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. 

Unconventional Weapons and Technology (UWT): Innovating CBRNe Activity Detection - Spring 2019

Unconventional Weapons and Technology (UWT): Innovating CBRNe Activity Detection - Spring 2019

November 11, 2018
Semester Year: 


UWT is seeking highly driven, outstanding students to participate in cutting-edge research on CBRNe (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and explosives) adversary activity funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). These tasks cover an array of research techniques and subject areas including quantitative methods, adversary modelling, and chemical weapon development. The primary purpose is to assist DARPA in the development of innovative approaches for detecting CBRNe activity. Responsibilities and duties will include the following:

  • Assisting UWT staff with red teaming exercises and workshops. This will include:
    • Organizing and designing participant handbooks
    • Participating in red teaming exercises
    • Data collection and preliminary analysis of participant outputs (scenario components and search histories).
    • Assist staff with scenario construction
  • Compiling and conducting preliminary analysis of red team exercise output data
  • Assist staff members with identification of observable indicators of CBRNE attacks that could be identified by intelligence analysts.
  • Assist with the generation of background data for intelligence analysis experiments

Supervisor: Rebecca Earnhardt (rearnhar@umd.edu), Thomas Guarrieri (tguar@umd.edu)

Application deadline: Sunday, November 11th, 2018, 11:59pm

Required/minimum qualifications:

  • Exceptional academic achievement
  • Understanding of open source research, social science research, Excel and Word.
  • Prior knowledge of, and interest in, CBRN weapons and violent non-state actor issues are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Must be able to dedicate 10 hours per week for the duration of the internship.
  • Strong research background through coursework or internships/jobs
  • Flexibility and ability to multitask
  • Superior writing skills

Preferred/ideal qualifications:

  • Background in studying violent non-state actors and unconventional weapons
  • Beginner understanding of graph theory and social network analysis
  • Experience in coding event-level data on CBRNE/terrorist incidents

Tentative weekly team meeting day and time: TBD

US citizenship requirement: No

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.