Twice-Told Tale

The Student News Site of Lake Highland Preparatory School

Twice-Told Tale

Twice-Told Tale

F.B.I Opens Up

Minaal Arain
Since the introduction of women in the F.B.I. in 1972, the agency has worked hard to ensure equal representation among men and women. As of May 2023, 58.4% of the professional careers in the F.B.I. are occupied by women, and 23.5% of special agents are women according to The increase in diversity is also reflected by the trainees on the Lake Highland track.

If you’ve ever stumbled into Lake Highland at 6:30 A.M. on a random weekday, occurring once per month, you may have seen the local potential F.B.I. recruits pounding the pavement before sunrise, undergoing their fitness assessments. As a cross-country and distance track runner who also has to run circles before the crack of dawn, the F.B.I. training offers some much-needed entertainment and motivation. If special agents who can do more than 10 pushups are watching, I guarantee you that I will run a bit faster.  And so, inspired by genuine curiosity over why I was running the mile alongside potential investigators, Twice-Told Tale decided to conduct our own investigation. From there, I was connected with Special Agent Jason Park (I too didn’t realize that Special Agents existed outside television) who works for the Tampa division of the F.B.I. and, more importantly, agreed to an interview. 

My initial curiosity led me to ask about the goals of the workouts and what the agency is looking for in potential agents. To this, Special Agent Park responded that the F.B.I. trains at Lake Highland because they don’t have their own track in Florida, and our school’s location is conveniently located in a central metropolitan area. Even more so, training at Lake Highland allows the F.B.I. to, “Build relationships in our community,” something that Special Agent Park emphasized throughout our interview as crucial to the agency’s success. He explained that the best way to reach the truth is to speak to everyday people in the community. As for the people actually working out on the LHPS track, they are agent applicants who hope to go to Quantico. 

Quantico is a United States Marine base where potential agents spend five to six months completing law enforcement-based training. Besides physical training, the applicants learn strategies, the fundamentals of law, behavioral science, and more skills needed to be a part of the agency. The applicants undergoing the fitness assessment at Lake Highland are attempting to get to the next stage at Quantico. 

Still, beyond Quantico, joining the F.B.I. is a long application process. Applicants get matched to a field office (there are 56 Field Offices in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with three of them being in Florida) where they connect with the person in charge of recruiting. From there, they need to pass a meet and greet, a fit test, (that’s where Lake Highland comes into play) a polygraph test, and final interview. This process can, “Be as short as a year or as long as three years,” according to Special Agent Park. So, most applicants are looking to move from their current professions.

 As for the professions, careers in the F.B.I.  vary more than one would ever expect. My biggest misconception of the F.B.I. prior to this interview was that to become a part of the agency, one has to be involved in law enforcement, but this could not be further from the truth. The F.B.I.’s job is to, “Investigate federal crimes and threats to national security,” according to, and to perform this crucial job, the F.B.I. needs people who can contribute different perspectives. For example, during Special Agent Park’s time at Quantico he trained with a history teacher who had a military background, was a Navy Seal, and was also a scientist. Park also commented on this surprising diversity when we asked him what was the most unexpected part of being in the F.B.I. Special Agent Park himself was a pilot for the Air Force before joining the F.B.I. The F.B.I. looks for people who excel at their profession, not someone who earned a criminology degree with their heart set on being in the agency. They want accountants, engineers, professors, or anyone who is extremely good at what they do. And if the F.B.I. really takes an interest in an applicant, they may pay for extra education in the future. 

To the average person, including myself, the F.B.I. carries a sort of mystique. They’re the ones pounding on the “bad guy’s” door and solving a cold case. Even while the prospective agents are running the track, literally on our turf, they still contribute towards the mystery that surrounds the F.B.I. Inspired by this, my “billion dollar question” to Special Agent Park was inquiring if this larger-than-life notion was false. After a bit of laughing, he responded that, to no one’s surprise, it is glorified, but it comes with the fact that the F.B.I. is, “The nation’s premier law enforcement agency. We also have a presence worldwide with Special Agents and support professionals in more than 90 overseas offices and sub-offices around the world.”

