For three days, three other Gettysburg students and I were given the opportunity to participate in an externship with Homeland Security’s ICE HSI unit. Our host and Gettysburg alum gave us a behind the scenes look at the second largest investigative law enforcement agency in the United States. After having completed the externship, I found that my knowledge of ICE HSI had expanded beyond expectation. Contrary to the common belief that ICE is a government agency that deals solely with immigration and customs, we learned that there are many different divisions that exhibited the broad scope of cases that the agency deals with. These divisions included agents who investigate human trafficking, child pornography, gang activity, forensics, cyber security, money laundering, airport operations, and more. The special agents at ICE HSI are not only capable of investigating and building legal cases, but are trained as field operatives that conduct raids, arrests, and other action intensive procedures. Overall, the three-day externship experience allowed me to gain invaluable information and experience about my desired career field.
During the externship, we were constantly on the move, going from site to site in the metro D.C. area. As mentioned before, ICE HSI has many different functions, which the amount of buildings and locations did a fine job of proving. By visiting these sites, we were exposed to a plethora of special agents that offered detailed insight of their job and daily duties. After visiting a multitude of locations, I was surprised at how many sites and units are working daily to ensure homeland security. One site that I found particularly interesting was our trip to Dulles International Airport, where we met with an agent who gave us a behind the scenes look at DHS airport operations. In a once in a lifetime opportunity, we were able to see the ground level baggage loading area and we even got to go inside an air traffic control tower. I found this to be particularly interesting because I frequently travel at airports and the exposure to the security functions there was a unique experience. Looking back, I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with ICE HSI for three days and gain experience that I could not have gotten from anywhere else. This externship has provided me with career knowledge, tips, and skills that will be of great importance to me during my job seeking process. As a whole, the special agents of ICE HSI that I got to meet have helped me learn about an agency I knew little to nothing about before this experience. Now, I can honestly say that the externship experience with ICE HSI has grabbed my attention and is now on my radar as a potential landing spot for my future career.