Sophomore awarded second national scholarship: Looks toward career in the FBI

The long running CBS hit “Criminal Minds” premiered season 14 last Wednesday, following the fictional adventures of FBI profilers. Oakland University sophomore and criminal justice major Marybeth Gormley can attest that the real career isn’t quite the same.

Gormley, who aspires to one day join the FBI as a special agent, was recently awarded the $2,000 Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Dream Scholarship for the second year in a row.

“I think she’s an excellent candidate for a career in the FBI,” said Matthew May, assistant professor of sociology. “I think her determination and work ethic show that she’s well on her way to achieving that, and I’m not surprised that she was awarded the LEEP scholarship for the second time.”

The national scholarship was awarded to eight students across the country based on grades, a well-rounded education, future goals and more.

Lori Burrington, associate professor of criminal justice, considers Gormley an example of the ideal OU criminal justice student.

“Even though she’s very mature, very sharp and intelligent, she’s also very gracious as a student and very kind to other students,” Burrington said.

While Gormley once wanted to go into exercise science/nutrition, she grew interested in criminal justice her junior year of high school through observing her father who is a detective for Lapeer, Mich.

“I really like investigating and figuring out what happened and the puzzle part of it, I like being able to catch the bad guys,” she joked. “That’s always a motive there.”

According to Gormley, many aspects draw her to the FBI but she likes the idea of using critical thinking skills on the job and making the world a better place.

“I feel that everything that they do is really important, and I really want to do something important like that,” she said.

Planning ahead, the sophomore’s course load is framed to aid in getting her ready for the FBI, such as Spanish classes. She also intends to apply for the FBI Honors Internship.

“She is just a very well-rounded student who seeks to kind of build up her understanding of criminal justice in a broader sense, not just in this kind of nuts and bolts vocation alone type approach but one that is exactly what they’re going to be needing at the FBI,” Burrington said.

Gormley has also been in touch with FBI agents through her father in order to learn more about what the real training is like.

“Everybody watches TV shows and things like that, and I guess it gave me a more real-life perspective on the job itself, and it made me really want to do it,” Gormley said. “The training part will be difficult and there’s always going to be physical tests and gun tests, but I definitely think I’d be up for the challenge.”

According to Gormley, one of the biggest differences between TV adaptations and the real job is that things don’t happen as quickly. However, there is typically something new and different to do each day.

Since there is an age requirement of 23 as well as a work experience requirement of three years before she can apply, Gormley plans to first go into the Michigan State Police. She would then like to one day work in homicide.

“She’s really embraced the idea that a liberal arts education is what makes the most well-rounded people for any career, law enforcement included,” May said.