The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in November awarded 105 undergraduate and graduate students-including nine psychology students-homeland security research scholarships and fellowships.
The two-year-old Scholarships and Fellowships Program provides full tuition and stipends to students from science and technology fields such as computer science, engineering and biology to study ways to improve the country's homeland security.
Past DHS psychology awardees have investigated fear of terrorism and developed programs to train health professionals to respond to terrorist attacks.
As part of their award, scholars and fellows serve 10-week internships in government agencies such as the Department of Energy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service.
DHS scholar Ric Monroe, a second-year clinical psychology graduate student at the University of South Dakota, says the program has given him a unique opportunity.
"The training I get will put me in a position to work in places that might not have been available otherwise," he says.
Monroe is exploring the types of coping strategies used by 9/11 Red Cross workers at ground zero in New York City. He will spend his summer internship at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico helping researchers find effective ways to provide psychological assistance within the first 48 hours after an emergency.
DHS selected the 47 graduate and 58 undergraduate winners last spring out of 900 applicants, and the scholars received their funding for the current school year. The nine psychology winners-five undergraduates and four graduate students-study in social, clinical, experimental or other psychological fields.
In addition to the nine winners, four psychology recipients from 2003 renewed their awards-Zeno Franco of the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Medha Tare of the University of Michigan, Clinton Jenkin of the University of New Hampshire and Jennifer Goldman of Columbia. In all, DHS currently sponsors nearly 175 scholars and fellows.
"The program has many disciplines represented, and it's exciting that they have a psychology component," DHS scholar Monroe says. "It's certainly necessary, and I think Homeland Security has recognized that."
For more information on the DHS Scholarship and Fellowship Program, visit www.orau.gov/dhsed.