A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

START Intern Profiles: July


START Intern Profiles: July

July 17, 2012
As part of an ongoing series to tell the stories of the more than 60 interns at START this summer, our writers posed a few questions about what interests them about terrorism and how START has enhanced their understanding of terrorism. Georg Grosse-Hohl is an intern in the Special Projects Division, currently working on TCOTRN, POICN, Advanced Research and ASTIR. He is finishing his last degree requirements for a Master of Science in applied intelligence from Mercyhurst University, a Master of Arts in international policy studies specializing in terrorism studies and a certificate in nonproliferation studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
 
For the Summer Olympics, which non-USA country are you rooting for? As a German citizen, I am obviously rooting for my home country, but also for all other European Union members and my current home, the US. Of all the major sporting events, I feel the least competitive when it comes to the Olympics. While I am happy when one of my countrymen or countrywomen wins a medal, I am not disappointed when they do not. To me, the Olympics is more an event where you can have fun and enjoy the athletic accomplishments of the world's best athletes. I therefore think that the best way to enjoy the Olympics is together in a diverse group of people from around the world.

Grosse-Hohl What prompted your interest in terrorism studies and research? While I was always interested in politics and political struggle, my interest in terrorism studies and research started with 9/11. Sounds like a clich?, right? But just a few weeks earlier, in the summer of 2001, I visited the United States with a group of European high school students for the very first time. We were standing in front of the World Trade Center, contemplating if we should go up to the observation deck. We decided against it as we were pressed for time and we told each other "The WTC will be there for a long time."

During our trip, I got to know America and Americans and forged many friendships, which made the attacks the more personal. A few years later, while in college and not yet focused on terrorism studies, I saw a lot of misunderstandings, false assumptions, generalizations and cultural misunderstandings when it came to "terrorism." It was then when I decided to further study the subject and, hopefully, provide more accurate insights and analysis.

How has your internship with START shaped your understanding of terrorism? I think it is too early to truly assess the impact START has on my understanding of terrorism, but it provides a great insight into the academic side of terrorism studies and gives me a better understanding where the reports and statistics we often use come from and how they were created. MacKennan Graziano is working on the GTD categorizing different perpetrators into larger movements. She is studying international relations and German with an Economics minor at Wheaton College.

For the Summer Olympics, which non-USA country are you rooting for? I am very behind on the Olympics and sports in general, so there is no single athlete that I will specifically be rooting for; however, I will be rooting for Germany, because I love Germany!

What prompted your interest in terrorism studies and research? I was interested in conflicts, conflict resolution and the impacts of conflict on civilians. Terrorism encompasses all of those factors. Because terrorism is such a hot-button issue in modern politics, I think it is a really good aspect to understand and be able to talk about.

How has your internship with START shaped your understanding of terrorism? This internship has showed me just how complex and multifaceted the task of studying terrorism is. It is a very interesting program because we have people from so many different fields, including psychology, criminology and political science. I am able to get a good understanding of the many levels and fields of study that terrorism can be viewed through. Angela Juliano is currently working as a GTD generalist where she works a variety of projects. She is in the BA/MA program as a forensic psychology major at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

For the Summer Olympics, which non-USA country are you rooting for? Other than the United States, I will also be rooting for Italy, mostly because my heritage is Italian and I also studied abroad in Florence for four months.

What prompted your interest in terrorism studies and research? There was really no specific event or trigger that started my interest. When I started college, I wanted to either work for the FBI or become a counselor. However, after receiving a grant from DHS, I then started to work with my mentor, Joshua Freilich, and began to work on his specific projects, such as the Extremist Crime Database. Working on the database and reading about the many different terrorism incidents that happen domestically really interested me, and I knew from then on that I wanted to continue to learn about and research terrorism. Angela

How has your internship with START shaped your understanding of terrorism? Before I came to START, I really did not know much about terrorism. I only knew of what the media and my family spoke about. Working at START really opened my eyes on the many different levels of terrorism. START showed that there could be huge attacks, such as 9/11, or small, everyday attacks, such as a roadside bomb that detonates with no casualties or property damage. The fact that START coded and kept these small incidents really surprised me in the beginning.

START also taught me about the many different groups that exist throughout the world, not just the Middle East, which the media mostly portrays. I have learned about their tactics on how they get new recruits, how they gain support, how they carry out their attacks, the type of leadership they attain and about the many different members that exist in some of the bigger, more notable terrorist organizations. These are just a few of the many.

START has not only taught me about terrorism, however. Working here has also taught me more about the world. Last summer, I was placed to work on the Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) project. I had to read many, many articles about many different politically active groups in both Israel and Palestine. By doing so, I got a little understanding of how and why the specific groups acted how they did. Working on MAROB made me become interested and understand the conflict a whole lot better than I previously had.

I feel that is a great thing because it is not a very publicized conflict, and I feel that everyone should know what is going on between the two countries. Working summers at START and being placed on two different projects has really opened my eyes to many different terrorist organizations, countries, and conflicts that go on in the world. To sum it up, START has basically given me all of the knowledge that I now have on terrorism.