Senior Omar Smith has been serving as an intern this past spring with the Normal Police Department. He shares how participating in an internship has helped identify his strengths, solidify his career choice, and build a vision for his future.

What do you want to do as a career when you graduate?

“I am studying criminal justice. I plan to use my internship to help guide me into a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”

How did you find this internship?

“I found this internship through Assistant Professor Roxanne Castleman in the College of Applied Science and Technology.”

What responsibilities did you have during your internship?

Omar Smith participating in community outreach during his internship with the Normal Police Department

“I accompanied officers as they went about their job duties to help protect the community from danger. I was also in the field working with different organizations such as the fire department and hospitals dealing with people from all different types of backgrounds. These responsibilities have taught me punctuality along with really paying attention to the small details.”

What did you learn most form your participation in this internship?

“What I learned the most from this internship is that policing is not for everyone. But the people who do take the job, love what they do and truly try their best every day on the job. It takes lots of maturity, emotion regulation, discipline, and mental strength to be a member of a police department.”

Why do you think internships are important?

“I think internships are important because they allow you to see the aspects of a job before you fully get into it. It allows people to show you how you’d do the job before you get to it. I plan to carry the skills I utilized with me into my FBI profession.”

As Omar discovered, internships provide many opportunities for students to develop their skills. “They can make a big difference to an employer when choosing between equally qualified candidates,” states Career Services Internship Connections Coordinator Megan Patterson. “All students participate in academics. But it is those who have actually gained experience, explored their career, and developed their skill sets that will be set them apart to employers when applying to positions.”

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If you’ve been hired for a full-time position or internship, or been accepted to graduate school, we want to hear about it. Inspire other Redbirds with your career success and tell us your story. We just might feature you in our next student spotlight!