Danielle Emery loves a challenge.
It’s what motivates her in her studies at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, but it’s also what motivated her to apply for and gain acceptance to a competitive summer internship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Emery, an accounting major from Hackett, spent 10 weeks working for the FBI office in Fort Smith this summer, where she assisted bureau agents with serving subpoenas and search warrants, sat in on lawyers and agents strategizing on case work, and helped with cases pertaining to white collar crime.
“I loved that it wasn’t a desk job. While the work itself was enjoyable because it was fresh and new, I was also able to learn about myself through this experience,” she said. “There were no ‘typical’ days. Every day, I was placed in front of a complex investigative challenge, and most days, I had no idea what I would encounter. These unique challenges were the fun part, because there really wasn’t a right or wrong way to do it, you just relied on your own creativity.”
Working for the FBI had always been a dream of Emery’s that spawned from a passion for helping people.
“Helping others is really what I love doing. It’s so rewarding,” Emery said. “The FBI does it on a different level, and that was something that intrigued me. You leave at the end of the day knowing that you have contributed to something that has protected the United States. That’s not something you get on every corner.”
But when she applied for the internship, she did not expect to get it. The odds weren’t in her favor – more than 15,000 people applied for the internships nationwide, and only 900 would be selected.
Even when she got the call for the first interview, she didn’t have high hopes.
“I thought I blew it,” she said. “Then, when they called me a few months later and told me I had been selected, I couldn’t believe it. You shoot for your dreams thinking that you can’t reach them, then you actually do. It’s very motivating.”
Even though the internship has ended, Emery is continuing to work there on a part-time basis and hopes to earn full-time employment after graduation.
But even if she doesn’t end up at the FBI, the unique and challenging experience helped advance her career.
“At the FBI, you’re held to a higher standard. Future employers will know I’m a professional, and that’s definitely needed in the accounting world,” Emery said. “With everything I was able to experience, I discovered that I am capable of so much more than I gave myself credit for. And because of that, it has set me up for future success.”
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
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