Exploring the possibilities as an FBI agent
No cameras or cell phones were permitted inside the facility during the Denver FBI Teen Academy, which was attended by RCHS junior (now senior) Dakota Wendell.
By Adriana Hakes; photo courtesy of Barb Wendell
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants to give young minds a chance to experience what working for them might look like. This year Dakota Wendell, a junior at Rock Canyon High School, attended the FBI Teen Academy in Denver; giving her the chance to be an “agent” for a day.
Hold on June 24, this was the first FBI “Teen Academy” hosted at the Denver office. The all-day-event let a select group of 25 junior high and 25 high school students participate in various activities to help them learn about what it takes to have a job with the FBI. Having a supportive mom also helped. Knowing her daughter, Wendell’s mother Barb was intrigued when she came across the class while searching on the Internet.
“I’ve thought about what that type of job might be like for a while,” said Wendell. “Watching all the television shows about the FBI definitely sparked my interest. I was really excited when I got accepted,” recalled Wendell.
From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. students were introduced to various jobs within the FBI. Like the shows she had religiously watched, Wendell’s ears perked up when they presented what undercover positions would entail.
“I thought that was the kind of work I would want to do, but after taking the personality test to see if you are suited for the job, I realized it [being undercover] wouldn’t work for me,” she commented. “I like being able to tell my family what I did that day. With that job, you can’t.”
Attendees also had the chance to act like a real agent and make decisions under pressure during a simulated exercise. “Students got to participate in a scene with a suspected criminal and real agents. They had fake guns that would shoot at a screen and show you where you hit – it was really intense and realistic!” smiled Wendell.
Wendell was likewise surprised and encouraged by the strong presence of women in the FBI. “I thought there would be more males than females, and that wasn’t the case at all. Most of our instructors were women who were also real agents,” she noted.
But it was the confidence Wendell left with regarding her future with the FBI that left the biggest impression. “It made me see more what the job would really be like and it gave me the confidence that I could actually do it,” she said proudly.
After taking the class, Wendell knows she has the tools, knowledge and qualifications needed to help her pursue working for the FBI.
In the meantime, Wendell will be focusing her energy on completing her senior year and then going off to college. She has been awarded a full ride soccer scholarship to Minnesota State, where she is already planning to set the gears in motion. “I’m planning to study sociology, criminology and psychology, to learn more about profiling, and then I’ll look into working at the Bureau here in Colorado.”