FBI Charlotte Honors Interns Talk About Their Experiences
FBI Charlotte Honors Internship Program participants share their experiences.
When I heard I got the job, my sister actually started making jokes that I was going to be the coffee girl. You know you’re going to get doughnuts and you’re going to get coffee. And I walked in going, OK, I’ll scan some papers and I’ll do some small tasks. That is the absolute opposite of what I’ve actually done. I’m getting to help on real cases, I’m doing real investigative work in conjunction with the special agents, the task force officers, the professional staff. And it’s been such an amazing opportunity to see the results of my efforts. You know, I go home at night and I can say hey I really contributed today, you know, I didn’t just scan papers, I’m not filing things, I’m actually helping make a difference.
So, I’ve been working white-collar for this internship and it really applies to what I’ve been doing at school studying business. I’ve been working with bank statements, working with forensic accountants, and doing a lot of things actually that apply to my major and I’ve really been able to use what I learned at school and apply it here. It’s been a really cool experience getting to use the things that I’ve been learning to help solve cases.
I actually more specifically on the cyber squad usually work with our CART team, which is our Computer Analysis Response Team. And they’re our digital forensic examiners for the office. So anytime there is a computer or tablet or phone involved in an investigation, CART goes out on the search warrants and seizes it and then they are trained in processing the evidence so that the case agents can review it and we can maintain a good chain of custody on it. And something that I think is really interesting about them is they work on all different types of investigations. So, I’ve worked gang investigations, I’ve worked violent crimes against children, I’ve worked counter terrorism. I’ve gotten to work a whole range of investigations throughout my time here and I think that is what makes every day interesting and unique and I’ve really enjoyed that.
My dad’s actually an FBI agent and he’s been an FBI agent my whole life. So I thought that I knew what the Bureau was, and I had a pretty good idea more than most of the interns. But what I did not expect was just how much of a family it feels like. Everyone is super welcoming and it’s not like any other workplace I’ve ever been in where you come in for your shift and then when you’re done, you’re done. It’s like the relationships in the Bureau are truly something to be marveled. It really is a big family.
The people here are amazing, you see them out in the field and you’re kind of like they are so strict and they are kind of intimidating, but once you get to know them they are actually really nice people. Because of the internship, I’ve learned so much. The FBI is kind of like this huge entity that is so mysterious, but no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. And I think that is the best part is actually being part of what goes on behind closed doors and being able to look at it and see it firsthand.
I think the most fulfilling experience I’ve had is watching cases go from the very beginning to the very end. I had a couple search warrants that I was able to go on my first summer here that this summer I’ve been able to go to the sentencings and see the cases all the way through. And in the sentencings you meet the victims and you meet their families and it’s just a really awesome experience to be able to know that the work that you did directly affected someone’s life for the better.
I’d definitely say that one thing I learned about the bureau that even if I don’t continue in the bureau I will carry with me for the rest of my life is that the most successful people in any workforce are the ones who do the right thing regardless of whether it will upset somebody or if it’s not the best thing for their career or the promotion, they just always do the right thing.
This experience has totally changed my perspective of what I saw my future as, I was dead set pre-med going into school and now that I‘ve seen that there are other careers out there other than what I initially thought I wanted to do, especially those something that can fit with my biology degree within the Bureau, my mind is totally open to those other options so I can take the skills I’ve developed here, the methodical research skills and I can apply them to my education and then I can turn right back around and apply those educational skills that I’ve developed in school and put them towards working for the Bureau. I could be a forensics analyst, I could work at the full research Lab up in Quantico, there are so many niches in the Bureau that I feel that even a degree like biology, which most people would associate as a pre-medical path, it can be put towards work in the Bureau.
The FBI has truly become my summer home and every single summer I love coming back here. You know I never come to work, like, oh man, I have to go to somewhere to work all summer. I get excited to come back and I miss the people here when I’m away. So, if someone is looking at the FBI internship and is unsure, I say go for it. It’s a wonderful program and I would definitely recommend it.
I would tell anyone who is interested in applying to this internship to just go ahead and apply regardless of what you think you want to do. I think no matter what you think your future career goal is, the FBI has a place for you if you want one. And that’s definitely something I learned coming in as a STEM major, not related to criminal justice at all. I’ve definitely fit super well into the bureau, better than I ever thought and it’s been a fantastic experience that I recommend for all majors.
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