Internship with SBI leads Carmen Lowe ’15 ’16 into law enforcement career
As a third-generation Appalachian State University graduate, Carmen Lowe ’15 ’16 can’t remember missing a university homecoming when she was growing up.
“I didn’t apply anywhere else,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anything like App State on the planet.”
Lowe, who is currently a special agent trainee at the NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) Special Agent Academy, received her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and her Master of Public Administration from Appalachian’s Department of Government and Justice Studies. The department is part of Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Her time at Appalachian helped the Salisbury native channel her interest in obtaining a job with lots of variety and activity toward the proper agency, Lowe said.
“With ALE, you’re constantly moving and doing something different all the time. One night you may be addressing violent and problematic events occurring at ABC-licensed outlets,” she said. “The next night, you could be investigating illegal outlets or conducting source investigations.”
A $5,000 grant from the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Public Service Fellows Internship program helped Lowe bridge her classroom work with an internship at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) her senior year.
Internships are required in Appalachian’s criminal justice program. “That’s one of the draws,” she said. “Internships are a great way to get a feel for the work outside of the classroom. The SBI is where I made my initial contact with ALE.”
Dr. Tammatha Clodfelter, an assistant professor of criminal justice who had worked in the field as a crime analyst, offered Lowe real-world wisdom on the challenges she’d face in a male-dominated field, Lowe said. She also helped Lowe develop her master’s thesis on recruiting and retaining female law enforcement officers.
In addition, Clodfelter encouraged Lowe, a snowboarder and adrenalin junkie, to get involved in obstacle course racing.
“Being physically fit is a huge part of this job, as is being able to handle challenges and solve problems by acting and reacting as quickly as possible,” Lowe said. “I see obstacle course racing and snowboarding as fun ways of keeping healthy and sharp for whatever comes my way.”