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Learning to protect and serve

Carlos Hobbs (’24 criminal justice) has been focused on a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for years. At only 14 years old, he enrolled in a student FBI Academy in his home state of Texas, an experience that solidified his decision.

“The academy really opened up my eyes and I decided that I want to do this for a living at some point in my life,” Hobbs said.

The key to a successful career with the FBI depends on education and job experience. As a criminal justice major and sociology minor at Iowa State, Hobbs has the academics covered. But when it comes to job experience, he’s unsure whether a career in law enforcement or the military is the best option. This summer, he’s interning with the Ames, Iowa, Police Department to help guide his decision.

Eye-opening work

Carlos Hobbs working in a forensics lab
Carlos Hobbs (’24 criminal justice) analyzes forensics evidence in the Ames Police Department’s lab. (Hannah Wright/Iowa State University)

As a police intern, Hobbs spends much of his time shadowing officers and detectives, learning how they handle numerous situations. So far, his favorite duties include ride-alongs with the officers as they answer calls in the community. But, he notes, the officers’ daily encounters are nothing like what is portrayed on television.

Hobbs also works with the department’s detectives as they investigate cases, an aspect of law enforcement that has piqued his interest in solving complex crimes.

“I think the detectives surprise me the most with what they do on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s a lot of eye-opening stuff they deal with, and when I’ve been with them, I’ve seen things that can be hard to process. But that’s the type of work I think I could really excel at.”

Major love

Hobbs believes a degree in criminal justice from Iowa State will prepare him for a future career with the FBI or any law enforcement agency. After three years of study, he is certain he made the right choice.

“I really enjoy learning about criminal justice. It doesn’t even feel like school because it’s not core classes anymore. It’s more major specific,” Hobbs said. “I just love it.”

Hobbs said the engaging class discussions with his peers and faculty members are truly inspiring.

“I really find that in my criminal justice classes, the discussions are my favorite part, to see other people’s points of view,” he said.

Firm foundation

While Hobbs isn’t exactly sure where his career will lead after he graduates from Iowa State next spring, he feels like the Iowa State, the criminal justice major, and his summer police internship have provided a solid foundation for what’s to come. He highly recommends an internship experience for all criminal justice students.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re going into law enforcement or going to be a lawyer. It’s great to see how law works,” Hobbs said. “Anybody that’s coming into the criminal justice system should be exposed to that, and especially try to get an internship that is directed toward where you want to be in the criminal justice field.”