Internship- Naval Criminal Investigative Services
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Melissa Gettle

Majors: Crime, Law, and Justice; Forensic Science
Minor: Chemistry, Women's Studies
Hometown: Myerstown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through online research into agencies allowing student internships.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

For the first month of my internship, I was with the special operations unit, which does undercover work.  Their primary interests are drugs, stolen property, and sexual predators.  While I was with this unit, I was able to go out with them when they carried out controlled purchases of drugs.  One of the highlights of my time with the special operations unit was when a drug buy turned into a bust and a suspect was taken into custody.

During the remainder of my internship, I assisted agents working in different crime units.  I was able to view several interrogations, an experience I really enjoyed.  One of the main things I learned is the importance of exceptional verbal communication.  Individuals of all ages and backgrounds have been interrogated and being able to communicate with them is imperative.  My duties included going to crime scenes, making photocopies, preparing templates with crime scene photos, and any other tasks assigned by the agents.  The highlight of working with these units was being able to attend an autopsy.  I never went to one before and it is definitely an experience I will not soon forget.

Overall, one of the best things about my internship experience was the opportunity to interact with and learn from the agents.  They really included me in what they were doing whenever they could.  They were also very open to questions and always tried to explain what they were doing and why.

"I learned a lot and I was able to relate what I learned at Penn State to a ‘real world’ experience.”

How did this experience impact you academically?

Being able to experience many aspects of federal law enforcement related to my coursework at Penn State. I found that each of these aspects, in some way, related to my coursework at Penn State whether it was crime scene processing practices, laws, or general practices and procedures for working a case from beginning to end.

What are your career goals and plans? How did this experience impact them?

Prior to this experience, I was unsure which path I wanted to take for my career. Due my experience with NCIS, I now know that I would prefer to work in law enforcement at federal agency.  I was able to see that law enforcement can incorporate many of the forensic science concepts I have been taught.

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