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WIU LEJA Hosts ATF Panel For Engaging Conversation

The Western Illinois University School of Law Enforcement Justice, and Administration (LEJA) recently hosted the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)  for an evening panel discussion.


The event began with opening remarks from ATF Acting Assistant Special Agent Jason Gore.


"With 20 years at ATF, I believe WIU is the gateway for the next generation of ATF agents. WIU offers an exceptional education and the necessary challenges to prepare individuals for a career at ATF,” Gore said.


More than 120 students, faculty and staff from various departments were in attendance. Multiple WIU alumni, holding roles as special agents, directors, senior agents and more, presented on the panel. Two attending included Special Agent/ Certified Explosives Specialist (CES) and Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) and LEJA graduate Anthony Zito and Talent Pathway Coordinator and ATF Special Agent and Business Marketing and Management graduate Freddie Summers.


“Having graduated from WIU in 1998 and interned with ATF, I can attest that WIU provides the foundation necessary to secure a position in federal law enforcement. My advice to aspiring candidates: Gain experience early, build your resume and start applying as soon as possible,” Zito said.


The event was to make students aware of career opportunities within the federal government and let them see firsthand what positions like these do for the communities they serve. The discussion covered topics concerning what their recruiters want, the myriad of careers available–civilian and sworn positions, salaries and any special skills that will enhance the ability to be employed.


The event organizer, Summers is a proud alumnus and believes highly in WIU’s education.


"As a proud WIU alumnus from the class of 2004, I recognize the significant impact our programs have on agencies like ATF. Tonight is about giving back to students, inspiring them to pursue careers they may feel are out of reach. We're here to equip them with the tools and steps needed to achieve their goals, including the coveted 10-20 into ATF."


WIU LEJA Assistant Director and Professor Jamie Johnson, the Office of Communications and Marketing and Summers worked together for months to facilitate this learning experience and recruit current students on different federal and state opportunities available to them and encourage them to seek these opportunities through the dedication and experiences of others who have been in similar positions.


"ATF reached out to our program because of our national standing. They recognize our ability to recruit students for their openings and engage with them one-on-one. My goal is for every student to not only grasp classroom content but also gain insight into the diverse roles and responsibilities within ATF. Our enrollment stands at approximately 1,400 across the entire division and we are very thankful to ATF for their partnership,” Johnson said.


For more information on WIU’s School of LEJA, visit wiu.edu/leja.

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