The Schell Center’s Kirby Simon Summer Fellowships supported by the Robina Foundation provide funding for Yale students to undertake at least six weeks of human rights work during the summer. The fellowships are supported by a generous grant from the Robina Foundation. They honor Kirby Simon, the son of Professor John Simon, who was a foreign service officer and died in 1995 while serving in Taiwan. In recent years, as many as 20 percent of all first-year students have received summer funding from the Schell Center for international human rights work.

Kirby Simon Fellowships cover both travel costs and living expenses. Students submit a single application to the Schell Center and do not need to apply separately for Student Public Interest Fellowship (SPIF) funds. Although any Yale University student may apply for Kirby Simon Summer Fellowship travel support, only law students are eligible for the living expenses component, and applications from non-graduating Yale Law School students receive priority.

Kirby Simon Fellows have worked on a wide variety of issues at non-governmental organizations, international organizations and agencies, and international and foreign courts throughout the world. To see the complete list of summer human rights fellowship placements since 1999, click here.  YLS Students may view summer fellows’ reports from the last five years on SharePoint, the Law School’s secured website. If you would like to see earlier reports, they can be found in the binders in the sitting area outside Jim Silk’s office or you can email schell.law@yale.edu to ask to receive specific reports electronically.

Applying for the Kirby Simon Summer Fellowship


Applications for summer 2017 are due on Monday, April 3. See links below for instructions and application form. Before applying, students must meet with Jim Silk or Hope Metcalf.  Professor Silk will be on sabbatical in the Spring, but you may meet with him through the end of the Fall semester. Please use the office hours application on the Inside Page to schedule an appointment. 

Everyone must submit an application by April 3. If you have not confirmed your summer plans by this date, please submit an application providing tentative information about the plans you think are most likely (or that you are most interested in). We need everyone considering a Kirby Simon Summer Fellowship to provide this information by April 3 so that we have an estimate of the funding we will need for everyone. You may amend your application up to the end of the exam period, May 15. If you are unable to finalize your plans, by that date, please contact the Schell Center.

Download the instructions.

Download the application.

The Schell Center sponsors several panels, workshops, and meetings during the school year to assist students in finding summer projects and to explain the application process.