MILWAUKEE — The ACLU of Wisconsin is excited to announce the launch of the Athan G. Theoharis Summer Internship Program. 

Athan Theoharis, born in the 1930s to immigrant parents in Milwaukee, became a leading historian who documented the FBI’s violations of privacy and abuses of power, particularly during J. Edgar Hoover’s decades as FBI director. Dr. Theoharis taught history at several universities during his career, ultimately retiring from Marquette University in his hometown of Milwaukee. He also shared his life’s work through 23 published books, dozens of articles and was a major contributor to three films.

In addition to his scholarship and teaching, Athan served on both the ACLU of Wisconsin’s state board of directors, which included two terms as Board President and the Milwaukee Chapter Board of Directors, often speaking on behalf of the organization on surveillance and privacy issues. 

When Athan passed away in 2021, his children established a fund to support internships at the ACLU of Wisconsin for college students who would otherwise be financially unable to take an unpaid internship at a nonprofit organization. 

Each year, one college student interested in civil rights and civil liberties will be selected to receive a $5,000 stipend from working for ten weeks over the summer. Theoharis Interns may work with the Legal Department or the Advocacy & Community Engagement Department of the ACLU of Wisconsin.

“We are beyond grateful to the Theoharis family for their generosity and thoughtfulness in creating this position. Athan’s tireless commitment to the ACLU, as well as his lifelong dedication to protecting the civil rights and liberties of all, continues to be an inspiration to us all. We hope that with this new internship, we will provide opportunities to those who might otherwise not be able to take on a traditional internship opportunity,” said William Sulton, president of the ACLU of Wisconsin Board of Directors. 

Students interested in this internship opportunity should submit a cover letter and a resume to by
Friday, March 18. The letter should describe the student’s interest in civil rights and civil liberties and any personal experiences that shaped that interest, as well as an explanation of how the stipend would make it possible to do an internship that would otherwise be financially difficult.