NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Preventing terrorist attacks, catching drug dealers, busting up organized crime all get headlines for the F.B.I. But, what about the other jobs that agents perform? And, just how does one become an FBI agent?
Well, if you’re a teenager who may be considering a career in law enforcement, agents are extending an invitation ready to answer your questions.
“I first got interested in, I wanna say, junior or senior year in high school,” says Gabby Fox, now a 3rd-year student at Christopher Newport University. ” I started watching Criminal Minds and all those crime shows and I was like – ‘Oh, this is really interesting!'”
Interestingly enough, Fox is majoring in accounting at CNU, with a goal in mind.
“I would love to be a forensic accountant for the FBI.”
Kaila Garcia says she’s been interested in the FBI since she was little.
Now, a freshman at James Madison University, Garcia got a more realistic, and first-hand look at the challenges agents take on. One sobering experience involves acquaintances who’ve had a brush with the law after using social media.
“I’ve seen people who’ve had their lives destroyed,” says Garcia. “Like, they put something on social media and they actually got arrested.”
Social media abuse, fraud and cyber-terrorism are just some of the crimes that are investigated by federal agents who don’t necessarily carry a gun, says Vanessa Torres, a Community Outreach specialist with the F.B.I. office in Chesapeake.
“We have those jobs available. And not that many students understand that. They think that to come into the FBI, they have to carry a gun and go to Quantico- which is not necessarily the case for everyone.”
And that’s why Torres says the FBI started the “F.A.I.T.” program which stands for “Future Agents in Training. “The program is now in its 4th year.
“It is a one-week program that’s designed to give students an inside look at the FBI.
“We like our local students to learn about the variety of jobs that it takes to keep our community safe.”
says Izaiah Thomas, a 2018 graduate of the F.A.I.T. program. He’s now a Criminal Justice Major at Old Dominion University.
“I got to get personal experiences, first-hand scenarios, what the agents do, what they go through on a daily basis.”
Thomas says he’s seriously considering a career with the FBI or another agency.
“We’re also looking for students who are on the fence about their careers,” says Torres.
“Perhaps they’re not even aware that there’s a career opportunity with the FBI. We’re looking for those students as well because we would like for them to see the variety of jobs, not just special agent jobs, but professional support staff jobs that are available.”
Torres says the FBI’s FAIT program plans to take about 25 teens. The deadline to apply is January 30.
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