The CIA Undergraduate Scholarship program is a financial needs based initiative that offers undergraduate students an unmatched experience in a diverse and inclusive environment.
Undergraduate students, serving as scholarship recipients with the CIA, attend an accredited college/university on a full-time basis, studying a variety of subjects, and work during summer breaks at the CIA. While working at CIA, students are exposed to intelligence challenges while performing meaningful work that relates to their college major.
Below, we hear from a current CIA undergraduate scholarship STEM student about his experiences in this unique program.
Tell us about your path to CIA.
Growing up, I always wanted to have an exciting and meaningful career. When I was in high school I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I felt a duty to serve my country in some way. I first looked at the military as an option and heavily considered it for a long time. As I continued to search for potential jobs and college majors that fit what seemed interesting to me, a job at the CIA came to my attention.
I didn’t know much about the CIA except for what I saw on TV, but I was very interested to learn more. As I did my research on CIA.gov, I became instantly hooked. From that moment on it was my dream to get a job at CIA.
I worked very hard to get good grades and stayed focused on my dream. I ended up applying to the Agency every year since high school for multiple internship positions that fit my interests.
Every time I didn’t hear back, I evaluated how I could improve my application and reapplied. I was contacted the summer going into my sophomore year of college and knew that my hard work over the past three years paid off.
Describe your experiences as a scholarship intern at the CIA?
Being a scholarship intern is a great experience. It’s an honor to be selected.
As an intern with the Agency, I work closely with professionals and other students. I do meaningful work that has a real impact on our mission. Everyone treats me with respect and encourages me to try something new that might be out of my comfort zone.
Some of the best work I have done in the short time being here has been in areas I had no prior experience, and I learned to love it.
How have you used your STEM knowledge and skills as a scholarship intern?
As a computer science major with prior programming experience, I was able to jump right into mobile application projects and get started coding. I have applied my knowledge of networking to complex problems here as well.
What benefit of being a CIA scholarship recipient do you enjoy the most?
There are so many benefits of being a scholarship recipient; not only do I receive money towards paying my college tuition, but I also receive a salary as a full time employee year round.
This has allowed me to save up a lot of money and also gives me the ability to pay off loans and have extra money for food and gas. Having a salary while studying at school is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
What is your favorite aspect about your scholarship experience?
My favorite thing so far has been the community of current and former students you become a part of when you onboard. It’s a special group of highly motivated and dedicated people all looking to serve this country and contribute to our mission. Everyone I have met has a great story to tell about how they came to CIA or why they wanted to join.
What do you enjoy most about working at CIA during the summers as a scholarship intern?
Each summer I get to do a tour in a different office. It can be something that I have always wanted to try or has seemed very interesting to me.
The people here are very friendly and willing to give me guidance for my future career. They are open to allowing me to try new things and develop my skills as an intelligence officer.
Every officer I have talked to is able to tell me about their experiences and the lessons they have learned to better themselves.
What has surprised you about working here?
I was very surprised by the diversity of our workforce. CIA officers come from a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.
What advice would you give other students who are thinking about applying to the CIA Scholarship Program?
If you’re interested in working for the CIA, I highly encourage you to apply. Make sure you take your studies seriously and stay out of trouble.
The officers that run the Scholarship Program are very dedicated to their students to make sure their tours are meaningful. This is the best student program in the nation. It’s a special job that you can’t do anywhere else in the world.
Interested in our Undergraduate and Graduate student opportunities? Find out more here. Please note that applications for Summer 2018 scholarships and internships are due by August 14, 2017.
To apply to the Undergraduate Scholarship Program, click here.
Information on our Graduate Scholarship Program can be found here.