In the past year, the Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA) Center of Excellence provided undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern with the Department of Homeland Security.
This was accomplished through the CINA Scholars program, which matched graduate students with DHS units interested in the specific expertise of these students. This program allowed students like Fatema Tuz Johra to work with DHS Cyber Crime Center (C3). Ms. Johra shared her excitement at the time of her selection as a CINA Scholarsaying, “I’ve done a lot of projects with digital investigations and analyzing digital media and I really liked it so I’m hoping to get more-hands on experience.” Upon completion of her very successful internship, Ms. Johra was hired as graduate reseracher for a project funded by C3, continuing her interaction with that unit in a different capacity.
Ms. Johra was part of a team of four CINA Scholars interning at the DHS Cyber Crime Center. These students worked on a variety of projects related to the Dark Web, online anonymity and attribution, cyber-criminal organizations, mobile devices, forensic data recovery, virtual machines, audio and video data analysis, and open source investigation and analysis tools.
The CINA Scholars program places outstanding undergraduate and graduate students as interns at various DHS components. The students work on-site with DHS staff on current problems and challenges, and students are provided a stipend during their time at DHS.
Through the program students have the opportunity to get real-world, hands-on experience with active practitioners. They are gaining context and understanding to apply what they learn in classes, all while still actively enrolled so the work informs the classes which support the work.
DHS gains the fresh look and cutting-edge expertise that these students bring to the projects that they get involved with. As DHS has to excel in rapidly evolving and increasingly complex problem spaces, this infusion of talent is an alternate means to introduce innovation in the DHS workflow. And, these interns would also be prime candidates for future careers in the Homeland Security Enterprise.
Selection as a CINA scholar is highly competitive. Students provide a CV in response to an announcement for a particular organization and desired skills. Applications are reviewed and a pool of selected candidates then interview with the DHS component in order for the final selection to be made.
The process to select such intern candidates for next summer is beginning this month, and components interested in hosting CINA Scholar interns are invited to contact the Center for more information.