Skip to main content

ARLIS's 2023 Research for Intelligence and Security Challenges (RISC) summer internship program ended Aug. 3 after interns spent 10 weeks working on a variety of real-world issues across 48 projects. 

The projects, sponsored by several intelligence and security agencies, focused on technology and industrial security; artificial intelligence, data and computing; and human and social systems. This year featured 122 interns from 42 institutions, including the University of Maryland. The program started in 2020 with 17 students. The purpose of RISC is to expose and encourage students to pursue careers in the defense intelligence and security enterprise. In fact, 75 percent of the 2021 graduating class have taken jobs with the federal government, ARLIS or elsewhere in the defense security and intelligence community. Of this year's class, 51 interns were able to secure final Secret-level security clearances with 10 eligible for higher, making it easier for agencies to hire them. Read more about the RISC program here

Here is what some of this year's interns had to say about the RISC program. 


Rachel Stoneking

Rachel Stoneking has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Psychology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott Campus. Rachel is pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Applied Intelligence from Georgetown University - School of Continuing Studies in Washington, D.C., and is expected to graduate in December 2024.

    “I was attracted to this program because doing research for the Department of Defense is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to do meaningful and important work. I applied because I had this gut feeling that it was a program I needed to be a part of, so I didn’t hesitate to apply. I am 100%, with no doubt in my mind, planning to pursue a career in national intelligence. I am called to national intelligence and it involves everything I want in a career. Specifically as a counterintelligence investigator, I would be challenged daily, have consistent personnel and professional growth, tap into my passion for the pursuit of justice and never have a boring day at work. As I have said before, I want to be a part of something bigger than myself and have a meaningful impact on others whether they know it or not. I believe that can be achieved through a career in national intelligence."

    Jonah Benjamin

    Jonah Benjamin is a computer science and international relations double major and entering his junior year at the University of Maryland.

    “Currently, my plans are to finish my degree and then apply for jobs in the intelligence community. I would like to apply my technical skillset to confront the challenges America faces globally, and I believe the intelligence community offers a unique avenue to do so. RISC reinforced my belief that I want to dedicate myself to public service, and throughout the program, I learned how broad my opportunities would be within the IC for a technical career. I knew that I wanted to work in intelligence prior to RISC, but was not aware of the scope of opportunity that my skillset offers me."

    Tyler Houser

    Tyler Houser is a Ph.D student and graduate research assistant in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at George Mason University. Tyler completed his B.A. and M.A. in Criminal Justice at Radford University where he also worked as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. His research interests include terrorism and counterterrorism, mass violence, gun violence, crime analysis, and applied national security and intelligence research.

    “I was attracted to RISC (and ARLIS) for several reasons. First, the RISC internship offered an opportunity to conduct meaningful research in a field I hope to pursue upon completing my graduate education. Second, the work completed during the internship will have an actual impact on the national security and intelligence community. Third, RISC and ARLIS are made up of multidisciplinary teams and researchers, creating a holistic response to solve some of the more challenging national security and intelligence challenges. Lastly, the RISC internship opens several doors for students to work alongside distinguished researchers from across the country, while introducing students to various high-ranking members of the national security and intelligence fields.”

    Alexei Anicheev

    Alexei Anicheev is working on a bachelor’s degree in Information Science from the University of Maryland and is interested in data analysis and cybersecurity. He will graduate May 2024.

    “The biggest takeaway I have from RISC is that there is a myriad of extremely important and extremely interesting questions that are just waiting for the right people to come along and ask them. When that happens, progress is made and knowledge is shared - all it takes is that one push as well as a sufficient amount of support for the askers and what is obtained is invaluable information that can serve to reinforce and protect all of us in a time when there are so many vulnerabilities present.”

    Caroline Gish

    Caroline Gish is working on her master’s degree at Georgetown University in Computational Linguistics. She also has a bachelor’s degree in both Linguistics and English Literature and a minor in Korean from the University of Pittsburgh.

    "I think I always had some adjacent interest in the fields of national security and intelligence, but I was not aware of all the different agencies and research labs that lend support to the intelligence community. I also didn’t know how to apply my specific interests and skills in linguistics/computational linguistics within those mission areas. It wasn’t clear to me how computational linguists truly can be utilized in the intelligence community beyond the more expected or stereotypical language translation roles."