Donna High School student Domingo Hernandez had always found law enforcement interesting but wasn’t convinced that was the path he wanted to take. That changed when the 9th grader sat in on a presentation by two local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents.
Special Agents Lora Gioeni and A.B. Baesa visited DHS recently to give Hernandez and other students an overview of the FBI, the positions it has available and the benefits of working for the federal agency.
Hernandez said he was so intrigued over the information he learned that he is now considering a career with the federal agency. “I thought the presentation was very helpful,” he said. “It gave me an insight on what it takes to be in the FBI. The agents talked about forensic work which I think is very interesting. I thought it would be like what I see on TV but it’s nothing compared to what the agents do in real life.”
The DHS visit is part of the FBI’s recruitment efforts to encourage students to consider a career with the agency. Most attending represented Law Enforcement, Forensic and Chemistry classes.
“We’re here to educate the students about a career in the FBI or any federal agency,” Baesa said. “We’re recruiting federally because there are a lot of students who don’t know the opportunities that are available in the federal government. So we’re out here letting them know that the careers are available and the possibilities are there if they just apply themselves.”
The students were also impressed when they heard about the benefits the agency offered. “Starting pay for an agent is $75,000,” Baesa said. “The 401 (k) retirement plan is also really good. The agency also offers opportunities for travel and promotions. So there are a lot of opportunities in the FBI, not just as agents but as professional staff.”
The students were also fascinated over Gioeni’s experience as an agent. Her expertise has required her testimony in a number of important federal, tribal, state and local cases including the infamous DC sniper case.
“We want students to know that the greatest thing we do in the FBI in our positions is giving something back to our community and protecting our community,” Gioeni said. “It’s very satisfying when we catch the bad guy. We’re helping give a voice to the victim who doesn’t have a voice any longer.”
The agents said while there may be a lot of interest at recruiting sessions like this one, the students are disappointed when they find out the educational level needed to join the FBI. “The most difficult thing that we’ve seen thus far is that the students don’t want to apply themselves to go to college,” Baesa said. “They come up to us and ask us how much college is needed. We tell them they need a four-year degree. Their response is that it’s too much and they walk away. That’s disheartening. We hear that a lot at Career Day events across the Valley.’
But some DISD students like Hernandez are willing to put in the effort. He is grateful he had the opportunity to learn about the FBI and law enforcement in general. “I really appreciate that our school made this recruitment session available to us,” Hernandez said. “It’s got me thinking about this field more. I found it very helpful. I encourage other students to take advantage if this opportunity is made available to them.”