil Rights Director, Litigation Director, and/or Staff Attorney on resolving cases of discrimination reported to CAIR-Chicago. Internships are open to undergraduate students or graduate students not enrolled in a J.D./L.L.M. program. Externships are limited to Law Students enrolled in a J.D./L.L.M. program (or who have completed one of these programs). In order to ensure that each intern, extern, and fellow’s experience is maximized, each Civil Rights team member will be required to develop and train in the following core specialties:

1. Intake Processing 2. Legal & Policy Research 3. Administrative Assistance

Essential duties and responsibilities may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Assist in documenting incidents of religious discrimination by counseling and interviewing complainants regarding their incidents

  • Research laws and policies on employment, student conduct, and immigration procedures, as well as criminal offenses and other areas as seen fit

  • Assist in maintaining the Civil Rights Online Center

  • Update databases containing information about abuses reported to CAIR-Chicago

  • For those proficient in foreign languages primarily spoken by Muslim individuals (Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Spanish), participate in translating for complainants in communications with the Department or during legal proceedings, and translating documents for clients.

Law Clerks (Externs) have the following additional duties and responsibilities:

  • Produce legal writings: draft arguments, memos, complaints, and discovery materials

  • Assist in representing complainants in dispute resolution, EEOC mediation, filing complaints and lawsuits

  • Those who are qualified and obtained the Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 License may also represent individual complainants in court proceedings under the supervision of an attorney in the Department

Qualifications:

  • An original writing sample (maximum 15 pages). For Interns, the sample should relate to CAIR-Chicago’s scope on civil rights and advocacy. For Externs, the sample should comply with legal writing standards, and any topic may be addressed in the document.

  • Organized and demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks

  • Excellent written communication skills and a commitment to serving the community

To apply, please send applications materials to Phil Robertson at probertson@cair.com.

Return to application deadlines.

 

2. COMMUNICATIONS

INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION

Our Communications Department is the face and voice of the CAIR-Chicago chapter, connecting the work done in the office to the greater local, national, and international community. This department holds press conferences; issues press releases and newsletters to thousands of media outlets and local leaders; maintains CAIR-Chicago’s website; updates, grows, and organizes initiatives across social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat; creates official documentaries and publications; contributes journalistic articles regularly; and produces video content for cases and news stories.

Interns work closely with Communications Coordinators Saadia Pervaiz and Asha Binbek in creating content and executing media strategies for CAIR-Chicago. Positions are open to undergraduates and graduates as well as those who possess relevant skills and maintain high levels of self-motivation.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following four main categories (other duties may be assigned):

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 1. Journalism

  • Writing original articles covering local, national, and international breaking news, protests, and issues that are relevant to human rights, civil liberties, social justice and activism, Islamophobia, the Middle East, domestic politics, hyper-policing and surveillance, religion, and other relevant issues.

2. Social Media Marketing + Growth

  • Creating and implementing a social media strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat
  • Creating and managing websites for various organizational projects (e.g., anti-hate campaigns, educational initiatives, blogs, etc.)
  • Developing long-term research projects assisting with the development of qualitative and quantitative reports and analyses of the mainstream news media coverage and popular culture representations of Islam and Muslims

3. Videography + Photography

  • Creating and editing regular video stories and photography projects for website, media, and social media

  • Documenting CAIR-Chicago’s activities, events, and relevant organizational processes through photography and videography

4. Graphic Design

  • Designing flyers and other relevant graphics for newsletters, articles, memes, social media, and website use

Qualifications: 

  • Photography, videography, and/or graphic design experience

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • Understanding of the principles of journalism and research

  • Ability to work independently or as part of a team and under strict time constraints

  • Self-motivated and detail-oriented

  • Experience with web design and relevant skills (Wordpress, HTML, CSS, etc.) is strongly preferred

  • Experience with graphic design and relevant software (Illustrator, Photoshop, etc) is strongly preferred

  • Experience with photography and experience using DSLR cameras and relevant software (Photoshop, etc) is strongly preferred

  • Experience with audio and video production and relevant software (Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Adobe Premiere, etc.) is strongly preferred

To apply, please send a completed application, cover letter, writing sample(s), and portfolio with a minimum of three (3) works illustrating previous photography, videography, and/or graphic design skills to Saadia Pervaiz at spervaiz@cair.com

Return to application deadlines.

