Working to become an FBI Special Agent Medic

From the time she was a child, Abby Mortensen has wanted to be a police officer so she can stop criminals and protect people. But now that she’s an adult, she’s aiming even higher — the FBI. To reach her goal, she has challenges ahead of her, but she has already overcome much to get where she is today. 

As a child, Abby realized that her family was dependent on church welfare. Often, her parents couldn’t afford to buy food or clothes. When her father was between jobs, her parents went to a local religious leader for assistance through their church’s welfare program, then to the Deseret Industries Thrift Store, where her mother read from a form exactly what the family was allowed to get — one pair of pants, one pair of shoes, two shirts, and so on. Abby realized this wasn’t the kind of shopping trip other families took. 

In high school Abby learned of an internship opportunity with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office that would allow her to shadow detectives. The only thing stopping her was the lack of transportation to and from her home in North Salt Lake and the sheriff’s office in Farmington, Utah. But that didn’t discourage her; she took a job as a janitor after school and saved enough money to make a down payment on a used car. 

The officers she worked with during the internship encouraged her to go to college and get a job with the FBI, and she heeded that advice. Because the deputies in the Sheriff’s office were also paramedics, Abby took an Emergency Medical Responder class and discovered she loved it as much as law enforcement. 

Abby began her college education at Brigham Young University, majoring in psychology and working with campus police as a security guard/first responder. But, doubting whether the degree would qualify her for the FBI, she discovered UVU’s prestigious Paramedic program. Researching the FBI online, she learned of the FBI’s special agent medic position. Special agent medics work on cases with other agents and provide emergency care on the scenes of volatile situations.

“Every single aspect of the special agent medic job description seemed to click with me,” says Abby. “A job where I could investigate crimes, work in high-pressure situations, and provide emergency medical care to those around me? It was perfect.” 

As a UVU student, Abby has paid all of her own tuition and living expenses. “Being a full-time student while working as much as possible takes a toll,” she says. “My spare time is very limited, and I almost always have to choose between important things such as making a nutritious meal, socializing, and exercising or doing my homework. Homework generally wins.” 

The paramedic program at UVU is demanding and time consuming. When Abby learned she had been awarded the Women’s Success Center Scholarship, she was overjoyed. “I called my mother to tell her I would be able to pay for eight months of classes. It meant the world to me that someone had been willing to donate to my education. Even small scholarships make a big difference in helping struggling students to achieve their dreams,” she says. 

“With this scholarship, on the weeks I have eight chapters to read outside of class or 50+ hours of clinical shifts, I can happily devote the necessary time,” she says. 

Abby is looking forward to working as a paramedic intern, which will give her experience in pediatrics, labor and delivery, surgery, shock and trauma, and cardiac catheterization, as well as with a fire agency. She plans to graduate next year with a paramedic license and degrees in emergency management and emergency care. Then she’ll apply to the FBI.