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 to ask to receive specific reports electronically.

Applying for the Kirby Simon Summer Fellowship

Applications are usually due in March and require a proposal, résumé, letter from a sponsoring organization confirming the student’s summer work assignment, and list of references. Before applying, students must meet with Jim Silk, Hope Metcalf, or Soo-Ryun Kwon. Contact the Schell Center for application information and to sign up for meetings.

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.