Jessica Lynn Luc was the fall 2006 recipient of the Psi/Chi FBI NCAVC Internship Grant. Jessica graduated summa cum laude from Towson University (MD) with a BS in psychology in January 2007. She was granted Psi Chi membership in spring 2005 and served as an officer on her chapter's executive board for a year prior to beginning her internship with NCAVC. Jessica has accepted a position as a background investigator and is planning to begin a graduate program in forensic psychology in fall 2007.
Interning for the FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) has been an opportunity that has significantly impacted my life, changed my view of the world, and helped to cement my desire to work in the field of forensic psychology. My path to becoming an intern began a year prior to the internship during the application, interview, and background investigation process. The process was lengthy; however, it was well worth it in the end and obtaining a security clearance is something I am very proud of.
The FBI, like all other three letter agencies, carries with it a certain reputation that commands respect and can be quite intimidating. The thing I was most excited to learn was that the people at the FBI--agents, support staff, and analysts--wanted nothing more than for me to do my best and to succeed. People went out of their way to help, share stories, and offer advice.
As one of four interns, I was fortunate enough to be assigned as the floater and was given the opportunity to work in all three Behavioral Analysis Units (BAU), although most of my time was spent working in BAU-2 (Crimes Against Adults) and BAU-3 (Crimes Against Children). The first day I was unsure of what to expect and did not know what kind of work I would be doing. I was surprised to find out that everything that I worked on would be an intricate part of the research projects currently ongoing at NCAVC, and my role as an intern would not be to run errands, make coffee, and file papers. In fact, I can say that during this experience I never did any "so-called" intern jobs.
As I stated previously, I was assigned as the floater and was able to work on a vast amount of projects, including Best Homicide Practices, Child Abduction/Homicide, Innocent Images, and False Allegations of Child Abduction. I also worked on other tasks, such as completing databases, compiling offender lists, and building reference guides. But by far the project I worked on the most extensively was the Serial Homicide project. This included reading case materials, answering protocol questions, and writing summaries for all 46 victims that I coded. Coding was my favorite part of this internship; something I was able to do not only for the Serial Homicide project, but also for the Child Abduction/Homicide project. Coding cases gave me the opportunity to read through criminal cases and sort through a vast amount of material searching for an answer.
Interning at NCAVC has several other aspects in addition to working on research projects. I attended several presentations, including "Geographical Profiling," "Criminal Investigative Analysis," "Forensic Psychology," and "Social Network Analysis," as well as several presentations on different cases that the agents at NCAVC had worked. I was also given the opportunity to sit in on case consultations, which I found to be highly fascinating. In addition, I also was able to attend a lecture on Militant Religious Rhetoric at the FBI's Headquarters and was given a tour of the building. And, in addition to everything else, I had access to the FBI Training Academy where I took a defensive tactics class, attended several National Academy lectures, and was given firearms instruction.
Overall my experience interning at NCAVC was like nothing I ever expected, and it was an experience that has challenged me to learn and apply my own knowledge. The people that I have been given the opportunity to meet are individuals who I will never forget, and this experience is something I will always carry with me. For future interns, my advice is to work hard, ask questions, and listen, and your efforts will be greatly rewarded.