What We Do
Tell stories and elevate the voices of the voiceless – unpaid interns.
Serve as a resource and information hub for college and organizations.
We advocate to members of Congress to put an end to unpaid internships.
Educate individuals on the importance of providing paid internship opportunities.
Pay Our Interns is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC. The organization is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and all gifts are tax-deductible, where allowed by law. Your donation allows the team to dedicate themselves fully to the cause and create a meaningful resource for interns around the country.
I’m a first-generation transfer student at American University. I came here after graduating community college. When I got to AU, I felt this immense pressure to intern because it’s the norm for every student here, but I soon realized I just couldn’t afford to not work or to intern for free. During my time here I have shut down the part of me that wishes to intern. I’ve comforted myself by planning to save up money so it can be something that I can afford before I graduate next December. I work 35 hours a week as a nanny, and I am a full time student, so I just can’t imagine interning for free. It’s not an option at all. But I do know that once I graduate, employers might ding me for not having enough “work experience” in what I majored in. As a student, I I shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other.
I am currently doing my third unpaid internship on the Hill, and it has certainly been an arduous process. I have had to work two paid jobs to be able to afford to take these unpaid internships. This manifests in me working 9 AM-12 AM 2-3 days a week, not even including school. In addition to the physical and mental strain, the culture on college campuses is often derisive to students who choose these schedules. Students are skeptical of poor students trying to succeed through the same avenues necessary for non-poor students. Between exhaustion and isolation, accepting an unpaid internship again and again has taken an immeasurable toll on me.