Becoming an FBI Agent on Valedictorian's Wish List

New Rochelle High School graduate Addy Velez admits she didn’t always know what she wanted to do with her life. At least not until she enrolled in the Security, Law & Policing Program at the SWBOCES Center for Career Services.

The Center’s 2017 valedictorian said the knowledge she acquired in the two-year program was invaluable and that instructor Ray Sulla’s background as a former New York City police officer provided insight into the inner workings of law enforcement.

“Mr. Sulla told us how it is,” she said, referring to his experiences as an officer.

Students in the program discover the many aspects of a crime scene investigation, including fingerprinting and fingerprint identification. They also become certified in a range of counter terrorism programs, including Homeland Security in Weapons of Mass Destruction Awareness, Terrorist/Suicide Bombing and Domestic Anti-Terrorism, in addition to being CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator) certified.

Addy is also a qualified security guard, having successfully taken two industry courses and passing with flying colors.

Preparation for both exams is part of the course curriculum.

It is her involvement in the FBI Explorers Program that gave her additional clarity on pursuing a career in law enforcement and the possibility of becoming an FBI agent.

Addy, who will attend the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the fall, joined the FBI program last November, and it has given her a unique insight into the workings of the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

“It’s all been very interesting,” said Addy, referring to the various activities and courses she’s taken on search techniques and active shooter drills, as well as learning about the tactics used to prevent suicide bombings and other potential disasters.

She intends to continue being active in the program until she turns 21, and then hopes to apply for an internship in a local FBI office and eventually apply for a full-time position.

Admission is based on successfully passing the FBI’s entrance exam as well as its physical and mental evaluations, in addition to a background check.

She believes her exposure to the FBI Explorers Program will help in the application process.

As the child of Mexican immigrants, Addy is proud of what she has already accomplished.

“They one hundred percent have my back,” she said, referring to her parents’ unwavering support.

Addy and her brother, Aldo, 19, are the first in their family to pursue college degrees. He is currently studying engineering and architecture at Westchester Community College.

This former president of the National Technical Honor Society and SkillsUSA winner is happy to include a BOCES education on her resume.

“Most people don’t realize how much training and learning you can actually get at BOCES,” she said. “For me, it was a very valuable and memorable experience that I will never forget. I cannot express my gratitude to all the faculty and staff at SWBOCES."