Manny Thompson works as an intern with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Wichita. Thompson is a senior criminal justice major who is getting paid and getting credit through the WSU co-op program.
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Criminal justice student interns with the Drug Enforcement Administration
Dec 3, 2010 10:22 PM | Print

At Wichita State University, Manny Thompson earns work experience, college credit and a paycheck—all while enhancing his resume and getting a jump start on the competition.

Thompson is a senior criminal justice major working for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As an intern through Wichita State University's Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning program, Thompson works toward graduation and a career at the same time.

"It gives me the credit, and it gives me the experience," said Thompson. "It's kind of the best of both worlds."

Motivated and humble

On top of his internship, Thompson is in the Army Reserve, carries a full-time class load and recently became a professional boxer. His busy schedule reflects the way he lives his life and the dedication he shows his work.

"Manny is motivated, willing to do what it takes to succeed and very humble," said Jennifer Brantley, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning coordinator. "I had no doubt he would do well and be a great representative of the WSU co-op program."

At the DEA, Thompson helps keep an eye on one-third of the state of Kansas. Part of his job is clerical but he also gets to work with members of the Wichita Police Department, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigators and other government agencies.

"It's a fun, exciting job," said Thompson. "It keeps you on your feet."

Besides giving Thompson work experience, the internship also provides help with his criminal justice coursework.

"It helps out a lot," he said. "If I don't know the answer I can go to some of the special agents (at the DEA)."
Thompson plans on working with the DEA through graduation. After that he's not sure where he'll be.

In the ring

In the meantime, he's training for his first fight as a professional boxer. Thompson has boxed since he was a kid and has had a lot of success over the years.

In the ring or out, Thompson stays busy during his college years.

The fast-paced environment of his life mirrors the way his future job might be. Thompson said a career in political science or criminal justice is possible, but that he might refocus on something within business. He plans on attending graduate school.

"I'm leaning more toward business and trying to get my MBA," he said. "You can do a lot with it; it's very versatile."

Whatever he decides, Thompson's experience with the DEA and his coursework at WSU have helped prepare him for the rest of his life. His internship has given him a unique view on crime, life and the city.

"Never underestimate any region or city or anything, period," he said. "Wichita is busier than anyone, in my opinion, would imagine."

The WSU co-op program has helped place more than 27,800 students in the workplace during the past 30 years. For more information on co-op, visit

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