The Potomac Institute Internship Program (for undergraduate, graduate, or recently graduated students) hosts interns with a variety of academic backgrounds that relate to the science, technology, and national security missions of the Institute. The Institute strives to provide a versatile experience for each internship participant. Some unique qualities of the program are policy research, school credits, seminars and conferences, publication acknowledgements, and networking.

On August 8th, the interns presented their projects to the Potomac Institute staff, which signified the culmination of their internship. A brief biography of the interns and their research projects are below:

Claire Spina, North Carolina State University

Engineering a Competitive Future

Claire Spina is a rising senior at NC State University with a major in Science, Technology, and Society, and minors in Biology and Creative Writing. Claire researched the current state of gene editing regulation in the U.S. and assessed preparedness for a future in which gene editing is a significant arena of international competition.

Naomi Rinaldo, Norwich University

Do the Crime, Your Data is Mine

Naomi Rinaldo is a rising Senior at Norwich University earning her bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Naomi researched the mechanisms of successfully combating prison radicalization and the application of big data collection to potentially find an identifier between individuals who may be more susceptible to radical ideology.

Zachary Eldredge, University of Maryland

Synthetic Biology for Space Outposts

Zach is a Ph.D. student in physics at the University of Maryland. He studies quantum information theory and how new types of physical states can be created, communicated, and used for sensing and information processing. Zach studied the emerging technology of synthetic biology, which allows for the creation of new forms of life and capabilities in organic systems. He has explored how these new capabilities could be key to the creation of long-term outposts in outer space, especially Mars, and what steps the U.S. government needs to take today to ensure those technologies are ready in the future.

Rylie White, University of Missouri-Columbia

Impact of Hypersonic Weapons on National Security and Crisis Instability

Rylie White is a Senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying Biochemistry and Political Science. Rylie researched the potential impact of hypersonic weapons technology on national security and regional/global strategic stability. The extreme speeds, maneuverability, and precision of hypersonic missiles gives them the capability to penetrate existing U.S. missile defense systems.

Emma Brehany, Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia)

A Dangerous Duo: Advancing Technologies and Stagnant Mental Illness Levels

Emma Brehany is a rising senior at Virginia Tech earning her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. Emma examined how the increased accessibility of WMD’s coupled with current inefficient treatments for mental illnesses poses a serious threat to the United States. Since halting technological innovation is unrealistic, the United States must work to cure mental illness through a series of short, mid and long-term steps to reduce the risks.

To learn more about the Policy Internship Program click here


The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
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Our Mission

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


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