FBI Diversity: Hope's Story

Chemist Hope speaks about her experience working for the FBI.

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Hope Coplenad: My name is Hope Copeland.

I am a chemist, non-examiner, in the Scientific Response Analysis Unit, FBI Laboratory. And I was being interviewed, I asked the person who was interviewing me, they asked me, “Are there any questions that you have for me?” And I asked them, I said, "Well, will it be a problem that I wear a hijab to work every day?" Because at my previous employment I did not wear my hijab because I didn’t feel comfortable, I didn’t feel like I was protected. I felt like I was amongst law enforcement officers who did not understand Muslims, and I came from a community that’s skeptical of law enforcement anyways, and I’m speaking of the black community in general.

And when I asked this question of the interviewer, she looked at me and was like, “Why would that be a problem?” And when she responded that way, literally, I was like, “Really? It’s, you know, it’s not gonna be, you know, a problem? You guys aren’t gonna ask me, can you not wear your scarf, your hijab?” And she was like, “No we wouldn’t do that.” And so I was like, wow, this is great, I gotta get this job, you know.

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