Job Opportunities

Forensic Science Internships

Opening Date:
Closing Date:
Location:
Public Defender Service
  for the District of Columbia
633 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20004
Job Description:

Two internships, for a minimum of 10 weeks each, are being offered through the Forensic Practice Group (FPG) at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) for credit or on a volunteer basis. The FPG is a specialty practice group within PDS tasked with evaluating and, where appropriate, litigating forensic science issues. Through investigation and litigation, the FPG seeks to ensure that only validated methods and accurate and reliable results are presented in criminal trials and that PDS lawyers fully understand the basis for and the limitations of any forensic evidence, whether presented by the government or the defense.


Forensic Science Internship


Applications for the summer 2018 internship, which runs June – August, are due March 30, 2018. Applications for the fall 2018 internship, which runs September – December are due June 15, 2018. Applications for the spring 2019 internship, which runs January – May are due November 16, 2018.

Under the direction of the PDS Forensic Consultant and Special Counsel for Forensics, the intern will assist with the overall operation and mission of the FPG by 1) adding to PDS’s forensic science library and digital resources; 2) conducting subject-specific research on various forensic disciplines; 3) reviewing expert reports and case files; 4) identifying and consulting with expert witnesses; and 4) consulting with attorneys. Interns will be directly supervised by members of PDS’s FPG and will have the opportunity to become familiar with the workings of the criminal justice system, defense investigation and the role of scientific experts in criminal cases. Areas of forensic science evidence routinely encountered will include: DNA, fingerprints, firearms/toolmarks, pathology/medical issues, toxicology, drug chemistry, digital evidence and psychology. Interns must have a BA/BS or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university in one of the foundation sciences (e.g., biology, physics, chemistry), or in mathematics or statistics. Students currently enrolled in graduate coursework in a related field preferred.


Forensic Biology & DNA Internship

Applications for the summer 2018 internship, which runs June – August, are due March 30, 2018. Applications for the fall 2018 internship, which runs September – December are due June 15, 2018. Applications for the spring 2019 internship, which runs January – May are due November 16, 2018.

This pilot program, the first of its kind at a public defender office in the United States, is modeled after law school “clinics,” where experienced students are exposed to actual cases while receiving specialized training and supervision. This program will also provide a valuable service to people charged in with crimes who cannot afford counsel and to their attorneys in the District of Columbia. Students offered a Forensic Biology & DNA Internship will receive training and supervision by PDS’s Special Counsel for Forensics and Forensic Consultant. Interns will be directly supervised by members of PDS’s FPG. Students will be assigned technical serology and DNA case files to review primarily from cases being litigated by PDS attorneys. The student will consult with counsel about the biological evidence in the case, the results of any testing conducted, the basis for and limitations of the methodology used, and about potential litigation. Enrolled forensic science graduate students with a BS or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university in one of the STEM fields, a strong background in forensic DNA and laboratory experience are eligible.

How To Apply:
Please upload your application materials as a single PDF (cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, unofficial transcript and the names and contact information of three references). Cover letter must specify which internship you are applying for. If you have difficulty with the submission or are unable to upload your materials, please contact Jennifer Thomas at jenthomas@pdsdc.org or (202) 824-2337.