Stephanie Gibson, from Banbridge, is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of being a criminal profiler as she is set to work shadow the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after landing a one-year university placement in the United States.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the hardworking and talented 25-year-old. She is the only student from the UK to gain a place at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, starting this summer.
The second year criminology and social anthropology student at the University of Essex in Colchester will be able to shadow the teams at the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), as well as being in close proximity to the National Security Agency (NSA) and other crime agencies.
"In order to secure this opportunity, I had to adhere to a number of stipulations, as well as writing a personal statement and getting recommendations from my lecturers," Stephanie said.
"There was only one placement available to students in the UK and I was fortunate enough to have been offered it."
The former Banbridge High School pupil previously studied public services at the town's Southern Regional College campus and was named its student of the year in 2012 for overcoming health issues to achieve distinctions in her work.
"I worked really hard to get to where I am now, not only to be given this opportunity to go abroad but to get to university," she said.
"I have always had an interest in the criminal justice system but primarily in areas such as terrorism, anti-terrorism and crimes against the State. It is for this reason that I am extremely excited to be given this once-in-a-lifetime experience, as it will not only fuel my passion for these interests, but will also give me a unique insight into how intelligence agencies work and hopefully look very impressive on my CV."
Stephanie has never been to the US so is looking forward to her year living there.
"Criminal profiling isn't as well recognised in the UK as it is in America and the FBI is at the forefront of that and has made it more acceptable," she said.
"That is why I would like to work with them.
"I am going to be so close to Washington DC and all the political goings-on in America.
"The NSA is in the vicinity of where I will be. It will be an excellent opportunity to make contacts."
FBI headquarters is in Washington. It also has 56 field offices located in major cities throughout the US, around 380 smaller offices called resident agencies in cities and towns across the nation, and more than 60 international offices in US embassies worldwide. It has 35,344 employees, including 13,598 special agents and 21,746 support professionals.