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Superior man lands internship with FBI

Matt Heytens knew he wanted a career in law enforcement, specifically at the FBI, when he was in ninth grade at Superior High School. Now a student at Minnesota State University-Mankato, the 20-year-old will get a big leg up on his goal with a su...

Heytens with Walsh
Matt Heytens (left) shakes hands with John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted" on Fox. Heytens worked with the show while in Washington, D.C., in 2008. (Submitted photo)

Matt Heytens knew he wanted a career in law enforcement, specifically at the FBI, when he was in ninth grade at Superior High School.

Now a student at Minnesota State University-Mankato, the 20-year-old will get a big leg up on his goal with a summer internship at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. He was given the opportunity after successful completion of the FBI Washington Field Office Internship Program last summer.

Getting in isn't easy: The FBI internships are considered to be among the most competitive in the U.S federal law enforcement and intelligence community. Heytens applied online for the May-August Honors Internship Program after his high school graduation. An 18-month vetting process involves checking and rechecking references, a three-hour polygraph test and a full personal background check.

His road to winning the internship has been paved with hard work.

Immediately after his freshman year of high school, Heytens began doing ride-alongs with the Duluth and Superior Police departments and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.

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Heytens played basketball at SHS as a freshman and was on the golf team for three years. He enjoyed sports but knew that realistic athletic goals would not provide him with the life he wanted. He was aware that sports were fleeting and having employment goals was more important.

He is on pace to graduate from Mankato in law enforcement in 3½ years.

Before his 2009 summer internship with the FBI, Heytens had another unique experience in Washington, D.C. In 2008, he applied to help with the Fox TV show "America's Most Wanted."

The TV show, hosted by John Walsh, has brought justice to thousands of crime victims for 23 years. Since the show has been on the air, 1,096 fugitives have been captured in 36 countries and 61 missing children have been returned to their families.

"It's truly amazing what they do on that show," Heytens said. "Mr. Walsh turned his own personal tragedy into helping others. I want to be a part of that, to make a difference in the world."

He will work on the show again next summer, as time permits, helping with letters and applications of people who have suffered a great loss and are desperate for closure of some sort.

"I know that I want to work for the FBI," Heytens said. "After meeting many people within the FBI and seeing the passion they have for what they do, I was convinced that the FBI was for me. My dream job is to be in the FBI, where I can do my best to make a positive difference in the lives of the people with whom I come in contact."

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