Behind the Scenes with Our Summer Interns
Hands-on forensic science projects, programming, legal analysis, and speech writing are just some of the things that FBI honors interns accomplished this summer.
The FBI Honors Internship Program is a paid, 10-week summer experience that begins in mid-June and ends in mid-August each year. Undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students with at least a 3.0 GPA are placed in FBI divisions based on their skills. Once there, honors interns use their strengths to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.
The FBI hires interns with backgrounds in computer science, law, forensic science, and other disciplines. Regardless of your college major, you can be considered for a spot in the internship. The internships are competitive—on average, 12,000 students apply each year for just a few hundred slots. Some interns work out of FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and others are placed in offices around the country.
In addition to completing the initial application, interested students must also pass a full background investigation, which includes a drug test and polygraph examination, to get a Top Secret security clearance.
The 2021 Honors Internship Program ended today. Students interested in the FBI’s 2022 summer internship program can learn more and apply at fbijobs.gov. The application period is open from September 13 to October 17, 2021.
Before returning to school, some of our 2021 honors interns shared more about their experiences inside the Bureau:
Education: Undergraduate student, communication and media studies major at Georgia Tech
Assignment: Office of Public Affairs
Typical Day at Work: My typical day can range from interviewing agents to sitting in on events, writing articles, and so much more. Every day is different.
Best Experience: Watching executives read words that I helped craft and seeing my work come full circle. I also have many people here guiding me along the way to make sure the work I put out is the best that it can be.
I Applied Because: I really resonated with the FBI’s mission. I loved seeing that I could use my communication skills to make an impact. And of course, getting to work for the FBI is an opportunity I could never pass up.
Best Advice: Say yes to as many opportunities as possible. The FBI does such incredible work in so many different areas that are all worth exploring.
Education: Undergraduate student, computer engineering and electrical engineering at NC State
Assignment: Inspection Division
Typical Day at Work: I create programs in Python and Visual Basic for Applications to make processes more efficient for my team. I also work a lot in SharePoint to build sites for my unit. I have had many different projects that were all meaningful. I know my work will have a lasting effect on the Bureau.
Best Experience: Touring the Operational Technology Division at Quantico. It was amazing to see the different forms of technology being developed and the capabilities we have at the Bureau. It piqued my interest, and I hope to help contribute to the development of new technologies in OTD someday.
I Applied Because: I knew I wanted to work for a government agency. I wasn’t sure which one, but I loved the Bureau’s mission and wanted to carry it out. I am very passionate about protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. Being here has furthered my belief that this is something I want to do with my life.
Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to ask about things you are interested in.
Education: Law student, Duke University Law School
Assignment: Office of General Counsel
Typical Day at Work: As an honors intern, I have had the opportunity to work alongside such genuine and brilliant attorneys. There truly is no “typical day” at OGC—there is something new every single day. My responsibilities have included drafting legal research memos, strategizing legal analysis alongside other agencies, and assisting attorneys in legal advising for FBI operations.
Best Experience: Learning from and about each attorney I get to work with. It has been so interesting to learn about their career paths and extensive experience throughout the FBI. Each attorney has provided me with genuine mentoring, guidance, and encouragement for my future.
I Applied Because: I chose the FBI because of the opportunities to grow as an individual and a professional while pursuing a rewarding career path.
Best Advice: I remember being in absolute awe on my first day as an honors intern—I was so amazed by each employee’s drive and passion to be at the FBI. As I shared my thoughts with an attorney, he responded, “Choose a career that you genuinely enjoy, and the passion will come naturally.”
Education: Incoming graduate student, Arizona State University studying emergency management and homeland security
Assignment: Criminal Investigative Division
Typical Day: I help with numerous projects, attend meetings and briefings, and network with agents and professional staff. I also get to meet up with other interns for lunch and breaks.
Best Experience: Visiting the FBI Academy with fellow interns has been my favorite experience. I have also had the opportunity to network with everyone I have crossed paths with, while learning about all the different opportunities the Bureau has to offer.
I Applied Because: I never thought I would be the small percentage of fortunate individuals to be chosen as an honors intern. I have always wanted to work in law enforcement or the federal government, so without hesitation, I applied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Best Advice: Become sponge-like and absorb every piece of information and experience given to you.
Education: Undergraduate student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Assignment: Laboratory Division
Typical Day: After doing administrative tasks, I head to the lab side of the building where I work with some interesting technology. Bullets used in firearms contain metal cartridge cases. I load the cartridge cases into a system and scan them using high-tech sensors. Then, they are transformed into detailed 3D images. The unique, microscopic ‘toolmarks’ on the rear of the cartridge case help examiners identify them as having or having not been fired from the same firearm. I also conduct surveys, write literature reviews for research, and observe the examiners as they work on casework.
Best Experience: Assisting with a career fair for soldiers. It was my first time “representing” the FBI, and I felt honored to tell transitioning soldiers about potential career paths for them in the Bureau. Aside from that, my favorite aspects of the internship are easily those involving observing and occasionally assisting with casework in whatever way I can.
I Applied Because: Unlike many other interns, it was never my dream to work for the FBI before I became intern. Rather, I applied purely out of an interest in forensic science when I learned of the opportunity to intern at the prestigious FBI Laboratory.
Best Advice: I would have to say two things: First, “Ask, ask, ask!” You’ll never know what you can do or watch unless you ask about it. Be honest about your interests and be open with your questions. The second thing is to always remember the importance of whatever you're doing, no matter how small. Whether your task seems boring or not, it is helping assist the FBI’s mission and is helping people, and that is a privilege.
Apply for the Summer 2022 Honors Internship Program
The application period will be open from September 13 through October 17, 2021. Learn more and apply at fbijobs.gov.
An applicant must be:
- A U.S. citizen
- Enrolled full time in an undergraduate, graduate, or post-doctoral program at an accredited U.S. college or university with a GPA of at least 3.0
- Able to obtain a Top Secret security clearance
The following will disqualify any applicant:
- A felony conviction
- Drug use (See FBI Employment Drug Policy)
- Default on a student loan insured by the U.S. government
Cassie is a recent graduate of Hampton University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and was recognized as the class of 2021 salutatorian. As an honors intern in the Office of Public Affairs, Cassie contributed to the FBI’s upcoming 9/11 20th anniversary coverage, created a podcast episode, and supported the FBI’s community outreach efforts. The highlight of her internship was traveling to Huntsville, Alabama, to speak at a conference. Her advice to future interns is, “Be fully present for every moment of your internship.”
Isabella is a senior at Syracuse University, where she is studying communication and rhetorical studies and political science. She was assigned to the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs, where she implemented her communication skills. Isabella traveled to Houston, Texas, in support of an operation where she interviewed local police and FBI agents. She also contributed to the FBI’s upcoming 9/11 20th anniversary coverage and produced a podcast where she spoke to numerous FBI employees. Her advice to future interns is, “Exercise a hard work ethic and always be willing to learn from those around you."