The Ultimate Balance Routine
by Zach Epstein
“If I’m not busy and running around, I feel like I’m doing something wrong,” says Briana Odom, a senior from Waldorf, Maryland.
It’s hard to imagine she feels that way very often.
Odom divides her time between the classroom (where she’s a psychology major), the gym (where she’s a co-captain of Temple’s gymnastics team) and Center City, which is home to her longtime, uncommon internship.
Briana Odom might be the only student in the country who wins titles on the gymnastics mat by day and works for the FBI by night.
When Odom decided to attend Temple for its mix of strong academics and athletics, the FBI wasn’t yet on her radar. “I had gymnastics schools, and I had academic schools,” she says. “Temple was one that was kind of in the middle.”
While she had not yet considered a future in government or criminal justice, the prospect wasn’t a completely foreign one. Her hometown is full of D.C. commuters, and she has many family members who work in public service or have military backgrounds—including her mother, who works at the FBI, and her father, who also works for the federal government.
After prodding from a family member, Odom completed the four-hour online application for the FBI’s internship program. That began a six-month process, which involved multiple interviews, background checks, and conversations with Odom’s roommates, neighbors from home, and even some professors. By the summer after her freshman year, she was in.
Odom began working at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., taking part in the Bureau’s 10-week summer internship. Her superiors encouraged her to continue working in the Philadelphia field office once the school year began—an offer she accepted.
“I’m a psych major, so they paired me with the Office for Victim Assistance. They help out victims of federal crime,” she says.
Odom says that the FBI makes an effort to pair its interns with departments whose work is relevant to the interns’ majors. She’s become an ambassador for the program, promoting the internship to students from all disciplines.
“I’ve been going around campus telling people about it,” she says. “It’s an undergraduate internship and anybody can do it, they’re looking for all majors.”
On campus, Odom focuses on her psychology coursework—she’s also pursuing a public health minor—and the gymnastics team. She finished 2016 with four individual event titles for the season (one each on the vault and bars, and two on the floor) and a place on Temple's Director's Honor Roll for having a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Odom spent her summer working full-time in the FBI’s Philadelphia field office. She plans to attend law school after graduation, and perhaps someday she’ll trade the title of “Athlete” to another one: “Agent.”