A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus 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. 

Exploring Emotions & Narratives in Polish & Lithuanian Social Media – Fall 2021

Exploring Emotions & Narratives in Polish & Lithuanian Social Media – Fall 2021

June 27, 2021
Semester Year: 


This internship would be with The University of Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), a sibling unit to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

Large-scale analysis of text (including social media text) for computational social science benefits from the use of natural language processing (NLP) tools such as sentiment/emotion analysis and narrative tracking.  These tools are typically trained on very large, labeled datasets: i.e., large collections of texts (such as tweets or Facebook posts) with trained annotators’ judgements about which emotions and/or narratives are present in those texts.  For less-resourced languages, such as Polish and Lithuanian, large collections of labeled data may not be available; it is an open question how NLP technologies can best leverage smaller labeled datasets such as those annotated for emotion by UMD’s Emotions in Social Media (emotionsinsocialmedia.umd.edu) project (Dr. Susannah Paletz, PI).


As an intern on this project, you will explore ways to use NLP tools to study social media text in Polish and/or Lithuanian, given a small set of labels for emotion, topic, and (possibly) narrative.  Depending on your skills and language background, you may explore how to improve and retrain those tools for better coverage of the data, or use a suite of existing tools to do an analysis of some interesting aspect of social media (such as tracking narratives across groups, platforms, or languages).

Depending on skills and interests, you may help collect new corpora related to corpora already being collected as part of the Minerva grant. Depending on the needs of the investigators, you may also be asked to occasionally provide other research assistance support, such as formatting conference or paper submissions (e.g., references/citations) and editing documents.  Depending on funding and interest, you may also interact with scholars on a related project examining the feasibility of computational techniques to identify minimal narrative structures in written texts in other languages.


Supervisor: Anton Rytting (crytting@arlis.umd.edu)
Deadline: Sunday, June 27
US Citizenship Required: No
Team Meeting Times: TBD

Required/Minimum Qualifications:

  • Programming experience (at least 2 years) in Python (preferred), R, Java, or a similar programming language.
  • Interest in human languages and/or (multilingual) human language technology

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with machine learning, data science, and/or advanced statistics strongly preferred; of particular interest is experience with alternatives to standard supervised learning (e.g., active, self-, or semi-supervised learning; fine-tuning pre-trained models; “zero-/few-shot” detection).
  • Basic familiarity with Linux and/or with natural language processing (NLP) strongly preferred.    
  • Familiarity with Polish, Lithuanian, or related languages is a plus, but not required.

General Information for all START Internships


START Headquarters is located in the Discovery District in College Park, MD, however our fall 2021 internship program will likely be conducted remotely.

Schedule Requirements:

Orientation Date: Thursday, August 26, 2021. All interns are required to attend orientation. You may be required to attend an additional day of orientation on Friday, August 27, 2021. Your supervisor will inform you if you are required to attend both days.
Internship Duration: Thursday, August 26, 2021 to Friday, December 10, 2021. 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 2021 program. Work hours are scheduled from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. Interns may not work longer than 8-hour or shorter than 2 hour shifts.

Other Information:

  • All internships are unpaid and START is unable to provide travel stipends or housing arrangements. However, the University of Maryland has several opportunities for students to apply for unpaid internship stipends. Please note START is not involved in the application or review process for these stipends with the exception of the Paul Gallo Memorial Scholarship for Non-Traditional Student Interns.
  • 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 2021, 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 the fall 2021 semester. Please make sure you check the dates for the projects you’re interested in to make sure they’re available during the semester you intend to apply. The fall 2021 application form will be open until 11:59pm ET on Sunday, June 27, 2021. However, some projects for the fall semester require the application be submitted by the priority deadline (Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 11:59pm ET) so please be sure to note the deadlines in the project descriptions. 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.