Ethics Internships & Fellowships

Mayo Clinic

As a result of generous gifts from Jim Vann '50 and Lee Stanton Vann, two Vann Fellowships for biomedical ethics research are available to Davidson College students at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for 10 weeks during the summer. Fellows are selected through a competitive application process. The work of the Vann Fellows is supervised by faculty mentors. They will participate in a biomedical ethics summer curriculum, which includes educational sessions on bioethics research methods and lunch meetings with members of the program faculty. The fellowship award is $5,000 (minus taxes), from which students are responsible for paying their own housing and meals. (Airfare to and from Rochester Minn., is provided by the Mayo Clinic.) Applications for the summer fellowships are typically due in mid-January.

Examples of research topics that might be explored during the fellowship include:

  • Ethical issues in life-sustaining treatments and end-of-life care
  • Research ethics
  • Ethical issues in regenerative medicine and transplantation
  • Alllocation of health care resources
  • Professionalism in medicine and science
  • Ethical issues in genomics and individualized medicine
  • Science and society
  • Research related to clinical ethics consultation

At the conclusion of the summer fellowship term, fellows must report on the work they performed, their findings or insights, and their evaluation of the experience. This may entail a presentation to a committee at the Mayo Clinic as well as one or two presentations at Davidson College in the fall. Email Prof. Dave Perry at, director of the Vann Center, for more information about applying. Applications are available through the Center for Career Development's Handshake.

Human Rights Watch

Two ethics internships at Human Rights Watch (HRW) in New York City are available to Davidson students for nine weeks during the summer, supervised by Zama Coursen-Neff '93, executive director of HRW's Children's Rights Division, and other HRW professional staff. The work may include press monitoring, desk research, drafting short background documents and correspondence, and other projects as they arise. Topics may include: child labor; protecting schools, teachers, and students during armed conflicts; human rights advocacy in various countries; health and disability rights; and other issues. HRW internships often offer direct exposure to the workings of an international human rights organization, interaction with other U.S. and international organizations, and opportunities to attend lectures, trainings, and special events relating to human rights. Applications are typically due in mid-January.

Each internship comes with a $6,000 stipend provided by the Vann Center for Ethics. The interns will receive information from HRW about housing options, but are responsible for arranging their own housing, travel, and meals. At the end of the internship term, the interns must submit to HRW and the Vann Center a 5-page report summarizing and evaluating the work they performed, and make a presentation on campus. Email Prof. Dave Perry at, director of the Vann Center, for more information about applying. Applications are available through the Center for Career Development's Handshake.

Donchian Research Fellowship in Ethics

Two Davidson students in 2015 and 2016 were named Donchian Research Fellows in Ethics, winning $5,000 scholarships to support summer research. The scholarships were provided by the Vann Center for Ethics, funded by grants from the Richard Davoud Donchian Foundation. Stipends of $1,000 were also awarded to members of the Davidson faculty serving as mentors to those students. These summer research projects occupied the students' attention for 8-10 weeks. A Donchian Fellowship will not be available for summer 2017, but email Prof. Dave Perry at, director of the Vann Center, for more information.