In training the next generation of scholars and practitioners, START offers its students a chance to publish their work on this blog.

Latest Intern Blog Posts

In furtherance of its educational and professional development mission, START invites its students to write about their research experiences with the Consortium. Their work is featured on this START Student Blog. START students interested in blogging should contact Jessica Rivinius at

The posts within this blog represent the opinions of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of START or any office or agency of the United States Government.

Friday, December 20, 2013

“So basically I’m a mini Jack Bauer, but behind a desk.”

That is how I explained my summer internship at START to my mom. I was so excited to have found my “summer-employment home;” I couldn’t help but be a little overzealous in the description. While I myself am not racing around the world taking down terrorists, the research team I am aiding this summer makes these kinds of missions possible. Without the analyzed intelligence and data START provides, the government could not draft missions with complete comprehension of current global situations nor with full confidence that they are executing the best course of action. START analyzes everything from the methods regarding how terrorists gain access to weaponizable materials to the effectiveness of counterterrorism tactics. My specific team, the PIRUS project (Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States), studies extremist individuals who adopted their radical beliefs within the United States. With our… read entire post

Friday, December 20, 2013

This summer I had the opportunity to work on an exciting data visualization project using data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). During this process, I got a chance to create a web-based application that allows users to view terrorist activity in various countries.  Working on this project gave me valuable practical experience in my field of study; I was able to apply fundamentals learned in the classroom to actual world issues.  This process has allowed me to improve my computer programming skills using languages such as Javascript, HTML and CSS.  I am happy that my supervisor and the other staff at START allowed me to be as creative as possible with the design of the project.  Other pluses included meeting and talking with other interns from other schools and some from other countries.  I learned a great deal and can now take what I have learned and teach someone else. 


In furtherance of its educational and professional development mission, START… read entire post

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (START) has provided me with a great opportunity to further develop my GIS skills. Although the University of Maryland maintains the third best Geographical Sciences department in the nation, working with START in particular has helped me to understand the variety of ways in which we can use geospatial analysis.

In my time as a GIS intern, I have conducted extensive open source research on a variety of global terrorism issues. Every day presents me with a new challenge that helps me to understand and build my knowledge of how to utilize geospatial analysis. The projects GIS interns are engaged in play a big role in local government agencies’ planning strategies that help to prevent the United States from falling victim to future terrorist attacks. We investigate open source data collected from thousands of international organizations, and using GIS software are able to analyze a variety of trends… read entire post

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In the past year, the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting, Hurricane Sandy and most recently the Boston bombings devastated U.S. communities and challenged U.S. responders with mitigating the unthinkable. These instances, including two intentional attacks and one natural disaster, expectedly differ when it comes to recover and rebuilding. However, what these cases do have in common is a need for effective communication. Communication is more than just two or more people talking to each other and exchanging information - communication plays an integral role in crisis response and has the potential to save lives, protect infrastructure and eventually help with community rebuilding.

The Boston bombings sparked my interest and belief that the field of communication is extremely pertinent. Previously, I viewed many crises from a political or economic standpoint based on my double major in government and politics and international business. Now, I know there is much more to the… read entire post