Quinn Guilds always knew he wanted a career that allowed him to help people, but he hadn’t realized that pursuit would take him so far from his beloved Nebraska home and Huskers. While he was an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska Kearney, Guilds began crafting an academic path to meet his goals by studying criminology and criminal justice and serving as vice president of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. As a graduate student at the University of Nebraska Omaha, he has continued those studies with a concentration in public administration.
“I was initially drawn to the public administration side because I feel as though you have a civic duty inside you to give back to your country,” he said. “I see that as working within the public or federal sector. That same idea is also drawing me toward serving in the military.”
That drive in him also spurred him to apply for and earn a highly competitive internship with the U.S. Department of State through START.
“Early on, I thought I wanted to be a police officer out on the street helping the public,” Guilds said. “As I continued my education I realized that solving the puzzle of the bigger criminal picture was more appealing.”
Guilds is part of a small team of interns that gathers and analyzes statistics on terrorist organizations over time for the State Department. As a START/State Department intern, his responsibilities include collecting the number and type of attacks over time, looking at trends and modeling group capacity into the future. Using START’s Global Terrorism Database and other open sources, he also provides assistance in researching open source information on the leadership of some terrorist groups.
Guilds said he has found the study of terrorism to be “captivating and dynamic.”
“There are so many aspects to learn about and theories to build upon,” Guilds said. “Given the ever-changing nature of this human phenomenon, even the top minds in terrorism studies can’t know it all.”
Guilds learned about START from a former START intern he met while interning at United States National Central Bureau, INTERPOL, where he worked on the Green Notices that provide warnings and intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offenses and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.
Given the foundation he’s built through his academic coursework and internships, Guilds is hoping to embark on a career in federal law enforcement, an intelligence agency or the military upon graduation in May.
Should he decide to relocate permanently to the D.C. area, he said he’ll miss more than just proximity to his favorite college sports team. “There’s no traffic in Nebraska.”