Becoming a Fire Investigator – Megan Cox

Thanks to the generosity of the Bergami Family and the UNH Division of Student Affairs, eight UNH undergraduate students received a stipend to cover expenses related to their unpaid internship experience.  The eight recipients will be reflecting on their internship experience over the course of the summer. This entry is from Megan Cox, Forensic Science Major, who is interning with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

My time as an intern at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has brought me everything that I could have ever wanted out of an internship. I was able to connect with so many different people, from a multitude of areas within the Bureau. From this experience, I was able to see first-hand how the ATF operates. I was fortunate enough to work with two groups: The Gun Crime Intelligence Center and the Arson and Explosives group. Each experience taught me new things about the job and also about myself. I learned that I do not see myself working behind a desk all day. It is something that I could do if need be, but I do not think it is something that I would enjoy. I loved working with the Certified Fire Investigators and I think that is still something I would like to do after I graduate. It was useful to see how the things we learn in the classroom are being used in the field.

I definitely see myself working as a fire investigator. When I started this internship, I had my heart set on becoming an agent for the ATF and working with the Arson and Explosives Group. I even thought it was a dream job. As I complete my internship, I have learned more and more about the career choice and also about myself. I realized that I do not really want to move away from Philadelphia. In a career like this, I could have to move across the country and I do not know if that is something I am okay with yet. Also, I have learned that it takes years to become a Certified Fire Investigator within the ATF because you have to become a special agent first and then get experience within the Bureau. In the end, I still want to become a fire investigator, but this internship made me realize other things that I have to consider when choosing a career path. I might have to reevaluate the things that I want in life and see if I can take a different route to reach my goal. I would go back and do my internship over a thousand times if I could. It was one of the most beneficial things in my college career, and I do not think I could have got any more out of it. I will use what I have learned in the classroom and continue to build relationships with the people I have met throughout this journey. I am not sure yet if I will look for another internship. Right now, I am just grateful for the opportunity I was given, and I am looking forward to what the future brings me.


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