Aaron Safer-Lichtenstein is a second year Ph.D. student with the University of Maryland’s criminology program and a graduate research assistant at START for the Global Terrorism Database. Before coming to work at START, he graduated with a B.A. in psychology and history from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. In college, he participated in research at the Learning Research and Development Center. His research included studying brain waves to understand cognitive processes that effect reading patterns. Upon completion of college, Safer-Lichtenstein worked for a survey research company, Abt SRBI, for two years. At START, he works as a member of the general variables team for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) project. As part of the general variables team, Safer-Lichtenstein is responsible for writing individual summaries that describe the “who, what, when, where, why and how” that characterize each terrorist event. He also is responsible for elucidating the motive of each attack (if one does exist), determining whether each attack meets the criteria for a terrorist event, and many other variables. Safer-Lichtenstein also contributes to creating the actual incident database that is subsequently coded. To do this, he evaluates a variety of media sources first to determine whether each source is of a high enough quality to qualify for inclusion in the GTD and second to determine whether the media source describes an actual incident of terrorism.
Outside of START, Safer-Lichtenstein’s research interests include testing criminological theory on empirical data related to terrorism as well as investigating the life-course processes of individuals who radicalize into terrorism.
- University of Pittsburgh, B.A., Psychology and History, 2010
- Graduate Assistant, Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Center, August 2012-
- Analyst/Project Manager, Abt SRBI Inc., 2010-2012
- Research Assistant, Learning Research and Development Center, 2009-2010
- Archivist, Montgomery County Archives, Summer 2008
- Research Assistant, Catholic University of America, 2007
- Research Assistant, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, Summer 2005