 Still, Special Agent Park offered The Wire on HBO and Law and Order as few realistic examples of what the F.B.I. does. Apparently, it’s a very common question considering features it in their FAQ section. Another interesting detail that Special Agent Park shared with us is that he watches Dateline occasionally during which he tries to come up with different solutions to the crimes, something both the Special Agent and my mom have in common. 

Seeing Special Agent Park in his business suit coming to LHPS after work seemed far from what I envisioned an F.B.I. Agent doing on his time off. In fact, I didn’t really imagine the agents having time off work which led me to ask,  “Is there such a thing as a typical day? And what does it consist of?” To this, he replied that it depends. Special Agent Park’s first job in the F.B.I. was solving bank robberies and violent crimes during which his days varied extremely. Some days he typed up information. Other days he was at court or out at night dealing with, “Bad guys,” sometimes in planes, sometimes in the aftermath of shootings. He did reason that, however, some agents work more white collar type cases. These agents deal with things such as tax fraud where they typically analyze lots of records while sitting behind a desk. So, if you’re afraid of getting into the grittier parts of being in the F.B.I., the F.B.I. still has a place for you!

One of the first things I noticed about Special Agent Park was that he had a wedding ring, an observation that I would soon learn we both share. The F.B.I., at least in my media impacted view, is inherently a thing only for bachelors and bachelorettes on the road, but for Special Agent Park, this notion is far from true. According to Special Agent Park, potential agents, including himself, have to mentally prepare for the secrecy that comes with the role. Though difficult, it’s just a part of the job.  This is also the part of the interview where I realized that I could never be a part of the F.B.I. considering I share every menial detail of my day with anyone who will listen. Special Agent Park also noted that occasionally he would briefly tell his wife about a case if it’s unclassified and made it into the news. One night they were watching the news, and a robbery was highlighted. He turned to his wife and said, “That’s why I was late the other night.” He also has brought his wife to a case in Federal Court, located here in Downtown Orlando, as court sessions are open to the public.

Another perk of the agency is the ability to transfer to different roles, which is important to keep those they hire interested throughout their 20 year career. A lot of time and money is invested into agents’ training, and therefore it’s important to leadership at the agency that they retain agents for a full career. Agent Park mentioned that when looking into the career himself he would look at the ring fingers of agents he spoke with to see if the job allowed for a married life or not.

Being an F.B.I. agent is more than training on a track, fighting “bad guys,” and solving cold cases. It’s an everchanging and rewarding career. Special Agent Park, “Loves how dynamic it is.” Every day is different, and there isn’t a set routine. He referenced the statistic saying that on average, a person switches their career about five times, but, as mentioned earlier, in the F.B.I. one can do so many things. It’s like changing your career five times but all within a single agency. The, “Job is what you make of it. If you are a mission oriented mindset, you can go places, you work hard, make a good name for yourself, and go get it.”

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About the Contributors
Delaney Bolstein
Delaney Bolstein, Editor-in-Chief
Delaney Bolstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale. She is a Senior at Lake Highland and has been at the school since Pre-K. Delaney has also been a member of the cross-country and track team since Sophomore year. Additionally, Delaney volunteers at the Winter Park Public Library. In her free time, Delaney can be found watching Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous and translating French novels.
Minaal Arain
Minaal Arain, Co-Editor
Minaal Arain started writing for Lake Highland Preparatory School’s newspaper, Twice-Told Tale her Junior year of high school and now is the Co-Editor of the publication, as well as the Director of Photography of the school's literary magazine, By Any Other Name. Aside from writing on various subjects, she enjoys working on her photography, listening to music, reading, and spending time outdoors. Some of her favorite activities include football, swimming, and weight training. Minaal's favorite moments are with her friends and family. In the future, she wants to go into photojournalism and law, continuing to express her passion for photography and revealing the truth.  

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