WSU Vancouver students learn about internships with the FBI

Room 6 in the Multimedia Classroom building was packed with over 80 students on Oct. 3 for an event sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants Beta Alpha Psi. They came to listen to a presentation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation — and to enjoy free pizza and drinks.

The FBI was invited to WSU Vancouver to speak about employment and student internship opportunities in their Portland office.

Special Agent Matt Swansinger and Forensic Accountant Deborah Martin talked about the requirements for the summer internship program. Applicants must be juniors or seniors and be scheduled to graduate after June 3. Students must apply in the fall because of the long wait required for the approval and background check process. Summer internships are full-time and can be adjusted to part-time work in the fall. Martin said it is usually up to the student if they wish to continue when school starts.

When the question and answer session began, WSU Vancouver students wanted to know about past FBI cases and how to become an FBI agent. According to Martin and Swansinger, the best route to becoming an agent is through an internship. Interns go through the same background and security clearance protocols as all employees, and it is a good way to get a foot in the door. Candidates for employment must be American citizens, hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and be more than 23 years of age with at least three years of work experience. Swansinger said the specific type of work experience is not important.

Martin and Swansinger encouraged students to learn a second language.

“[The ability to speak another language] will give you an advantage above other applicants in the hiring process,” Martin said.
Martin said there are other benefits to working as a student intern.

“A lot of government facilities require some form of clearance to work for them. As an intern you will receive ‘Top Secret’ security clearance — provided you pass the background check,” Martin said. “Some government jobs give a pay increase if you have a higher security clearance.”
Martin and Swansinger did not disclose much information about the background check, except to say it included a polygraph test. Applicants were advised to tell the truth on their applications, to abstain from illegal drugs and to avoid felony convictions if they want to be considered for a job with the FBI.

Martin and Swansinger said there are hundreds of jobs available with the FBI, though some may require relocation. Available positions are posted at fbi.gov and usajobs.gov.

IMA BAP, the event’s sponsoring organization, is an honor society for students majoring in accounting, finance or management information systems. IMA BAP provides students with unique opportunities to learn valuable skills from professionals in the business community.

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