Dawkins Foundation is Now Seeking Interns!

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Are you passionate about separation of church and state?  Are you a skeptic who believes that critical thinking and evidence should guide our understanding of the world instead of blind faith? Are you a diehard fan of Richard Dawkins? Look no further.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and the Secular Coalition for America are seeking part-time or full-time interns to support us in our Washington, DC office.  Interns have the opportunity to help our organizations connect with allies, support our daily operations and work on exciting future projects.

We are looking for proactive, driven, energetic people who are good team players but can also work independently. You must be able to multi-task and work in a fast-paced environment. Experience in research and social media is strongly preferred. People of all faiths and no faith are welcome to apply, as long as you support the mission of the organization.

Internships are unpaid and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please submit a resume and cover letter to edwina@secular.org. IMPORTANT: In the subject line, please provide your name and specify which organization you are applying to (RDFRS or SCA). For example: “John Smith, RDFRS Internship” or “Jane Doe, SCA Internship.”  

Written By: RDFRS
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44 COMMENTS

  1. Why on earth would being a “diehard fan of Richard Dawkins” be a requirement for doing a good job as an intern at the RDFRS? If I was hiring (or looking for free labour, as the RDFRS seems to be), I’d rather the applicants respect the organisation and its goals, not be a “fan” of its founder; fans tend to be blind to certain faults or shortcomings. I’d have thought group-think or hero-worship would be low on the list of the Foundation’s strategies.

    • I entirely agree! I also think Richard Dawkins himsrlf would be less than pleased with this addition to the person spec!In reply to #2 by Jabarkis:

      Why on earth would being a “diehard fan of Richard Dawkins” be a requirement for doing a good job as an intern at the RDFRS? If I was hiring (or looking for free labour, as the RDFRS seems to be), I’d rather the applicants respect the organisation and its goals, not be a “fan” of its founder; fans t…

  2. I used to work in healthcare as a medical technologist and I had an unpaid internship. Many/most of my colleagues from college who were in diverse fields of healthcare did as well. In fact, most Allied Health Care fields (Med Techs, Nuclear Medicine, Respiratory Therapists, etc) had unpaid internships. Perhaps this has changed but in the 1990′s this was standard practice. I am also aware of other disparate fields (such as radio) where this is also standard practice.

    • In reply to #7 by Steven007:

      I used to work in healthcare as a medical technologist and I had an unpaid internship. Many/most of my colleagues from college who were in diverse fields of healthcare did as well. In fact, most Allied Health Care fields (Med Techs, Nuclear Medicine, Respiratory Therapists, etc) had unpaid internshi…

      THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!

      • I’m not applauding the practice, bigJ – indeed I certainly wanted to get paid for my work – just mentioning that this is not some foreign practice, it’s actually pretty standard. And though it may not be central to why it’s done at some institutions, in healthcare most interns are supervised and their work is not accepted until they are thoroughly vetted. Indeed, after 4 years in college with heavy concentrations in the sciences, I learned far more during my year internship at a large teaching hospital than in the previous 4 years, particularly when it came to my actual job.

        I am well aware (and I assume RDFRS is as well) of how certain internships can act as a cover for wage theft, but the bottom line is they are generally just on the job training situations. And while a wage (even minimum wage) would certainly be good, this may be more difficult for a non profit.

        In reply to #8 by bigJ:

        In reply to #7 by Steven007:

        I used to work in healthcare as a medical technologist and I had an unpaid internship. Many/most of my colleagues from college who were in diverse fields of healthcare did as well. In fact, most Allied Health Care fields (Med Techs, Nuclear Medicine, Respiratory Therapi…

        • It’s certainly become pretty standard and shouldn’t be! In the UK there’s a general move to at least pay interns the legal minimum wage, and some former interns have successfully sued to get back-pay. Asking for volunteers is fine, and I’m aware that the RDF is not cash rich so it has to, but I think unpaid internships are unjustified in any circumstances. In reply to #9 by Steven007:

          I’m not applauding the practice, bigJ – indeed I certainly wanted to get paid for my work – just mentioning that this is not some foreign practice, it’s actually pretty standard. And though it may not be central to why it’s done at some institutions, in healthcare most interns are supervised and the…

    • In reply to #7 by Steven007:

      I used to work in healthcare as a medical technologist and I had an unpaid internship. Many/most of my colleagues from college who were in diverse fields of healthcare did as well. In fact, most Allied Health Care fields (Med Techs, Nuclear Medicine, Respiratory Therapists, etc) had unpaid internships. Perhaps this has changed but in the 1990′s this was standard practice. I am also aware of other disparate fields (such as radio) where this is also standard practice.

      Advertising, the industry I am in, is an intern whore. I’ve seen entire departments propped up by the sweat of an ever revolving troop of hopefuls. They don’t realize their free labour is part of the business model. Non essential functions can be handled by non essential people.

