Tanya Evanina
Special Agent
Columbia Field Office

I joined the FBI in 2008 and was first assigned to the Pittsburgh Field Office. Drawing on my previous law enforcement experience, I gravitated toward the Violent Crimes Against Children program. I transferred to the Columbia Field Office in 2016 and was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). I am the assistant team leader of the FBI Columbia Evidence Response Team.

Describe your most memorable case or investigative success. 

Between January 24 and February 24, 2018, three hoax and three live explosive devices were placed around the rural community of Anderson, South Carolina. On January 30, 2018, a father and his 14-year-old daughter were injured by one of the live devices hidden inside of a wicker basket placed in the middle of a rural road. 

As case agent on the JTTF, I led the intense manhunt for the bomber with our partner agencies. Wesley Dallas Ayers was arrested due to the extraordinary work of the special agents and JTTF task force officers who worked the case. He was later convicted to 30 years in prison. 

Celebration of 50 years of female special agents in the FBI. Tanya Evanina from the Columbia Field Office

What is the best career or life advice you’ve been given?

The best life advice was given to me by my brother, Bill (retired FBI). From a young age, he always reminded me life wasn’t always going to be fair and life wasn’t always going to be easy. Additionally, to succeed in life, he coached me to have a very strong work ethic. He encouraged me to stay humble during my successes and to always remember where I came from. Keeping true to his life advice allowed me to accomplish my lifelong dream of service by becoming a police officer and FBI agent.

What does it mean to make room at the table? Why does it matter?

Having a seat at the table, to me, represents the opportunity someone is given to be heard and effect change within an organization. Thanks to the many female agents who successfully sat at the table to create change within the organization, we are finally seeing more chairs added to the table to represent the diverse workforce of the FBI.