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Background in Criminology and Law Enforcement Leads Intern to START

Background in Criminology and Law Enforcement Leads Intern to START

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ben Jubar, Failure Points Project

During the summer of 2014, I began an exciting and profoundly rewarding chapter of my studies. I began working at START as an Intern in the Special Projects Division.

I first learned about the organization through my brother, as he interned with START several years ago. After hearing nothing but positive things from him, I thought I would give a shot at pursuing terrorism studies. I applied and was hired as an intern for the summer.  

I began working on the Failure Points in Smuggling Networks Project under Brandon Behlendorf and Michelle Jacome.  The project analyzes strategic and multiplex relationships of actors within smuggling networks in order to identify potential points of failure.  I was primarily assisting in the data collection efforts for seven smuggling networks across the world.

My educational and professional background helped me get selected for the position as an intern at START. I studied Criminology at Howard Community College. There, I found what I thought was the career path that was right for me. I was gung-ho on studying criminology and becoming a police officer, and wanted to ultimately pursue a career in federal law enforcement.

I graduated with my Associate of Arts in Criminology in May 2012. That summer, I worked as a Police Officer in Ocean City, Maryland. During this post, I was able to practice skills that I had previously learned in the classroom. In my four months as an Officer, I worked and lived in Ocean City, and I was fully immersed in the world of law enforcement. Although I was initially hesitant about the job, I eventually grew to enjoy it!

In the fall, I transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, where I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. I was incredibly interested in START’s minor program in global terrorism, but unfortunately I was too far into my degree to pursue it, so I decided to apply for an internship.

I had great expectations coming here to learn more about the study of terrorism. I found it particularly interesting that START’s research projects are funded by the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.   

While working on the Failure Points Project, I conducted secondary research on individuals within smuggling networks. This allowed me to build on my open source research skills and develop an understanding of network structures. Through data collection and updating, I was able to learn the intricacies of network structure and identify key players and weak points in the network. As I look towards the future, I’m confident that the research skills and professional experience I have acquired at START will greatly contribute to the future of my career. 


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This blog represents the opinions of the author, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of START or any office or agency of the United States Government.