Choosing a career path is the most daunting and continuous decision that college students will face. With so many choices, and so much competition in today’s economy, it is key that students think about what career path they are interested in from the first day they step onto campus. Students’ career choices are influenced by a multitude of things, and, for some, family history plays a big role. For Anthony Rossi, public service is the family business. His father’s career spans the U.S. Secret Service, the United States Marshals Service, and the FBI’s National Joint Terrorism Task Force. His mother, too, worked for the FBI, and his sister works with the Fairfax County Police Department. It is no surprise that his interests align with his family’s career choices. However, despite his own interest and family history, Anthony knew that getting to experience his intended career field first-hand would be the only way to know whether it was truly the place for him. So, in the Spring 2014, he enrolled in CRIM 479, the CLS program’s Internship Preparation course.
Most students think the internship preparation course guarantees them an internship placement, but that is not the case. The preparation course is meant to teach students how to conduct a strong internship search, including resume writing, cover letters, interviewing techniques, and more. The course also connects students to potential internship organizations through an Internship Fair put together for the class, and students begin to develop a research topic that will be based on their internship interests. When asked how CRIM 479 helped him to prepare for his internship, Anthony said it taught him how to research various Federal agencies, he also learned about different resources available to him at George Mason, became more efficient with navigating USAjobs.gov, and started networking with potential employers through the internship fair. All of his hard work paid off when he landed a coveted internship placement for Summer 2014 with the United States Marshals Service – the Nation’s oldest and most versatile Federal Law Enforcement Agency.
In the profile below, see what Anthony had to say about his experience and why all students should consider pursuing an internship in their field of interest before graduation.
- Student: Anthony Rossi
- Class Standing: Senior
- Double Major:
- B.S. Criminology, Law and Society, Concentration: Homeland Security and Justice
- B.S. Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Concentration: International Conflict
- Double Minor:
- Intelligence Analysis
- Other: Army ROTC Cadet
- Internship Organization: U.S. Marshals Service
- Semester: Summer 2014
Over the summer Anthony worked Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm, within the Management Support Division’s Office of Policy and Records Management. Within the Division he helped to run the “Employee Improvements and Innovations Program” by communicating employee suggestions and directing the implementation process of those programs, assisted with editing USMS policies, and prepared and presented project briefs to his supervisors. He enjoyed creating project briefs and presenting them within office meetings. This allowed him to grasp inner-agency principles and provided insight to where the Marshals Service is heading.
Anthony enjoyed many parts of his internship experience. First and foremost, he says, one of the best parts was the people. The Marshals Service hires student interns from around the country, many of whom he plans to stay in contact with in the future. The staff and his supervisors also provided a very supportive and team-oriented work environment. His second favorite part was the fieldtrips. He says the Marshals Service takes the time to provide interns with a diverse experience by providing a guest speaker or fieldtrip that involves some aspect of law-enforcement on a weekly basis.
His least favorite part of the internship experience is not surprising: not getting paid, and commuting. The bitterer pill to swallow was the reality of how competitive it is to get a full-time position with the USMS in today’s economy. The Marshals Service itself is a very small agency, and the Deputy positions are limited. Anthony says, “Although this was discouraging, I looked at these unfortunate truths as motivation.”
The Importance of Networking
One of the greatest parts of an internship experience is being able to work alongside professionals in the field. Anthony’s experience allowed him to connect with and learn from his supervisors, and those in other divisions within the USMS. One of his future goals is to become a U.S. Marshal, and he feels that he has received the first-hand knowledge on what he needs to be competitive for those positions. He feels that the internship provided great work experience to build his resume, and the opportunity to network within different law-enforcement agencies.
Future Career Goals
Since completing his summer internship Anthony has continued working with the Marshals Service on a part-time basis as a student volunteer. He hopes to continue working with them as long as possible, depending on the organization’s needs and his academic schedule. However, as an Army ROTC scholarship recipient, Anthony’s first career placement after graduation will be an eight year service obligation as a U.S. Army Officer.
Advice for Other Students
When asked what advice he has for other students looking for internships, he had three tips for internship success:
1. Be Open-Minded
“Internships can be just as competitive as full-time jobs and if you are offered the opportunity to take a position, don’t immediately pass it up because it wasn’t your top choice. You can’t get too caught up on one single goal, and you should apply to everything and anything that involves your field of study. A lot of the time one position can be the gateway to the one you want.”
2. Work Your Network
“If you have a connection or contact, use it! I felt like I needed to make my own way, and did not utilize the connections I had available to me at the time. This made things much more challenging than they had to be.”
3. Manage Your Expectations
“Don’t go into a law enforcement agency thinking you will be kicking down doors and arresting the “bad guys”, you will probably be stuck doing secretarial tasks and running errands that are very tedious. Try your hardest even though you might not be as motivated, I promise the hard work will pay off in the end.”
To learn more about the Criminology, Law and Society Internship Program and read more stories like Anthony’s see the CLS Internship Program website and talk to your academic advisor.
October 22, 2014