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Evaluating companies’ abilities to find insider risks from social media posts – Summer 2021

Please note you must apply through START's website here:
Applications submitted through Handshake will NOT be considered.

Check with your Internship Coordinator BEFORE accepting to determine how you might do this internship for credit.

This internship would be with The University of Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), a sibling unit to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).
When an insider goes bad in some newsworthy way, reporters often scour social media for clues that could have predicted the incident. But how realistic is it really to find reliable clues to future behavior on social media—at scale? The Office of the Director of National Security (ODNI) has allowed for the analysis of social media platforms as a way to enhance personnel vetting since 2016. Yet despite the potential it presents, accurately establishing identities, knowing which accounts to track and ensuring the authenticity of information has posed significant challenges. UMD’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) has been asked to test and evaluate approaches to vetting personnel risk from publicly available information such as social media posts. The goal of this project is to evaluate which companies can (a) find the right person, (b) accurately identify whether an individual may pose a future risk to national security, and (c) do so at scale in a timely and cost effective manner.
Interns will perform annotation (coding) on textual data of individuals’ Publicly Available Electronic Information (PAEI). After a training period and familiarity using established coding guidelines, annotators will be asked to code text to determine accuracy (or confidence of accuracy) of information provided, such as identity confirmation, accuracy of application of “business rules” and presence/absence of features in text.
Supervisor: Anton Rytting (
Deadline: Sunday, April 4th, 2021
US Citizenship Required: Yes
Team Meeting Times: Thursdays at 10am ET
Required/Minimum Qualifications:
  • At least 1 year of experience (major or minor) with a field of behavioral or social science (e.g., psychology, sociology, criminology, cognitive science, language sciences, survey methodology) or 400-level coursework in Information Science (e.g., INST 414, 447).
  • Ability to consistently follow written guidelines
  • Attention to detail
  • Experience working in a team, ability to adhere to strict deadlines and strictly follow established parameters for handling sensitive data, and promptly report any deviations from protocol or problems encountered.
  • Ability to communicate clearly in writing (e.g., documenting annotation procedures)
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience annotating (coding) textual data
  • Experience with resolving ambiguities in personal identity (e.g., in genealogical or historical records research, law enforcement, journalism, archival work)

General Information for all START Internships
START Headquarters is located in the Discovery District in College Park, MD, however our summer 2021 internship program will be conducted remotely.
Schedule Requirements:
Orientation Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2021. All interns are required to attend orientation. You may be required to attend an additional day of orientation on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021. Your supervisor will inform you if you are required to attend both days.
Internship Duration: Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 to Friday, August 6th, 2021. All interns must be able to commit to the duration of the whole program.
Work Hours: All interns must work at least 20 hours per week during the summer 2021 program. Work hours are scheduled from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. Interns may not work longer than 8-hour or shorter than 2 hour shifts.
Other Information:
  • All internships are UNPAID and START is unable to provide travel stipends or housing arrangements. However, the University of Maryland has several opportunities for students to apply for unpaid internship stipends. Please note START is not involved in the application or review process for these stipends with the exception of the Paul Gallo Memorial Scholarship for Non-Traditional Student Interns.
  • The Ammerman Foundation Student Veteran Professional Development Fund:
  • Paul Gallo Memorial Scholarship for Non-Traditional Student Interns:
  • 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 20 hours per work for this reason.
  • Applicants interested in applying for an internship for any semester other than or in addition to summer 2021, 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 the summer 2021 semester. Please make sure you check the dates for the projects you’re interested in to make sure they’re available during the semester you intend to apply. The summer 2021 application form will be open until 11:59pm ET on Sunday, April 4th, 2021. However, some projects for the summer semester require the application be submitted by the priority deadline (Sunday, March 21st, 2021 at 11:59pm ET) so please be sure to note the deadlines in the project descriptions. 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
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.