2014 Homeland Security Summer Scholars Academy

The Homeland Security Summer Scholars Academy is a 10 week summer research institute where undergraduate students work closely with UTEP professors engaged in new or ongoing research in the domains border security and immigration. Applications from students throughout the United States are solicited, and student-scholars are identified through a competitive selection process. In addition to working with a faculty mentor, emerging scholars with a demonstrated interest in homeland security-related careers are provided the opportunity to increase their knowledge of career possibilities in homeland security through visits with homeland security related agencies and scheduled interactions with DHS personnel. Through these visits and interactions, participants develop an enhanced understanding of critical issues in border security and immigration. At the end of the 10 week program, scholars are required to present the results from their summer research projects before a panel of UTEP faculty and local homeland security stakeholders.

Agencies within our stakeholder support network for the summer program include: Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, Immigration Customs and Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, El Paso Intelligence Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management, and El Paso County Sheriff’s Emergency Management Unit and their Forensic Investigative Crime Scene Unit. For the 2014 edition of our summer internship program the NCBSI is announcing the launch of a second program option involving an imbedded internship within a homeland security related agency. This program option is described below.

The fact sheet for the 2014 Homeland Security Summer Scholars Academy is available here:

Homeland Security Summer Scholars Academy Fact Sheet


Internship Option #1: Assigned research project within the domains of border security and immigration.

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration is now accepting undergraduate applications for the 2014 Homeland Security Summer Scholars Academy. This ten week summer program established by the National Center for Border Security and Immigration, which is a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence located at the University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) is geared towards academically inclined undergraduate students from various disciplines interested in careers within homeland security and other related industries. Academic achievers may apply to work with professors on research which correlates with their discipline and is focused on border security, immigration and other homeland security related research areas of need at UTEP. Scholars selected for this program will also experience one of the most dynamic border regions, network with other students from UTEP and universities from across the nation, and visit homeland security agencies and learn from experts in the field. Scholars are expected to apply a maximum of thirty-two hours per week on their assigned research and up to eight hours per week for the scheduled field engagements with the local homeland security stakeholders. All candidates must be an undergraduate student actively enrolled in a university degree program and must have earned by the program start date a minimum of sixty college credits. Only students with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.3 should apply. On the final day of the program scholars are expected to develop a research poster and present their research findings in a formal NCBSI sponsored symposium scheduled for the final day of the program.

Students chosen for the program will be awarded a $4,000 stipend and receive paid on-campus housing, a meal allowance, and travel reimbursement if students selected for the program do not live within a commuting distance of 100 miles. The 2014 HS Summer Scholars Academy begins on June 2nd and concludes on August 8th. Student scholars selected from outside universities must designate Monday June 2nd as their travel day and check into the on campus housing provided. On June 3rd an Academy Orientation will be held for all scholars selected for the program with the time and location to be announced after the 2014 candidates have been selected.



Program Option #2: Imbedded Internship with Homeland Security Relate Agency.

The selection of scholars for this program component will be based on their application package meeting eligibility requirements, the preferred qualifications outlined by the individual agency, and the discipline and area of expertise specified by the participating agency. The application package requirements and the program dates are identical to those outlined for project one. Select scholars will have the opportunity to work and gain experience in an actual applied environment, learn about the agency and its mission, and take the first steps into transitioning into an actual homeland security-related career. Every scholar selected for a formal internship will have either a designated UTEP faculty or NCBSI Program Manager assigned to them. This designated faculty/staff member will mentor, follow up, and evaluate the progress of the scholar throughout the internship, and directly interact with the representative designated by the hosting agency.

Scholars selected are expected to dedicate up to thirty-nine hours per week with their host agency and designate one hour weekly to meet with their designated NCBSI Program Manager or assigned faculty mentor. This program option is open to both undergraduate and master’s level graduate candidates. Undergraduate candidates must be actively enrolled in a university degree program and must have earned by the program start date a minimum of sixty college credits. Only undergraduate students with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.3 should apply. Graduate level candidates at the master’s level must be actively enrolled in a university and must have a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0. On the final day of the program scholars are expected to develop a power point presentation which describes the agency in which they completed their internship and their internship experiences in a formal NCBSI sponsored symposium scheduled for the final day of the program.

