A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

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

START interns present at Federal Fellows and Global Fellows Program Academic Capstone Reception

START interns present at Federal Fellows and Global Fellows Program Academic Capstone Reception

May 26, 2016Beth Schwartz

Several UMD students capped off their internship experience at START by participating in the UMD Federal Fellows & Global Fellows in Washington DC Academic Capstone Reception this month.

Marina Farrugia, a State Department intern and junior criminology and criminal justice major, was selected to speak about her internship experience because of its relevance to the Federal Fellows & Global Fellows’ mission to provide a deep understanding of global leadership and policy and the ways in which they are developed, influenced and carried out. Farrugia’s internship focused on gathering and analyzing statistics on terrorist organizations over time, as well as terrorist organization finance.

Austin Burdette, an intern on the Global Terrorism Database weapons & tactics team, was also at the event to discuss his work coding thousands of open-source articles, including newspapers, online journals, and website articles, to determine “attack types” for given attacks.

“As a criminology and criminal justice major, the subject of terrorism was fairly new to me,” said Burdette. “However, this internship allowed me to gain an immense amount of knowledge about terrorist organizations and activities and sparked my interest in the political, religious and economic issues of the foreign countries I was studying.”

The Federal Fellows & Global Fellows in Washington DC represents a collaborative academic initiative between the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of International Affairs. Undergraduate students in the program complete a fall academic seminar of global leadership and policy, supported by additional coursework and a spring semester internship experience.

When asked about her takeaways from the internship, Burdette said, “I was exposed to the true complexity, frequency, and devastating effects of terrorist attacks. My overall experience at the internship was excellent. Everybody at START is extremely knowledgeable and seems to truly love what they do. There were so many learning opportunities for interns. I recommend this internship to anybody interested in the field of terrorism.”

Katherine Taylor, START’s experiential education manager, was at the event and got to listen to the presentations.

“The UMD Federal Fellows and Global Fellows program is a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in professional environments,” said Taylor. “Seeing the student presentations at the Academic Capstone Reception was truly inspiring, and START’s participating interns were very impressive presenters.”

Applications are now being accepted for fall semester START internships. For more information, click here.