EDINBURG – Seven forensic science students from Edinburg CISD’s Career and Technical Education program were among 60 students from across the region, who were recently selected to participate in the inaugural Rio Grande Valley FBI Teen Academy in McAllen.

“It’s fun and I’m learning a lot. I will recommend it to a lot of people,” Edinburg North High School Senior Jenessa Alanis said. “You get a little bit of a background of what the instructors and the agents do. It will help you with the decisions you want to make.”

Jenessa said that she was already deciding on a job in law enforcement and will now seriously consider working for the FBI.

The FBI Teen Academy was held at the McAllen Resident Agency Office (a satellite office of the San Antonio Division). The event included high school students, ages 14 to 18, from public, private, and parochial high schools from Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties.

Some of the activities for the students, included lessons on fingerprinting, online predators, firearms and working with the FBI Evidence Response Team.

“It’s the Evidence Response Team’s job to essentially collect evidence at a crime scene and to preserve that evidence,” FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee said. “So, the agents have showed the students the steps and protocol that they use in doing so. And one of the things that the students enjoy the most –  is dusting for finger prints.”

Lee said that the Teen Academy strives to inform and educate students, so that they have a greater understanding of the FBI’s mission and goals.

“We are excited to have them. It’s just been a joy to be able to interact with these young students,” Lee said. “They’re extremely enthusiastic and what we’ve done essentially is kind of pull back the curtain a little bit to let them see what really happens at the FBI.”

The curriculum was comprised of presentations on a variety of topics, including:

• The FBI hiring process;

• Evidence Response Team;

• Cyber Crimes: Protecting Yourselves from Predators;

• Human Trafficking;

• Terrorism: ISIS Recruitment Tactics; and

• Building Trust Between Law Enforcement and the Community.

Lee said that they hope to have the FBI Teen Academy in the Valley again next summer, because of the great feedback from the students.