Scholar alumni selected for previous program editions are strongly encouraged to apply for this option. Students chosen for the program will be awarded a $4,000 stipend and receive paid on-campus housing, a meal allowance, and travel reimbursement if students selected for the program do not live within a commuting distance of 100 miles. Students selected for this option are strongly encouraged report for the start of their internship with their own personal mode of transportation, but it is not mandatory. The 2014 HS Summer Scholars Academy begins on June 2nd and concludes on August 8th. Student scholars selected from outside universities must designate Monday June 2nd as their travel day and check into the on campus housing provided. On June 3rd an Academy Orientation will be held for all scholars selected for the program with the time and location to be announced after the 2014 candidates have been selected.


The NCBSI would like to welcome the following students to the 2014 Homeland Security Summer Scholars Academy programs:


Program Option One: Research


  • Name: Tre Branch

    Institution: University of Albany

    Major: Bachelors in Sociology

    Project: Mental Health of Hispanics in a Border City



  • Name: Melissa Armendariz

    Institution: University of Texas El Paso

    Major: Bachelors in Psychology

    Project: The influence of support and coercion on perceptions of injustice and decision making among immigrants



  • Name: Suzanne Weedon

    Institution: University of Albany

    Major: Bachelors in Criminal Justice & Psychology

    Project: The Social Psychological Process of Radicalization



  • Name: Paul Quinonez

    Institution: Gonzaga University

    Major: Bachelors Political Science & Economics

    Project: Policing Immigrant Neighborhoods on the Border: How do the Police and Immigrant Communities Perceive Each Other in El Paso, Texas?



  • Name: Leonard Arambam

    Institution: University of Buffalo

    Major: Bachelors in Industrial Engineering

    Project: Game Theory for Border Security



  • Name: Alexis Trumble

    Institution: Clemson University

    Major: Bachelors in Sociology & Bachelors in Psychology

    Project: Transnational Criminal Organizations Activity Enhanced Through the Use of Social Media in the El Paso Region?



  • Name: Nicholas Sun

    Institution: Rutgers University

    Major: Bachelors in Statistics-Mathematics

    Project: Transnational Criminal Organizations Activity Enhanced Through the Use of Social Media in the El Paso Region



  • Name: Natalie Chandler

    Institution: Wright State University

    Major: International Studies

    Project: Perception of Border Security Among Immigrants

Program Option Two: Imbedded Internships


  • Name: Christina Jutzi

    Institution: University of Pittsburgh

    Major: Bachelors in Administration of Justice& Bachelors in Natural Sciences

    Internship: El Paso County Sheriffs Crime Scene Unit



  • Name: Meagan Abel

    Institution: University of Texas at Austin

    Major: Bachelors in English Honors, Government, & Linguistics

    Internship: Transportation Security Administration



  • Name: Andres Vergara

    Institution: University of Florida

    Major: Masters in Public Affairs

    Internship: El Paso County Sheriffs Crime Scene Unit



  • Name: James Pevey

    Institution: Utah State University

    Major: Bachelors in Global Communication

    Internship: Customs & Border Protection-Office of Border Patrol



  • Name: Adam Ondo

    Institution: University of Rochester

    Major: Bachelors Geology & History

    Internship: Customs & Border Protection-Office of Border Patrol



  • Name: Rodrigo Borunda

    Institution: University of Texas El Paso

    Major: Masters in Political Science

    Internship: Customs & Border Protection-Office of Field Operations



  • Name: Katherine Melton

    Institution: University of North Texas

    Major: Bachelors in Emergency Administration and Planning

    Internship: Customs & Border Protection-Office of Field Operations



  • Name: Emily Hugo

    Institution: University of Mississippi

    Major: Bachelors in Forensic Chemistry

    Internship: Transportation Security Administration



  • Name: Cody Phillips

    Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University

    Major: Bachelors in Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness

    Internship: The Paso County/City Office of Emergency Management

NCBSI 2014 Summer Scholars Academy Photo Album:

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