U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Futures Team in the Administrator Action Group​

***ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS: U.S. Citizenship is required. If selected for the internship, prospective interns must successfully complete a background check, fingerprinting process, and internship forms; the background check process can take several weeks therefore it’s important to submit all paperwork in a timely manner.

LOCATION: Springfield, Virginia

INDUSTRY: Federal / State / Local Government

ABOUT US: TSA was created in the aftermath of 9/11 to oversee security in all modes of transportation and continues to grow as a risk-based, intelligence-driven counter terrorism agency dedicated to securing all modes of transportation. TSA's scope includes commercial and general aviation, mass transit systems, freight and passenger rail, highways, pipelines and ports. TSA is one of the largest agencies under the Department of Homeland Security and making up a quarter of the DHS workforce.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: The internship will be with the Futures Team in the Administrator Action Group. As an intern, you will be working on projects where you get to research, review, and analyze current programs and identify emerging trends; and explore creative and innovative solutions to current and future challenges facing TSA.

Past internship projects have included researching consumer behavior and incentives in a Post-Covid world; researching the nexus between public trust in transportation and economy; tracking transportation sector indicators

SPECIALIZED SKILLS:

  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Strong writing and communication skills  

REMOTE WORK ENVIRONMENT: There is high level of engagement between TSA staff and interns with regular meetings and briefs; current technology includes MS Skype and WebEx. Interns will go through a background personnel security check and upon successful completion of the process will be provided government furnished laptops. Due to Covid-19, we have not been able to do any in person activities such as behind the scene airport tours or canine decoy practices. However, we were able to have lunch and learn sessions for our 2019 summer cohort.

TIME ZONE: ET

WORKING HOURS: The internship work should be conducted during business hours so the intern can benefit from greater interaction with experienced federal staff and engage in meetings and other activities.

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, laptop on loan from host organization.


2020 Intern Reflections

My internship with TSA this summer has been an amazing experience. I've been working for the AAG Futures team, which is tasked with identifying risks to TSA's priorities and proposing innovative solutions to these problems. Coming into this internship, I really felt like I was part of the team right away - I got to begin working on a project as soon as I started, and will be personally briefing the Administrator on a few occasions throughout the summer. I'd highly recommend this internship for anyone interested in national or transportation security. Not only do I have a better picture of how the Department of Homeland Security operates, but I truly feel like the projects that I've been working on are meaningful.

-James Joyce '22

So far, working in the Administrators Action Group at TSA has been an absolute joy. As a small, independent task force, the work I get to do is much closer to think tank work than it is to what we classically imagine as the federal bureaucracy. I spend most of days with a mix of conference calls and research, preparing briefings for the head of TSA, both on topics of interest to him, and on topics that our team thinks are important to bring up. You can't say enough how much the government loves a good powerpoint. Being in a small team of about 5 people, the work culture has been great fun. Every Friday morning we do something fun, and so far we've had everything from ice cream parties to MadLibs. Supervisors and colleagues alike have been incredibly welcoming, and have continued to check in and assist me with anything I need, unprompted. In general, this has been a great learning experience, and a great way to fill my summer.

-Elijah McGill '23

2019 Intern Reflection:

My internship requires security clearance thus, most of what I have learned so far is classified. However, I am very fortunate for the exposure to issues of National Security, as it is an industry that very few people have access to. If you have an interest in math, government, and general management I would highly suggest interning with a security-related organization. I have applied most of my academic skills in this role, whether it be accessing new threats and risks to the TSA, or communicating with various program offices to find the best mitigation strategies. An average day on the job entails meetings with various executives regarding interdepartmental strategies to finalize risk assessments or editing documents regarding a National Strategy for certain transportation mode. So far, I have enjoyed the learning process, and look forward to more project assignments throughout the summer.

Miela Foster '21

2017 Intern Reflection:
My internship at the TSA this summer was a fantastic learning experience. Within TSA, I worked at the Office of Global Strategy (OGS), which is involved in international aviation security and works with all airports that are Last Point of Departures (LPDs) for flights to the United States. This internship coincided with an extraordinarily busy time at OGS as Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly announced the implementation of new enhanced security measures at all LPDs in place of the so-called “laptop ban.” Although my own work did not deal with these new measures, I was able to observe the impact they had on my colleagues and see the grittier details of how policy gets put into practice.

The team I worked for at OGS is responsible for Capacity Development. This team delivers training programs across the globe, and I was tasked with evaluating these training programs and finding ways they could be better tailored to their audiences. This work was fascinating (and complicated!) as it combined counter-terrorism security and foreign assistance. TSA is constantly looking for ways to improve, so they eagerly welcomed the fresh, outside perspective I was able to provide. As the only intern in my office, I was treated as an equal and given a rather substantial project with high expectations. At the same time, my colleagues were open, funny, and easygoing. They supported me at every step and made sure I got a complete picture of what the TSA does beyond OGS. Having been given a large degree of trust, I was pleasantly surprised to find I could contribute significantly to the organization and have a meaningful impact.

Philip Terwisscha van Scheltinga '19

Washington, D.C.