AAR Program Internship, 2023-24


The American Academy of Religion's (AAR) mission is to foster excellence in the academic study of religion and to enhance public understanding of religion. We are a membership organization that serves as the guild (learned society) for scholars of religion. We hold a robust annual meeting hosting over 10,000 attendees and promote year-round programming and benefits for our members.


Amy Defibaugh, Director, Programs and Meetings


This internship will prepare interns for careers in any of the following: 

  • Academic Research and Administration
  • Advocacy and Policy
  • Communication, Outreach, and Publishing
  • Faculty
  • Industry, for-profit
  • Non-profit
  • Web app/platform development


This internship will provide experiences to develop and polish the following skills: 

  • Communication (Written and/or verbal)
  • Data-Literacy and Fluency
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Knowledge of Sector and Networking
  • Marketing
  • Problem-solving and Analytical Thinking
  • Project Management
  • Self and Career Management
  • Teaching, Mentoring, and Training
  • Thought Leadership and Innovation


Goals will include helping the intern:

  • Develop strategic organizational sensibilities
  • Develop networks
  • Develop nuanced questions
  • Understand the relationship between mission, values, and goals and implementation processes
  • Set appropriate professional development goals
  • Think critically about career path
  • Project management and event planning
  • Relationship/partnership building
  • The intern will be involved strategic planning meetings for programs and publications.


  • The AAR hosts a large annual meeting that features some of the most cutting-edge scholarship in religious studies and theology. As we continue with the in-person conference, we are also making the move to an additional virtual conference that will highlight the prestige scholarship while also giving access to diverse communities of scholars in a variety of careers, industries, institutions, etc. This is a huge undertaking and needs to be done thoughtfully, strategically, and with consideration of lots of constituents and logistics.
  • The UVA intern would assist as a thought partner and relationship builder. They will help manage strategic vision and mapping of the virtual conference while assisting with programmatic features and technology (particularly app and platform development).
  • The AAR publications include the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Reading Religion, and Religious Studies News (RSN). While the JAAR and Reading Religion are doing well, RSN needs some attention in content and momentum.
  • The intern would assist with editing and sourcing content. They would also participate in conversations around advertising, structure, purpose and the future of RSN.


The intern will participate in the strategic thinking and building of the AAR annual virtual conference, alongside the planning of our traditional in-person conference. They will also help to rethink some of our publications. Through this work, an intern will have the opportunity to connect with peer scholars, gain experience in academic and popular publishing, and begin to understand nonprofit policy. The internship will include administrative work, research, and communications. The intern will enhance their understanding of the guild and its work in supporting scholars of religion.

Note, if not already mentioned elsewhere: PhD students who are part of marginalized communities are encouraged to apply.


  • Desire to learn
  • Ability to engage in self-reflection
  • Detail-oriented
  • Well-organized
  • Engaged and asks tough questions
  • Demonstrated ability to follow-through
  • Familiarity with the world of religious studies
  • Some editing experience would be beneficial




Open to any timeframe between Summer 2023, Fall 2023, and Spring 2024

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