Internship is a Dream Job for Criminology Student
Sep. 16, 2010
For Carmen Saucedo, TV cop shows weren’t just entertainment when she was growing up, they were inspiration.
“I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement ever since I was 12,” she said. “I loved watching the ‘X Files’ and I wanted to be just like FBI Agent Scully.”
While Saucedo is not likely to be tracking down the “smoking man” in her new assignment, the criminology senior at UT Dallas has landed a dream assignment, working as an intern for the Dallas office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She started the job over the summer and will continue through her senior year and into graduate school, while also taking classes in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
Homeland Security includes the Secret Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Transportation Security Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Saucedo is working in the Office of the Inspector General- Office of Investigations.
Although she eventually would like to focus on crime scene investigations, she’s now learning how to examine from a distance. Saucedo is looking through databases and delving into any suspicious activities by individuals connected to FEMA’s distribution of financial aid following Hurricane Katrina.
She said she’s looking for cases of fraud within the department – “employees doing what they shouldn’t be doing” – and on the outside, civilians who were trying to take illegal advantage of government-assistance programs by claiming aid they didn’t qualify for.
Saucedo also is involved in probes related to drug trafficking near the border with Mexico.
“I’m learning a lot about how to break apart a case and investigate suspects,” she said.
Saucedo plans to begin graduate studies in criminology at UT Dallas after earning her bachelor’s degree next year. She transferred to UT Dallas from UT El Paso after hearing about the University’s highly regarded criminology program.
“The criminology program here is excellent,” she said. “The professors have been so helpful and encouraged me to apply for this internship and gain this real-life experience.”
Saucedo has sought out law-enforcement experiences since she was 14 and joined the Police Explorer program in El Paso. At 15, she enrolled in the Border Patrol Explorers. She is due to continue her internship with DHS until she finishes graduate school. She then wants to work for a federal agency, possibly the FBI or DHS.
Dr. James Marquart, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the former program head for criminology, said Saucedo’s selection for the high-profile internship shows the quality of UT Dallas’ students.
“We applaud Carmen’s interest in this prestigious internship, and it demonstrates our school’s mission in combining excellence in the classroom and real-world experience with the potential for employment,” he said.
Saucedo said she’s pleased to have the chance to work side by side with professionals and is planning to make the most of this opportunity.
“I’m drawn to law enforcement,” she said. “I like the fact that I can do something to stop misconduct and keep my community safe.”