The Daily Illini

Students’ Academy brings FBI to campus

Back to Article
Back to Article

Students’ Academy brings FBI to campus

Toni Pantone

Toni Pantone

Toni Pantone

By Megan Bradley, Staff Writer

It can be hard to receive job offers from government agencies. However, one registered student organization on campus is working to help students find employment with agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI Students’ Academy RSO is affiliated with the FBI and runs seminars with guest speakers from the FBI to speak with students interested in joining a governmental agency someday.

“Our goals are to increase student awareness about what the FBI is, their mission, what kind of things they do, the people they work with and what kind of jobs are available within the FBI. It’s a way for students to come and ask questions,” said Dorothy Christoforou, junior in LAS and the RSO’s president.

The FBI Students’ Academy at the University was the first students’ academy to open five years ago. It works directly with the community outreach specialist from the FBI branch in Springfield, Illinois, to coordinate events.

The biggest aspect the club wants to spread awareness about is the FBI seeks students with any interest, ranging from accountants to lawyers.

Christoforou said she is studying political science in the hopes of becoming an FBI lawyer someday, while Sam Davis, junior in LAS and the RSO’s event director, said she is studying molecular and cellular biology to become a forensic scientist.

“The agents that come in are really cool because they get to tell not only their specialty that they work in, like weapons of mass destruction, but they also get to tell how they got into the FBI,” Davis said. “Some people start as a gym teacher, some start as a lawyer, so it’s really nice to see the different ways you can get into the FBI.”

Davis said she had never realized the multiple paths people take with the FBI, and learning about this has become beneficial for her and her future career path.

Other than having agents come in, the FBI Students’ Academy also hosts workshops for events, such as building a resume fit for a governmental agency job, since they require four to five pages of information.

The Students’ Academy is open for anyone to join. But once students express interest, there are various requirements that they must complete in order to graduate from the program.

“The certificate (of graduation) shows that you’ve gone through this program,” Davis said. “It’s run through the FBI and signed by the FBI, so it shows that you have not only expressed interest, but you have gone and listened to presentations and learned the ins and outs of the FBI.”

Students who do not fulfill their requirements in one year are encouraged to continue in the organization until they do graduate.

Agents who specialize in topics such as white-collar crime, violence, counterterrorism and cybercrime give seminars at the FBI Students’ Academy, which are beneficial for students in multiple ways.

“It helps you with wanting to do well in school, too,” Christoforou said. “We have a lot of agents that come in and stress the importance of being involved and trying to be really good at what you do, so it’s really kind of inspiring and insightful.”

The Students’ Academy also gives students a chance to fully understand and interact with current FBI agents.

Trevor Royse, sophomore in Business and the RSO’s treasurer, joined the academy two years ago as a way to reach his dream job since high school.

“The academy is a great place to learn how to make your community a safer place (and) learn what the FBI does in real life in contrast to what people see on TV and in movies,” Royse wrote in an email. “It is also an excellent foundation for learning how to join the FBI.”

This year, for the first time, the executive board from the Students’ Academy is taking a trip to Springfield, Illinois, to visit the FBI offices located there and to meet with more agents. In the future, Christoforou said she hopes this can be an opportunity expanded to all members.

In addition to expanding the Springfield trip, another goal the RSO has is to increase membership.

This year, the RSO is graduating almost twice the amount of people than last year. Royse said they hope to keep the numbers growing.

Interacting with the FBI agents is Christoforou, Davis and Royse’s favorite part of being in the organization, which they hope to have more students experience.

“You get to hear anything and everything about the FBI, anything you might’ve had questions about or do have questions about,” Davis said. “We get to talk to actual special agents. They’re not just people who have heard stories; they’re people doing it currently. So you get their side of it, not just a teacher going out of a book.”

[email protected]

Leave a Comment