      Hell, sometimes major research projects, billed at insane prices, are completely pulled together by interns. It’s good that many C level and management level people, today, are borderline illiterate… including myself! I have no doubt many received the experience they needed to actually get a paying job. Most should have been told they don’t have what it takes (especially in the creative department) before they did all the work.

    • In reply to #14 by connorh:

      Will the RDFRS treat its interns with more respect than it did the volunteer staff of the richarddawkins.net forum?

      I hope so. I also hope the RDFRS manage to avoid the lawsuits that arose last time they attempted hiring diehard fans without a formal employment contract.

  3. In reply to Moderator:

    Sorry, mods. I didn’t think my description of that individual as a mass murderer and war criminal was libelous, necessitating the removal of my post. I sometimes submit comments without thinking what the legal consequences might be. I do accept all responsibility for what I write here if that makes any difference. Apologies again.

  4. I can’t believe all you winey-butt people complaining about unpaid internships. There are lots of students who would jump at a chance for any internship that gets them this kind of experience. This is a NOT FOR PROFIT organization, NOT a Wall Street bank. You complainers should be ashamed of yourselves.

  5. I hope they get one of them to answer the emails you send to the RDF store – twice and CC’d to the general foundation contact email the second time – as they don’t seem to bother doing that despite weeks passing.

  6. Internships usually aren’t paid for. Nothing wrong with that as long as it’s stated clearly ( which it is in this case ).

    That doesn’t mean an internship is worthless to you. It’s a good learning experience, and you get contacts in case you are interested in applying for a payed job.

    Plenty of people need to do an internship, and if you are a fan of Richard Dawkins, or an atheist, etc… this is a nice opportunity to work for an organisation you like ).

    So, i’m sure this is a nice opportunity for some.
    If you just want to make money, maybe they are hiring, but I guess you will need a degree in whatever they are looking for.

    • In reply to #18 by kenny77:

      Internships usually aren’t paid for. Nothing wrong with that as long as it’s stated clearly ( which it is in this case ).

      I’m not sure how true that is, my guess is it’s more true now but back when I used to hire people it wasn’t true at all. We always had interns on the team and they were always paid. Of course this was in IT and for profit so not at all the same. I agree that the current practice of getting free work from unpaid interns is very much abused by a lot of people. My understanding is its the norm in Hollywood and given how much they blow money it seems especially venal to make kids work for free but they can get away with it because there are so many people who want to get into the industry and so few spots available.

      But I agree that in this case it’s silly to make an issue out of it. This is a good cause and it’s very common for non-profits to have unpaid interns, in fact I’ve never heard of any non-profit that pays it’s interns.

  7. “Of course this was in IT and for profit so not at all the same.”

    It’s the same, the term “non-profit” should not be taken to mean the organisation does not make a profit, non-profits are run along the same lines as any other business (or should be), it only means that the profits are re-invested in the organisation or its declared mission.

    Non-profits often rely on volunteers and don’t usually have interns; at least that is my experience, I don’t see any reason why they should not have interns, it is a reciprocal agreement between the intern and the organisation concerned and should (in theory) benefit both parties, particularly in relation to work experience, CV building and employer references.

    Of course, there has been massive and widespread abuse of internships by corporations large and small, which amounts to little more than wage theft in my opinion, but I am not suggesting that is the case here, quite the contrary, I’m sure that this has been carefully thought through, and the benefit to the interns would be significant, however, interns are not unpaid labour, generally, internships should be considered as a training or learning position within organisation, it may well be the first step in a career or the first taste of working life for young people.

    Of course I understand the concerns expressed, but I don’t personally believe that there is a nefarious motive here, but it might have been better PR to state the benefits offered by the internships, the terms and conditions under which they are proffered, and whether there is a designating person within the organisation, who would be responsible for their welfare and professional development.

    • In reply to #20 by ShinobiYaka:

      “Of course this was in IT and for profit so not at all the same.”

      It’s the same, the term “non-profit” should not be taken to mean the organisation does not make a profit, non-profits are run along the same lines as any other business (or should be), it only means that the profits are re-invested i…

      That’s why most are called “not for profit”. Basically, profit isn’t the intention but will take it if we get it; whereas “non profit” means we don’t make a profit.

  8. Apart from the irony of seeking a “diehard fan” who dislikes “blind faith”, the whole idea of wanting young people to work for free because they feel called to the mission of the organisation proposing the deal seems to have been lifted wholesale from the churches. One of the reasons I personally prefer secular systems is that they’ve established fair workplace systems to replace this sort of exploitation in the name of ideology.

