Troy Chadwick, Senior (May 2012)
Major: Integrated Science & Business
Minor: Forensic Science
Internship: Special Agent Intern with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations
How did you find out about the internship? What interested you in the internship?
I started my search for an internship in the fall of 2010. The entire time I have been at Whitewater, I knew that I wanted to work in the field of criminal justice or forensic science. Much of my elective coursework is in those two areas.
I started my search on the UW-Whitewater Hawk Jobs website. Much of what I found was business related, therefore not what I was looking for. I took it upon myself to find an internship that fit the criteria I had. During a class with Dr. Pete Killoran, I was referred to a website for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences which had links to jobs. While searching through the jobs, I came across a posting from the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ). The Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has an established internship program run by Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Joell Schigur. All the directions on how to apply were listed, and applications were due in January. The first week of March, I received an email stating I had a time to interview. I interviewed for the position and received a call the next day stating that I had been offered an internship in the Milwaukee Field Office, pending a comprehensive background check. I passed the background check and orientation started on June 6, 2011.
Describe your internship experience.
While in the office, I was responsible for assisting a Special Agent with case-related duties. These duties included authoring reports using a case management system, compiling reports to be used for discovery at trial, statistical analysis of drug overdose deaths, and intelligence analysis.
Although we were in the office a lot, we were in the field about two days a week. In the field, we assisted Special Agents with surveillance, intelligence gathering, serving search warrants, and other case-related duties. Some things that I participated in were search warrants of subjects arrested for drug and/or child pornography. I also assisted an agent with a controlled drug buy. Lastly, all nine DCI interns were in Hayward, WI the second week of August to assist multiple agencies with the eradication of a large scale marijuana grow and conspiracy.
What did you learn during your internship experience? How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?
The most valuable experience I gained this summer was learning how to build a case from start to finish. I did a lot of work this summer with a narcotics agent, and he showed me a lot about how cases start and what you have to do to build a case strong enough to give to the prosecution and get a conviction.
Building a case is the one thing I learned that I will never forget. There are certain techniques very similar to steps of the scientific method that lend themselves to performing investigations. There are also special legal pathways an agent must follow in order to ensure the work (s)he has done will stand up in a court of law.
A very high majority of the agents that work at DCI started off as police officers; even the administrative positions are filled by people who were once officers. The experience I had at DCI has influenced me towards going to the police academy after graduation (but I am not 100 percent sure yet).
What advice would you give other students about internships?
My advice to future students is simple: You need to have a clear choice on what you want to do. You cannot start searching for an internship, or a job for that matter, if you have no idea what you want to do. For me, it was forensic science. Once you have chosen a clear path, you can more effectively search for a company that will be the best fit.
Laura Jacobs in Career & Leadership Development is an invaluable asset to any student trying to find an internship. I had meetings with Laura on more than one occasion where she helped me search through Hawk Jobs and find many other internships and companies I otherwise would not have found alone.
The final piece of advice I would give to perspective interns is to apply to as many internships as possible. I was lucky enough to get the one internship I really wanted, but there were others I applied for that I did not even get a chance to interview for.
Congratulations Troy on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for November 2011!
Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Troy? Tell employers, faculty, and, of course, fellow UW-W students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, visit the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.
Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!