“FAMU was always good about preparing students to deal with the big world, to be business-minded at all times, to always go out and help those who are less fortunate,” said Katrice Stubbs, FBI Special Agent.
The first African-American special agent James Wormley Jones joined the FBI in 1919. A century later, Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna Katrice Stubbs is one of the African Americans who make up about 5 percent of the bureau’s special agents.
As the FBI celebrates the 100-year history of Black special agents, the 44-year old New Orleans native is being recognized for her 10 years of commitment to the nation’s top federal law enforcement agency.
“We’re proud of the accomplishments. This is a part of our history and we are looking forward to the next 100 years,” said James Marshall, a spokesman for the FBI Miami Division.
Stubbs was appointed as an FBI special agent on Feb. 16, 2010, in Washington, D.C, joining a small cadre of FAMU alumni who have worked with the agency.
“It is the greatest career,” said Stubbs, who believes her time at FAMU prepared her well for public service.
While pursuing her master’s degree in English education at FAMU, Stubbs taught English at Nims Middle School in Tallahassee. Watching students get arrested made her uncomfortable. As her interest in law intensified, Stubbs chose to take advantage of the free Law School Admission Test (LSAT) prep services the University was offering at the time. Soon afterward, she was attending the University of Miami School of Law.
“FAMU was always good about preparing students to deal with the big world, to be business-minded at all times, to always go out and help those who are less fortunate,” said Stubbs, who earned a master’s in 2000.
Among the FAMU alumni who have worked for the FBI is John Glover, Ph.D. Glover played football for legendary Head Coach Jake Gaither before graduating with a bachelor’s in 1962. He was a teacher and athletic coach before joining the FBI in1966. When the Miami native retired in 1989, he was essentially the second most powerful person in the agency.
FAMU alumnus Charles Fields Sr. worked with the FBI for 25 years until his retirement as a senior supervisory special agent in 2007. The Okahumpka, Fla., native transferred to FAMU out of community college in 1975. By the time he left three years later, he had earned a pre-law degree and then a master’s of public administration. While in graduate school, Fields did an internship at the Florida Commission on Human Relations. That turned into a full-time job, which gave him the tools and the background to qualify as an FBI agent.
“I knew what I wanted to achieve and FAMU was able to help me achieve those goals,” said Fields, who has returned to the Tallahassee campus to lecture students. “It changed my life immeasurably.”
Stubbs practiced law for several years before deciding to apply to the FBI. Her first assignment was as a special agent at the Washington field office handling drug and gang cases.
“I got put on the criminal squad and I absolutely loved it,” Stubbs said. “Chasing bad guys, doing some undercover work —you name it — high-speed chases, the whole gambit of what you would think.”
Stubbs eventually moved back to Florida where she served five years at the Miami field office. She is still currently there operating as a special agent and one of the associate division counsels.
The FBI requires you to have a four-year degree and three years of full-time work experience, said Stubbs, whose daughter attends FAMU.
Stubbs wants students interested in law enforcement to know that it is a career that requires smart decision-making, self-discipline and patience. Experience with technology and unique foreign language skills, such as fluency in Mandarin, can help them get into the FBI Academy.
Both Stubbs and Fields would certainly recommend the FBI as worthy career choices.
“We don’t have enough Black doctors, we don’t have enough Black lawyers, we certainly don’t have enough Black educators, and we don’t have enough Black FBI agents,” Fields said. “A good agency needs to be more reflective of the society it serves.”