 

3. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

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Our Government Affairs Division within the Outreach Department seeks to organize, mobilize, and empower the Muslim community throughout greater Chicagoland and the State of Illinois with long-term civic participation and awareness. Its educational initiatives help community members understand the political system and utilize it to work for their issues. Projects include voter registration drives, community workshops, “know your rights” educational campaigns, and training sessions at mosques and community centers on how to contact and engage local, state and national elected officials.

The division also systematically works to educate political representatives about their Muslim constituents while ultimately engaging these public officials with the Muslim community’s unique issues and concerns. Finally, the division seeks partnerships in coalitions across various demographics to encourage dialogue and understanding, broaden perspectives and appeal, and set actions that will result in fair, proactive policy making that sustains positive effects for all who live in greater Chicagoland, Illinois and the United States.

INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION

Interns will work closely with the Outreach Coordinator on projects and/or daily tasks related to civic engagement and political empowerment for Muslim Americans, and practically all individuals who live in the United States.

In order to ensure that the each intern, extern, and fellow’s experience is maximized, each Government Affairs team member will be required to develop and train in the following core specialties:

1. Community Organizing 2. Civic Engagement 3. Policy Research 4. Administrative Assistance

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):

  • Assist in legislative research and analysis, including building profiles on jurisdictions and elected officials throughout greater Chicagoland and Illinois

  • Research, develop and maintain civic and voter education resources to distribute to the Muslim community

  • Assist in establishing communication and networking with civic groups, offices of elected officials, law enforcement agencies to seek possible collaborative efforts and build long-term partnerships

  • Develop comprehensive strategy to recruit volunteer activists for political campaigns, elections and public awareness initiatives

  • Contribute video logs and written articles to CAIR-Chicago’s website, social networking sites, and official newsletter, The Chicago Activist

Qualifications:

  • Submit an original writing sample (2-3 pages) relating to CAIR-Chicago’s scope on civic engagement that illustrates writing skills, style, voice, and areas of interests

  • Possess excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills; Proficient in research, analytical, reporting, and critical thinking skills; Self-motivated, detail-oriented and excellent organizational skills

  • Possess knowledge and understanding of the Muslim community in greater Chicagoland and Illinois, including policy and other issues on a local, national and international scope

  • Possess adequate experience in recruiting and leading volunteers in initiatives, as well as coordinating events

To apply, please send application materials to Gerald Hankerson at ghankerson@cair.com.

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4. OPERATIONS

The Operations Department manages a variety of tasks and processes in order to facilitate the maintenance and improvement of daily functions within the organization. Internally, this includes HR related tasks, updating organizational records and files, corresponding with government offices and vendors, and directing incoming communication via email and phone to their respective departments. The Operations Department also performs ongoing research and undertakes special projects, in conjunction with the Executive Team, designed to improve CAIR-Chicago’s function and efficiency.

INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION

Interns will work directly with the Operations Coordinator on projects and tasks related to office operations, efficiency and sustainability.

In order to ensure that the each intern, extern, and fellow’s experience is maximized, each Operations team member will be required to develop and train in the following core specialties:

1. Database Design 2. Donor Relations 3. Grant Research & Writing 4. Administrative Assistance

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):

  • Provide assistance with a variety of daily and periodical tasks, including answering the phone, file organization, and compiling information
  • Create and maintain new databases and archives structure of relevant information to supplement organizational activities and knowledge base
  • Audit existing records, files, databases, and web material
  • Research applicable grants and prepare proposals
  • Assist in current fundraising endeavors, including donor outreach, donation processing and follow-up
  • Coordinate efforts between departments to resolve incoming requests

Qualifications:

  • Submit an original writing sample (2-3 pages) relating to CAIR-Chicago’s role as a civil rights organization and advocacy that illustrates writing skills, style, voice, and areas of interests

  • Detail oriented, organized, able to multi-task and demonstrate the ability to follow through the various on-going and newly assigned tasks

  • Strong written, verbal and interpersonal communications skills required

  • Proficiency with MS Office (particularly Excel and Access) and Quickbooks

  • Capable of learning internet applications to document, organize, and perform work assignments

  • Experience in grant research is strongly preferred

To apply, please send application materials to Siham Naser at snaser@cair.com.

