Criminology alumna receives prestigious internship

By: Nicole Sawyer

            Many students like to spend their summers at home, hanging out with friends and family. Others may be taking a couple of classes over the summer, while some opt for a part-time job during the break. However, Katelyn Heron is not one of those students.

            Heron graduated this past spring from USF with degrees in psychology and criminology. Her interest in criminology began when she was a freshman taking elective courses in the major. That interest and drive lead to Heron accepting an internship with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia for this summer; a competitive opportunity many in the field wish to be a part of.

            “I was looking up jobs on USA Jobs that I could potentially apply for in the future. [I was] just trying to get a better idea of qualifications since I was approaching graduation, when I read that for one of the jobs you were required to attend the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for 6months. I quickly googled FLETC to learn more about what exactly it was when I came across a student section that talked about an internship opportunity,”said Heron.

            Heron chose to apply to this particular internship because it has always been a goal of hers to work for the federal government. “I thought what better way to get my foot in the door than interning at their primary training facility?”she said.

            To apply for the internship Heron had to write an essay on her goals and objectives that the internship would help with, as well as receive a nomination fromLisa Landis, the Director of Student Support and Academic Services in the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences. In the past two years, three students from this particular USF college have been selected to intern with the FLETC; a great recognition for the university and program since it is a very competitive internship with only a few spots available.

            “Students are strongly encouraged to complete an internship as it provides them with the opportunity to network and gain experience in conjunction with their degree which will lead to them being more marketable for employment upon graduation. Students with majors under the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences have a high employment rate upon graduation within our surrounding community,”said Landis.

            Over 90 agencies are affiliated with the FLETC, many of which Heron will be able to connect with and learn from. She said she will be spending half of her time “…working with an assigned agency on challenging projects and assignments, and the other half of our time taking lectures and labs with actual students of FLETC. We will be exposed to a variety of topics in the classrooms from Use of Force and Terrorism, to Interviewing Techniques and Surveillance.”

            This is certainly not Heron’s first internship in the field of criminology. She previously interned with the Secret Service and branches of law enforcement. “I also spent last semester working at a group home with foster kids. Although not directly related with what I want to do in the future, it was a great opportunity for me and put me in an environment with sometimes-troubled kids. I was forced to use what I had learned from my coursework to better understand some of the situations these kids were dealing with and also how to help them.”

            However, it does appear that this opportunity will be the most prominent in helping her achieve her career goals and aspirations. “This internship is different than my previous internship because instead of working out in the field with current agent/officers, I will be sitting side by side with newly hired men and women as they become agents within their respective agencies. I will get the opportunity to sit through lectures and labs teaching these men and women how to be an agent and seeing what it takes from a brand new perspective,”Heron said.

            Due to this internship with FLETC, Heron will have an advantage over other rising students in the field. She said she will be attending “the same exact courses that most Federal agencies send their newly hired agents to,”as well as meeting current and retired agents.

            Heron hopes this internship will aid her in networking and wishes to leave “FLETC with a solid handful of connections.”She also wants to learn as much as possible from the projects she will be working on and from the lectures and labs she will be attending.

            “Once I graduate I see myself working for a federal agency as a criminal investigator (special agent), however I am not sure which agency that will be quite yet.”

            Hopefully this internship will help Heron decide what agency she will work for in the future, as well as teach her the tools and information she will need to succeed to her fullest capability. Best of luck this summer and in your future criminology endeavors, Katelyn!