This summer I am interning at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and
Responses to Terrorism (START), which is based at the University of Maryland. I first heard about this great opportunity in one of the e-mails that was sent out over the Political Science listserv by the Poli-Sci department. There are many projects under START but I decided to apply for one titled “Central American Trafficking” which means I provide research support of the illegal antiquities market in Central America and the Caribbean and the major players involved. This includes drug, wildlife, and human smuggling; in addition I have to analyze counter trafficking techniques. This position allowed me to utilize my previous research experience as well as my language skills. Plus I already had an interest in the area so it was a perfect fit for me. START has also assigned me to be a research assistant to a criminology professor here at the University of Maryland. We will research wildlife trafficking and writing a case study so I hope to learn a lot from this experience. In addition to my regular research, I volunteered to be a note taker at a subcommittee meeting at one of the House of Representatives office buildings when my supervisor was not able to attend. Sitting in a room with a handful of members of Congress and top officials of the Coast Guard, ICE, CBP and the DEA was definitely a memorable experience. In addition I was able to tour a little bit of D.C. after the meeting was over and saw the White House
So far I have had a great time working with everyone at START. Even though I began my internship two weeks later than all the other interns I’ve had a smooth transition into being part of the team. Throughout this internship I hope to sharpen my research skills as well as the methodology involved in creating case studies. Since I am considering a possible job in the public sector, specifically the Department of State, I think this internship also provides a great networking opportunity.
Even though this is an unpaid internship, I was able to accept it thanks to Northwestern’s Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP). SIGP provides grants that are funded thanks to donation by NU Alumni. Not only do SIGP recipients receive a stipend for the summer, but University Career Services also provides immense amounts of advice and guidelines to ensure that every recipient gets the most out of their internship. In addition, if you’re a SIGP recipient who has not yet found a summer internship, they can help you find one! Without SIGP it would have been difficult to cover my traveling and housing expenses for the summer but thanks to it I can do so while receiving guidance to make sure I can maximize the benefits that I can get from being a START intern.
About the NU Intern Blogger Program
This summer, over 50 Northwestern University students will be sharing stories about what they are experiencing at their internships from across the country and internationally. Each week new students will share an inside look at what it means to be an intern. Please contact Betsy Gill, Assistant Director, Internship Services if you have any questions.