A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Interns Take Advantage of End-of-Semester Presentations

The internship program at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) offers participants the chance to present their research findings to the office community at the end of the semester. One group decided to take advantage of this opportunity to work together and perform additional research.

With the guidance of START researcher Christopher Panek, four interns: Joanna Agin, Eunice Garcia, Jacob Green and Charles Turner, organized a project that examined the themes of violence that they consistently encounter while coding.

All four interns help code mentions of weapons and tactics for the Global Terrorism Database, but the research for their project led them to narrow their focus. The interns chose to scrutinize terrorist groups that have denounced or distanced themselves from ISIL and these groups’ use of brutal tactics.

­­“We’re focusing on targets to determine the differing degrees of brutality between groups,” Garcia said. In order to compare brutal acts among separate groups, the interns created their own rating system. Garcia and Agin found that the degree of brutality was often related to the type of weapon used.

All the groups included in the presentation previously had ties to ISIL, which is known for its violent mass killings and public executions, according to CNN.

Project Parameters

The project involved a commitment outside of the interns’ daily responsibilities, but they did not balk at the added work.

Agin said she saw the project as a beneficial part of her internship with START, as it gave her and her fellow group members the opportunity to apply what they have learned by analyzing the attacks of specific groups.

Not all of the members participated in the quantitative analysis for the preparation, but the project also required extensive qualitative research on relevant terrorist groups to create a cohesive presentation.

“We can all play off each other and use each other’s strengths,” Agin said.

While the breadth of the project may seem daunting, interns also took advantage of resources in the office. Each project’s supervisor was available to offer guidance and support during the development process, much like the guidance Panek offered to the weapons and tactics team.

Intern presentations generally take place during the last week of the internship, but Garcia and Agin’s group had the opportunity to present before everyone else. Their final project was titled “Opposition to ISIL: Examining the brutality of groups that have denounced ISIL compared to the brutality of ISIL itself.”