16-year-old Marissa Carper will represent Washington at FBI youth program in Virginia

Carper will receive hands-on training from FBI, complete 6-mile Yellow Brick Run

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen reporter

Starting June 16, Marissa Carper will tour the FBI base in Virginia and participate in the Yellow Brick Run.

Since fifth grade, Marissa Carper knew she wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement and do “something more” for her community. 

“In fifth grade, we were doing a project where we did posters where we said what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said I wanted to be a cyborg security expert at the FBI. I wanted to be a cyber FBI officer,” she said. 

This summer, the Pullman High School junior is one of 62 high school students ages 14-16 selected to attend the FBI National Academy Associates’ annual Youth Leadership Program as a delegate for Washington state. 

Starting on June 16, Carper will spend eight days in Quantico, Va., building leadership skills and receiving hands-on training from FBI professionals.

“There’s also a tourism aspect to it a little bit where you go and tour places in the FBI base and of course, there’s a physical aspect,” she said. “You have to get up at 5 a.m. for running and pushups and such.”

Carper said she is most excited to tour Hogan’s Alley, a makeshift town where students can participate in practice scenarios and act as law enforcement.

She will also participate in the Yellow Brick Run, which is a “full-body physical challenge” where participants run through forests for 4 to 6 miles while climbing, running through water and completing other physical challenges.

This year was Carper’s third attempt to become the Washington delegate for the program, she said. The first year she applied, the pandemic canceled the program, and she was not selected for the delegate position her second year.

On the application itself, Carper said students must list awards they have received and write an essay about what leadership means to them.

“From the applicants, they accept eight people to move on to the interview process,” she said. “The interviews were held virtually this year, but normally they would be in person. I’d like to say it was a panel of three people. There were different law enforcement officers, mostly from the east side of the state.”

Carper said the interviewers discussed her experience with leadership in the Pullman community and her interest in the FBI and law enforcement.

Pullman Police Department Chief Gary Jenkins said he nominated Carper to participate in the program because she demonstrates leadership in her community and is a good student qualities the nominators were looking for.

“I know that for the past few years, she and her brother have organized a fundraising effort for a local friend who is suffering from an illness. They have been fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and they have been very effective in doing that. That’s one of the examples for her heart for service,” he said.

Jenkins said Carper was the only person to approach him and ask for a nomination, knowing he was a FBI National Academy alum. Graduates of the academy are in charge of the selection process, he said.

Jenkins said he has been a part of the nomination process since 2020 and nominated Carper each year.

When the program concludes this year, Carper said it is important for students to take what they learn and implement it in their own community. She said she is excited to leave for Virginia on June 15, joining other delegates in their pursuit of law enforcement careers.