Finding a Pathway to a Federal Career

As a retired military veteran with 20 years of experience, Josh Lynch came to Sam Houston State University for a college degree to open doors to federal law enforcement positions. Lynch earned his bachelor’s degree in just 20 months, which included an internship with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) in Houston, Texas.

Logos for STAFSIn August 2014, Lynch was accepted in the Master’s program within the Department of Security Studies and obtained the college’s first Pathways Internship with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“I work hand in hand with HSI special agents in the field,” said Lynch. “When they get a call, I get a call. I’ve gotten to observe search warrants, document cases, collect evidence, and go on searches of homes and cars.”

The Department of Homeland Security is composed of 22 different federal agencies, but there is only one investigation division, HSI. As a critical asset in the ICE mission, HSI is responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States. HSI special agents also conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.

HSI investigations cover a broad range of areas, including national security threats, financial and smuggling violations (including illegal arms exports), financial crimes, commercial fraud, human trafficking, narcotics smuggling, child pornography/exploitation, and immigration fraud.

“It is the second largest federal law enforcement agency in size only to the FBI,” said Lynch.

As a result, Lynch has been involved in a wide variety of cases since he joined HSI in October.

A few cases he has been involved in include drugs, money, cars, underage prostitution rings, and child pornography. But the most unusual part of his internship has been assisting in investigations involving cultural antiquities.

Logos for STAFSLynch was able to assist in an investigation involving dinosaur eggs and meteorites smuggled out of Burma (it is illegal to remove any artifacts from certain parts of Argentina, Germany, China and the U.S.). No artifacts are allowed to leave China.

Before joining Sam Houston State University, Lynch served in the Navy at bases in the U.S. and Japan. He began his career as a Navy medic and later joined the military police, where he was a K-9 handler searching for bombs and drugs. Lynch ended his military career as a command investigator.

Lynch is the first College of Criminal Justice student to get a paid internship through the Pathways program, which is a new federal initiative to open the doors to federal jobs for students and recent graduates. The year-round recruiting effort offers paid internships, hiring programs for recent graduates, and fellowship opportunities for graduate students, which can be converted into full-time jobs with government agencies. For additional information, please visit

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