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. 

Risk and Crisis Communication Internship - Spring 2019

Risk and Crisis Communication Internship - Spring 2019

November 11, 2018
Semester Year: 


Governments rely on risk and crisis communication for delivering messages about impending storms, terrorist attacks, public health crises, and more. START's Risk Communication and Resilience team seeks two interns to support ongoing research projects as well as new projects that may be funded before the internship begins. Interns may support applications for sponsored research. In addition, interns will have the opportunity to work on the following ongoing projects:

Project 1: How Forecasters Decide to Warn: Insights on Tornado Risk Communication from the Southeast U.S.

Tornados can have devastating consequences, and being able to warn the public about tornadic risk can save lives. Social scientists are prolific in their recommendations on how to "better warn" the public about tornadoes, but they rarely work in partnership with operational forecasters. This begs the question of how applicable social scientists’ recommendations are to the “real world.” The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded this project on how forecasters decide to warn about tornadoes, which includes examining forecasters’ risk communication strategies, social media adoption, warning triggers, and relationship building strategies. 

Duties of the interns will include:

  • Assist with writing literature reviews for journal article submissions;
  • Edit reports to the funder;
  • Assist with survey design and data collection;
  • Assist with developing PowerPoints and other project outreach materials; and
  • Assist with project management.

Project 2: Training in Risk and Crisis Communication
Training in Risk and Crisis Communication (TRACC) is a social science-based curriculum developed and presented by START and originally funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Through three training modules, TRACC helps organizations plan effective communication before, during and after a crisis. TRACC is a unique curriculum that is research-based and covers the entire life cycle of a crisis including preparation, response and recovery.

Duties of the interns will include:

  • Update training materials including, PowerPoints and participant guides; and
  • Revising the training’s online crisis communication simulation.


  • A record of academic achievement including excellent writing skills and attention to detail;
  • Familiarity with communication, specifically risk and crisis communication (a plus);
  • A strong interest in research (completed coursework in research methods is a plus);
  • Ability to work independently;
  • Applicants must have a minimum of 60 university credits; and
  • Computer skills: Microsoft Office Suite (required), Adobe Creative Suite (a plus); SPSS (a plus)

Additional Information

  • U.S. citizenship not required
  • Weekly meeting time will be scheduled based on the supervisors’ teaching schedules and interns’ course schedules.

For more information about these internships please contact Dr. Brooke Liu: bfliu@umd.edu. The supervisors for the internship are Dr. Brooke Liu and Dr. Anita Atwell-Seate.

General Information for all START Internships


START Headquarters is 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 office unless otherwise specified. Working remotely is not permitted. 

Schedule Requirements:

Orientation Date: Thursday, January 24th, 2019. All interns are required to attend orientation. You may be required to attend an additional day of orientation on Friday, January 25th, 2019. Your supervisor will inform you if you are required to attend both days.
Internship Duration: Thursday, January 24th, 2019 to Friday, May 10th, 2019. 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 Spring 2019 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 Spring 2019, 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 Spring 2019. The spring application form will be open until Sunday, November 11th, 2018 at 11:59pm. However some projects for the spring semester have an earlier application deadline of Sunday, October 28th, 2018 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.