Early Tuesday afternoon, students and faculty gathered at Calumet College of St. Joseph to hear from a special guest to The Region from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent Wendy Osbourne, a veteran of the bureau for over 25 years. Osbourne was at CCSJ as part of their effort to give students a leg up for internships and careers before and after graduation.
Agent Osbourne is a native of Chicago, but now works at the FBI’s Indianapolis Division with her husband and works as a recruiter for the FBI, educating the public on what it takes to become an FBI Agent and what the FBI has to offer those who seek a career in its employ. These careers can include being a Special Agent, but can also include technical positions from Biology to Photography. The FBI is also currently the highest compensated law enforcement agency, so students were eager to hear the opportunities.
“I think it’s important for the future of the FBI that we obtain applications and recruits that represent diversity,” said Osbourne, who is one of the just 20% of women who are in law enforcement within the agency.
To Osbourne, it is important that the FBI include more women and minorities from the communities they serve in order to make the bureau more representative of that community. As for what the FBI has to offer the students of CCSJ, Osbourne had a lot to say about where a career with the FBI could lead. For starters: a paid internship and a potential full-time position upon graduation.
“We have paid internships, full time employment opportunities and offer an exciting, challenging, demanding career,” said Osbourne, who did not mince words about both the challenges and payoffs of working for the FBI.
Students listened attentively as Osbourne talked about her own career and exactly the kind of demands the job makes of those who enter into it and how she got there. Osbourne herself did not start out with a degree in law enforcement and, in fact, has a Masters in Political Science. When she first joined the FBI in 1991 a mere 11% of agents were female, that figure has nearly doubled today, a fact that was inspiring to many female students in attendance and to the College President herself, Dr. Amy McCormack.
“I think it’s incredible how she sets up expectations of what it takes. It allows students to have real expectations and know what it takes and her [Osbourne] stress on diversity and the need for women is incredible. We have students in Criminal Justice and Public Safety and it might well be a career path for many of them. I found it very motivating and I hope students do as well,” said McCormack of the presentation.
Dino Ramirez, Career Services Coordinator at CCSJ, is in charge of the department that helps students with job interviews, resume writing and preparing them for the wider world after college so this event was particularly important to him.
“We want to make sure that we give every resource available to the students, it’s good for them to be able to experience and talk to people of this caliber so they can figure out what they want to do. It’s not a realistic question to ask a student at 18 years old what you want to do for the rest of your life, but here she can give some guidance into something that can be done. The experience and knowledge she holds can give insight to the students. I think that experience Is valuable
Students were also treated to a video presentation that showed the physical, mental, and professional training required of agents who enter into the 20 week training academy at Quantico, Virginia. There, recruits can be expected to be put into difficult scenarios like trying to apprehend a suspect after being maced in the eyes, and a series of exercises to prove their physical fitness. There is also a written test, background checks, drug tests and a polygraph test to go through along the way.
Students were then invited to ask questions of Osbourne who went above and beyond to answer any and all queries they might have about the job. Questions ranged from forensic accounting to childcare and where they could potentially work.
“We need every resource we can get and here we can have an idea of what is out there. For a student who is interested in criminal justice, it really does help to be in the mainframe and to get a hands on experience. It’s a huge plus,” said student Carolyn Scott.
Clearly these kinds of presentations have been successful in the past as at least one former CCSJ student is currently in training at Quantico as a result. When it comes to preparing their students for the future, CCSJ has proven that they are looking out for their interests.