Senior management major helps DEA fight war on drugs
On the third day of Brooke Bowman’s summer internship, she helped purchase heroin.
Granted, as part of her internship with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Miami field division, it was all completely legal, and from her vantage point in a DEA surveillance helicopter, she was safe if the operation soured. But as far as your typical first Wednesday on the job goes, it was outside of her expectations.
“For three hours, I was just watching and flying above this apartment complex,” Bowman said. “We were tracking the guy talking to the dealer who is giving the informant heroin, so it’s kind of cool. We followed him around, followed his car to make sure that the agents were safe.”
From office to evidence warehouse
It’s not all aerial drug busts and “Miami Vice” moments at Bowman’s internship, though. As an intern placed with the DEA’s diversion unit, she puts the bulk of her efforts into helping investigators keep opioids and other pharmaceuticals from entering the black market. Those efforts take many forms. Some days, she interviews doctors and pharmacies. Others, she scans pharmaceutical labels, searching for activities to flag as suspicious.
Chasing bad guys is only part of her summertime experience. Bowman also aided outreach efforts that educate high school students about the risks that come with recreational use of prescription medication. She worked alongside an outreach agent, helping create a presentation, eventually supporting agents as they spoke with students about the health, legal, and social consequences of opioid use.
Although Bowman is primarily focused on administrative investigations and outreach, her internship has already been colorful. She hopes to add experience on a surveillance boat to complement her afternoon in a chopper and recently spent a memorable day helping train special agents. She played a drug dealer and supporting DEA agents in live training activities. While the guns and situations were make-believe, the training took place in a location chock full of eye-opening elements from the drug war.
“They hold these trainings at the DEA warehouse where they have seized drugs. They have a place for all their undercover vehicles and cars and stuff like that,” Bowman said. “To see all that is super cool.”
A future fighting crime
Hands-on experience in the DEA gives Bowman more than great stories about her summer. It provides the experience and personal connections she hopes to leverage to find a career in federal law enforcement. Many of her peers have plans that align with more traditional business career plans, but Bowman chose to study management with her sights set on joining the DEA, FBI or similar agency. Her decision to study business was a deliberate strategy to gain a foundational skill set that would be appropriate in federal service.
“I wanted to focus on the government, really from the minute I declared my degree or started attending the Business college,” she said. “With my business degree, I have a more broad perspective, and I feel like I have more skills I can bring to the table.”
“With my business degree, I have a more broad perspective, and I feel like I have more skills I can bring to the table.”
Bowman’s career plans are unconventional in the College of Business, but they resonate with its mission of using business for good. While her classmates’ plans may include steering industry toward sustainable practices, Bowman wants her impact to be felt in the fight to end the opioid epidemic.
“That’s why I want to do this as a career – it’s something that is a really big problem and it’s something I want to try and help make a difference for. That’s my goal,” she said.
About Summertime Standouts
Summertime Standouts is an annual feature on SOURCE that highlights students who made an impact this summer around the globe, across the country, and even close to home.
Check out more Summertime Standouts at source.colostate.edu/summertime-standouts-2019.