A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

START fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment to create a team to meet the needs of the homeland security enterprise and train the next generation of scholars and practitioners. 

Unconventional Weapons and Technology (UWT): DARPA Sigma+ Project - Fall 2018

Unconventional Weapons and Technology (UWT): DARPA Sigma+ Project - Fall 2018

July 8, 2018
Semester Year: 


UWT is seeking highly driven, outstanding students to participate in cutting-edge research on CBRNE adversary activity funded by DARPA. These tasks cover an array of research techniques and subject areas including quantitative methods, adversary modelling, and chemical weapon development. The primary purpose is to assist DARPA in the development of innovative approaches for detecting CBRNE activity. Responsibilities and duties will include the following:

  • Assisting UWT staff with red teaming exercises and workshops. This will include:
    • Organizing and designing participant handbooks
    • Participating in red teaming exercises
    • Data collection and preliminary analysis of participant outputs (scenario components and search histories).
    • Assist staff with scenario construction
  • Compiling and conducting preliminary analysis of red team exercise output data
  • Assist staff members with identification of observable indicators of CBRNE attacks that could be identified by intelligence analysts.

Supervisor: Rebecca Earnhardt (rearnhar@umd.edu), Thomas Guarrieri (tguar@umd.edu), Daniel Smith (dsmith32@umd.edu)​

Application deadline: Sunday, July 1, 2018; 11:59pm

Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship not required. 

Weekly meeting time: TBD

Required/minimum qualifications (example: number of credit hours, language skills)

  • Exceptional academic achievement
  • Understanding of open source research, social science research, Excel and Word.
  • Prior knowledge of, and interest in, CBRN weapons and violent non-state actor issues are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Must be able to dedicate 10 hours per week for the duration of the internship.
  • Strong research background through coursework or internships/jobs
  • Flexibility and ability to multitask
  • Superior writing skills

Preferred/ideal qualifications (example: specific software/database knowledge)

  • Background in studying violent non-state actors and unconventional weapons
  • Intermediate understanding of graph theory and social network analysis
  • Basic statistical programming skills in R, Python, Stata, SAS, or SPSS
  • Experience in coding event-level data on CBRNE/terrorist incidents

General Information for all START Internships


Currently START Headquarters is located at 8400 Baltimore Avenue, College Park, MD 20740, however we will be moving to a new location in May of 2018. Our new office will be located in the Discovery District in College Park, MD. Our exact address will be provided upon being invited for an interview. All internship hours must be completed at this new office unless otherwise specified. Working remotely is not permitted. 

Schedule Requirements:

Orientation Date: Thursday, August 23rd, 2018. All interns are required to attend orientation. You may be required to attend an additional day of orientation on Friday, August 24th, 2018. Your supervisor will inform you if you are required to attend both days.
Internship Duration: Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 to Friday, December 7th, 2018. All interns must be able to commit to the duration of the whole program.
Work Hours: All interns must work at least 10 hours per week during the Fall 2018 program. Work hours are scheduled from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. Interns may not work longer than 8-hour shifts.

Other Information:

  • All internships are UNPAID and START is unable to provide travel stipends or housing arrangements.
  • We strongly encourage and recommend that interns seek academic credit for their internship through their home institution or department, if possible.
  • If undertaking the internship for credit, you must indicate this on your application form. Be sure to notify your internship supervisor if you need to work more than 10 hours per work for this reason.
  • Applicants interested in applying for an internship for any semester other than or in addition to Fall 2018, must submit a separate application for each semester with the correct application form for that semester.

How to Apply for START Internships:

START is currently accepting applications for Summer and Fall 2018. The summer application form will be open until Sunday, March 25, 2018 11:59pm and the Fall application form will be open until Sunday, July 1 2018. However some projects for the fall semester have an earlier application deadline of June 17th at 11:59pm. Late, incomplete, or applications not submitted correctly will not be considered. To access the application: click here.


  • Applicants must pay close attention to the requirements of each internship they are applying for, including attendance to team meetings and minimum time commitment. Inability to attend compulsory meetings or work the minimum required hours will result in the revocation of any offer made.
  • Address your cover letter to the internship supervisor of your first choice project.
  • Failure to complete the application form in full, including the selection of 1-3 internship preferences could result in your application being rejected without further consideration.
  • Failure to submit the proper materials according to the directions provided in the project description could result in your application being rejected without further consideration.
  • Due to the high volume of applicants, only top candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
  • Applicants may be asked to attend more than one interview.
  • Any successful candidate will be asked to respond with a firm acceptance within 48 hours of the offer being made. Failure to respond could result in the vacancy passed to another candidate.
  • Any questions regarding the specific requirements for the internship vacancy should be directed to the supervisor(s) listed for the project.
  • Any questions regarding the application process should be directed to the START Education Team at internships-start@umd.edu.

Application Materials:

All internship applicants must submit all materials in one .pdf file using the file name format:

LastName, FirstName_InternCandidate.pdf or .doc.

 The internship application packet should include the following documents in the following order:

  • One page cover letter
  • One page resume
  • Official or unofficial transcript(s)
  • Two-page writing sample (Communications applicants must submit two writing samples.)

Note for International Students:

START welcomes applications from international students for all of our internships where US citizenship is not a requirement (see the qualifications listed for each project for details).

It is, however, the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their visa or immigration status permits them to undertake an unpaid internship. It is also the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all proper paperwork, like documented approval from your home institution, is available and processed in time for the start of the internship. Failure to comply with these stipulations, or provide the paperwork required to verify your status, will result in your internship offer being rescinded without further consideration. START is unable to sponsor visas for non-US Citizens due to the short timeline of our program and the lengthy processing time for visas. Unfortunately, this largely limits our ability to accept anything other than F-1 visas on regular, not OPT, status.