    • In reply to #21 by OlivierK:

      the whole idea of wanting young people to work for free because they feel called to the mission of the organisation proposing the deal seems to have been lifted wholesale from the churches. One of the reasons I personally prefer secular systems is that they’ve established fair workplace systems to replace this sort of exploitation in the name of ideology.

      You have no idea what you are talking about. I’ve worked with many secular progressive organizations and they all have unpaid volunteers. It’s how groups like the Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, Amnesty International, the ACLU, and every secular NGO I’ve ever come in contact with get a significant percentage of their resources. Your comment indicates you have no actual experience doing volunteer work, instead you choose to take uninformed cheap shots at people like the Dawkins foundation who are actually trying to do something.

      • In reply to #23 by Red Dog:

        Your comment indicates you have no actual experience doing volunteer work, instead you choose to take uninformed cheap shots at people like the Dawkins foundation who are actually trying to do something.

        You see, this right here is the problem with clairvoyance. It doesn’t work.

        It’s actually my decades of experience volunteering for multiple organisations that informed my comment. If RDFRS wants volunteers, then let them ask for volunteers. Once you get to the point of setting hours of work, asking for resumes, and turning down unsuccessful applicants, then what you have is a JOB, and it’s my very firm belief that jobs should be paid. There are many places in the world where this internship, as advertised, would be illegal.

        • In reply to #26 by OlivierK:

          In reply to #23 by Red Dog:
          You see, this right here is the problem with clairvoyance. It doesn’t work. It’s actually my decades of experience volunteering for multiple organisations that informed my comment.

          It wasn’t a claim of clairvoyance it was simple reason. I know for a fact that non-profit secular groups have unpaid interns. It’s a common practice. I hear and see ads for them all the time and my daughter has had such an internship. So your claim about decades of experience is either a lie or you are incredibly ignorant of the things going around you in such organizations for all those decades.

          .There are many places in the world where this internship, as advertised, would be illegal.

          Name one place. Since there are many you should easily be able to name at least one.

          • In reply to #34 by Red Dog:

            It wasn’t a claim of clairvoyance it was simple reason.

            And yet, you claimed to be able to arrive at a conclusion by simple reason, and you were wrong. Now, when I tell you that your clairvoyance failed, you tell me that you’re so damn sure of your clairvoyance that I must be lying. Stay classy.

            There are many places in the world where this internship, as advertised, would be illegal.

            Name one place. Since there are many you should easily be able to name at least one.

            Australia.

  9. Is this a US thing, unpaid internships? I did a co-op program, and many of my friends did co-op or internships. None of us would have worked these jobs for no pay. Is it because we were in computing and engineering?

    • In reply to #32 by prak:

      Is this a US thing, unpaid internships? I did a co-op program, and many of my friends did co-op or internships. None of us would have worked these jobs for no pay. Is it because we were in computing and engineering?

      Short answer is yes. I made the same comment a while back, I always tried to get a few interns for the lab or to support a project and we always paid them and more than min wage. It’s because in IT the demand for good people still exceeds the supply. It’s the same reason I would often hire people who needed to be sponsored for visas rather than citizens, we just couldn’t find the kind of deep math and cs skills we required from the us citizens.

  10. In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

    Unpaid internships are still legal in Australia under certain conditions. As this internship is full-time and unrelated to a course of study, it would likely fall into the “illegal” pile, although that would have to be tested by the Fair Work Ombudsman. It might get let through if it were specifically of short duration, but an open-ended arrangement would almost certainly breach Australian labour laws.

    • In reply to #40 by OlivierK:

      In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

      Unpaid internships are still legal in Australia under certain conditions. As this internship is full-time and unrelated to a course of study, it would likely fall into the “illegal” pile, although that would have to be tested by the Fair Work Ombudsman. It might get…

      Thank you for the clarification.

  11. Well, RDFRS is a non-profit ( as well as non-prophet) organization. I think an unpaid internship with a non-profit is different than a corp like Wal-Mart that’s making billions in profit.

    • In reply to #43 by matt1162:

      Well, RDFRS is a non-profit ( as well as non-prophet) organization. I think an unpaid internship with a non-profit is different than a corp like Wal-Mart that’s making billions in profit.

      While you are right about the difference between an internship at a not for profit organisation and one at a corporate organisation I’d still say that the term internship has earned a bad name in certain circles. Not only is there the assumption that the candidate will receive little (or in this case no) salary, there is also the implication that the person will be young and require some training.

      Why should RDFRS be seeking young minds as opposed to simply atheist or open minds? What if a recently retired atheist decided to apply to fill his or her day on a voluntary basis? Would that be acceptable? I would hope so but the advert’s use of the word intern kind of implies otherwise.

      I think I would have preferred the use of the word volunteer as this makes it quite clear that the candidate should expect no remuneration and does not lead to assumptions regarding age.

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