Return to application deadlines.

 

5. OUTREACH

Our Outreach Department aims to educate, foster understanding and build bridges between Muslims and the general public in the greater Chicagoland and the State of Illinois. Through such efforts, the department establishes mutually beneficial partnerships through educational and multicultural collaborations with local, state and national organizations and institutions. The department also bolsters CAIR-Chicago’s ability to serve constituents within Muslim communities. To this end, the Outreach Department leads CAIR-Chicago’s youth leadership initiative, internship and volunteer activist programs, interfaith and intercultural initiatives, educational seminars, and civic engagement efforts.

INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION

Interns will work directly with the Outreach Coordinator on projects and tasks related to community outreach, public awareness and development for Muslim Americans, and practically all individuals who live in the United States.

In order to ensure that the each intern, extern, and fellow’s experience is maximized, each Outreach team member will be required to develop and train in the following core specialties:

1. Human Resources 2. Youth Development 3. Community Service 4. Community Relations 5. Interfaith Engagement 6. Public Education

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):

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  • Plan and help administer community events, workshops, forums, and projects
  • Identify and connect with coalitions and groups that share similar interests and scopes as CAIR-Chicago to seek possible collaborative efforts and long-term partnerships
  • Research, profile, and build community relations with Muslim and other faith cultural groups, community organizations, mosques and other institutions for possible
  • Maintain appropriate files, databases, and the online Partners page on CAIR-Chicago’s website
  • Coordinate and conduct presentations and workshops on topics relating to Islam and Muslims
  • Assist in establishing and maintaining partnerships with academic institutions to ensure recruitment and retention for the internship and volunteerism programs

Qualifications:

  • Possess excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills; Proficient in research, analytical, reporting, and critical thinking skills; Self-motivated, detail-oriented and excellent organizational skills
  • Friendly, outgoing, and demonstrate effective leadership and teamwork skills
  • Proficient in research, analytical, reporting, and critical thinking skills; Experienced with public speaking, engaging with diverse faith perspectives and audiences, and articulating a Muslim faith perspective
  • Possess adequate knowledge and understanding of social issues and historical contextual facts related to the Muslim community on a local, national and international scope
  • Experienced in coordinating activities and event planning, particularly workshops, forums and conferences for multicultural and youth audiences
  • Experienced with public speaking, engaging with diverse faith perspectives and audiences, and articulating a Muslim faith perspective
  • Must have a flexible schedule to accommodate occasional events scheduled on weekends and evenings

To apply, please send application materials to Gerald Hankerson at ghankerson@cair.com.

Return to application deadlines.

6. RESEARCH

 

 

Our Research Department is actively involved in creating and supporting research projects that are particularly relevant to the Muslim American community nationally and in greater Chicagoland. Ongoing efforts include the study of the Muslim community’s demographics, institutional profiles, identifying civil rights patterns and trends in various instances of discrimination confronting Muslim Americans daily. The questions that motivate all of our research projects are informed by the relevancy to 1) the Muslim community, 2) CAIR-Chicago departments, and 3) the practical benefit that can be attained through our findings and conclusions.

INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION

The Research Intern will work closely with the Research Coordinator and other staff (as needed) on contributing to the body of research about the Muslim American community in greater Chicagoland and United States, as well as the Islamophobia industry.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):

  • Create and maintain an online portal on entities , issues, trends, and networks of the Islamophobia movement

  • Diligence in fact-finding and fact-checking in initial phases of data gathering

  • Assist in publishing studies based on the department’s original research

  • Expand the department’s development and outreach to the community and general public, as well as civic and educational partners

Qualifications:

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  • Proficient in research, analytical, reporting, and critical thinking skills, with a keen analytical mind that is able to account for variables in research work
  • Possess a strong knowledge of Islam, including beliefs, history, and current sociopolitical trends in context with the Muslim American community on a local, national and international scope
  • Proficient in research, analytical, reporting, and critical thinking skills; Experienced with public speaking, engaging with diverse faith perspectives and audiences, and articulating a Muslim faith perspective
  • Possess excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Self-motivated, detail-oriented and excellent organizational skills
  • Friendly, outgoing, and demonstrate effective leadership and teamwork skills

To apply, please send application materials to Muhammad Akbar at makbar@cair.com.

Return to application deadlines.