Job Openings & Internships at AWI

Job Openings


Director, Terrestrial Wildlife Program

Organization Summary

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 whose mission is to alleviate the suffering caused to animals by people. With headquarters in the Eastern Market district of Washington, DC, AWI employs approximately 27 staff and consultants, with most located at its headquarters and others operating from locations around the country. AWI is program oriented—more than 90 percent of our budget goes to support our programs to protect terrestrial and marine wildlife, farm animals, animals in research, and companion animals via educational programs, strategically crafted campaigns, political advocacy, and engagement with industry, policymakers, scientists, and other NGOs.

Position Summary

The primary responsibility of this newly created position will be to oversee AWI’s domestic and international terrestrial wildlife program. AWI’s organizational structure has historically been flat, with all staff reporting to the president and executive director. However, as our programs grow, adding specific program oversight roles has proven to be valuable.

The successful applicant will manage with a light touch, collaborating rather than commanding. He or she will oversee a 3–5 person team of biologists, lawyers, and other wildlife experts and will manage people and resources to assure that projects are completed efficiently and that resources are budgeted and allocated as warranted. Because AWI bases its policy positions on sound science, a science background is required. Compassion for animals is essential.

Specific duties will include:

  • Identify and engage in opportunities to preserve threatened and endangered species and protect terrestrial wildlife from cruel exploitation, inhumane management, and other harmful human activities.
  • Draft and review a variety of documents, including rulemaking petitions, comments on rulemaking notices, federal listing petitions, and environmental analyses, as well as action alerts, press releases, op-eds, educational materials, social media posts, donor updates, and AWI Quarterly magazine articles highlighting AWI’s wildlife protection campaigns.
  • Attend meetings, hearings, and other events to inform, develop, and implement programs and campaigns.
  • Coordinate campaigns, including working with other programs—particularly the marine wildlife program.
  • Write occasional grant applications and draft status reports for grants received.
  • Support AWI’s government affairs staff by engaging with policymakers and providing expert testimony at federal and state congressional hearings.
  • Coordinate with other staff members to ensure the successful execution of AWI’s annual Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards.
  • Along with other members of the terrestrial wildlife program team, act as media contact for wildlife issues.
  • Engage in a wide range of activities related to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology, wildlife biology, ecology, or related field; advanced degree a plus.
  • Law degree (J.D.) a plus.

Skills and Experience:

  • Demonstrated commitment to AWI’s mission, including the preservation of wildlife and prevention of animal suffering.
  • Exceptional management skills—a minimum of three years’ experience managing both people and projects is required.
  • Exceptional advocacy skills—a minimum of five years’ experience (preferably related to animal protection and conservation, but can be in other areas)
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to prioritize heavy workload, work independently but also as part of a team, and work under pressure in a fast-paced environment.
  • Working knowledge of the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Administrative Procedures Act, Freedom of Information Act, and other federal and state laws that protect terrestrial wildlife.
  • Knowledge of CITES issues and processes.
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and policymakers influencing wildlife conservation, including other NGOs, state and federal government officials, and legislators and their staff.
  • Ability to multitask and manage short- and long-term deadlines.
  • Strong attention to detail, as well as problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills.
  • Strong computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
  • Ability to work effectively with a diversity of people, cultures, and constituencies.

Job Location

Washington, DC Remote working will not be considered for this position. Some travel, including international, will be required.


Salary is commensurate with experience and abilities. Benefits include employer-paid medical, prescription, and dental insurance, employee-paid vision insurance, 401(k) with employer match, paid leave, on-site parking, and IRS commuter benefit program.

To apply:

Please send a cover letter, resume, and brief writing sample that is predominantly your own work (white paper, op-ed, regulatory comment, sign-on letter, or administrative rulemaking/ESA-listing petition are preferred writing samples) to, “Attn: Wildlife Director.” The position will remain open until filled. No telephone calls, please.

Download a pdf of the posting here.




AWI seeks two legislative interns every fall, spring, and summer. This is a great opportunity for law students, political science students, or anyone with a passion for making a difference in the lives of animals. Interns will assist our government and legal affairs staff in maintaining updated Hill contact lists, delivering documents to and attend meetings with Congressional offices and assisting staff in research; as well as miscellaneous tasks of an administrative nature. No specific academic major is required; however, preferred candidates will have a strong work ethic and be willing to take on any project. Interns may work full-time or part-time and can arrange to receive course credit. Please submit a resume and cover letter, stating why you wish to become an advocate for animals to Nancy Blaney These positions are located in our Capitol Hill office and are unpaid.


The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) works to reduce animal suffering and promote the welfare of all animals, including animals in agriculture. As a part of our mission, we promote humane farming systems and work to advance legislative and regulatory efforts to improve the conditions of farm animals.

Farm animal interns have the opportunity to learn more about advocacy efforts to protect farm animals. Potential responsibilities include research and writing, tracking legislation and regulations, and drafting public policy comments. Projects will cover a range of factory farming issues; the intern will support AWI in its efforts to eliminate harmful on-farm practices, improve conditions during long-distance transport, encourage humane handling at slaughter, and educate the public regarding the meaning of welfare-related claims on food products. The ideal candidate will have a genuine interest in animal welfare and a background in law, public policy, or animal science.

The internship is located in our Capitol Hill office and is unpaid. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to Erin Thompson at The application period for the summer of 2019 period has closed. Applications for all other terms (fall, winter and spring) are accepted throughout the year.


AWI offers on-site internships every fall, spring, and summer for persons enthusiastic about our work to protect wildlife, both terrestrial and aquatic. We also accept several off-site/remote interns on an ongoing basis.

Applicants must be willing to assist with a myriad of wildlife and marine mammal law and policy issues, including but not limited to drafting legal analyses, public comments, Endangered Species Act listing petitions and legal memos. Projects are diverse; most are ideal for a law school student but students pursuing Masters programs in scientific and/or public policy fields are also encouraged to apply.

To better acquaint yourself with AWI’s work before applying, please visit our wildlife program section. Interested applicants should send their cover letter and resume to Johanna Hamburger at Please specify the term you are seeking to intern for (i.e. Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring) and whether you are interested in an on-site or remote internship when you apply. The application period for Summer 2019 is now closed.

Law students: preference will go to students that have taken or are currently enrolled in any of the following courses: Environmental Law/Litigation/Clinic, Administrative Law, Animal Law, International Environmental Law, Wildlife Law, Public Lands & Resources Law, and/or related coursework. Please indicate whether you are a 1, 2, or 3L when you apply.


Interns, part-time or full-time, needed to assist with developing and maintaining Animals and Family Violence Program databases, such as the Safe Havens for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims national database. Animals and family violence interns may also conduct computer research related to training efforts and legislative and policy initiatives, e.g., on pet protection orders, cross-reporting between animal and human services agencies, and related matters.

Internships are not paid; interns do not have to work from the AWI office; hours are negotiable, as is length of service. For further information, please contact Mary Lou Randour at


Part-time or full-time intern(s) needed to assist with updating our popular on-line database of restaurants across the U.S. that sell shark fin soup and other shark products ( We are seeking an intern to ensure the list is accurate and up to date. The work will entail online research and telephone calls to restaurants, data entry, and possibly some website maintenance work. Training will be given for all aspects of the work. The ideal candidate will have excellent organizational skills and be detail-oriented. Fluency in English is essential. An ability to speak Mandarin and/or Cantonese is preferred. Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs such as Outlook and Excel is required. Please contact for more information, and to apply with resume and cover letter.


Last Updated: February 2019