Want to Investigate Big Crime? An Internship with the FBI Could Be the Start
For most of us, the things we think we know about the FBI come from television and movies, portraying agents in the field solving high-profile cases. However, Thomas Janssen, a senior studying computer science and cybersecurity, got a real-life sneak peek into the innerworkings of the FBI as an intern, and learned that there’s far more action behind the scenes when it comes to solving cases.
Working with the FBI was not the stereotypical internship of fetching coffee or making copies. He was fully immersed in the Bureau's operations, contributing to tasks that held genuine significance — assisting with ongoing cases, gaining insights into the intricate workings of the justice system and observing how cases evolve from initiation to closure.
“I was surprised I was exposed to so many areas within the FBI during my time there,” said Janssen. “I assisted special agents in active case work by conducting a comprehensive analysis on evidentiary material and providing a summary of the material to help move the case along. I never imagined I would be able to work on active cases, much less do something so vital to the investigation.”
Although he isn’t allowed to discuss specifics, this hands-on involvement allowed him to understand the various opportunities available within the FBI.
“I learned how important the professional staff is in supporting special agents with their case work. Without computer scientists, forensic accountants, data analysts and others, the cases would take significantly longer to solve because their expertise is vital to the success of the Bureau."
Landing this coveted internship was not without its challenges. After attending an informational meeting sophomore year on a whim, he decided to apply. Upon selection, he had to undergo a thorough background investigation, which included a personnel security interview, a pre-employment polygraph examination, a urine-analysis test, thorough reference checks and, of course, a close look at his social media output.
“This experience has shown me that a career with the FBI can be fulfilling and a very real possibility. I’m still not sure what my future career will be, but I can confidently say that I would love for it to be with the FBI so that I can use the skills I’ve learned to help people.”
—Emily Potts & Thomas Bruch