Representatives from the CIA visited Liberty University Feb. 19 to meet with prospective students seeking jobs in visual arts, graphic design and communications.
According to the Helms School of Government, the fair was an outlet for students wanting to use their skills to develop into a professional career within the agency.
Mark Hernandez, who has worked for the CIA for 25 years as the director of art, opened the floor by sharing his appreciation for the large crowd of students.
“I’ve traveled to big schools all across the country,” Hernandez said. “However, the turnout was not that great. I am thankful for the high turnout that I see with students here at Liberty University.”
Hernandez provided students with an overview about what to expect when they apply to the CIA.
“The work that my team and I do oftentimes falls right into the hands of the president — and that’s one of our distinctive parts of the job,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said that the art department within the CIA divides into smaller teams according to their specialization.
“We have photographers, graphic designers, production officers, publication officers, editors who edit to make sure that all the grammar that is put into our work is correct … and finally, video producers,” Hernandez said. “These are the disciplines that ultimately encompass our multimedia production occupation, where we take all these professionals and create a career service within the CIA.”
Another unique part of their job, according to Hernandez, is how their specializations in arts, unlike private institutions, are well-blended with topics that are crucial to the world.
“We deal with topics that are important in the intelligence to the U.S. government — political topics, regional topics and topics like terrorism,” Hernandez said. “We are excited to partner with analysts when they need to tell their story in a way that catches the eye of the audience.”
Hernandez also said that designing logos, producing infographics and creating charts and graphs for reports are among some of the tasks students can expect when working for the department.
Michael Wood, the production manager for the CIA interactive and web production center, listed the prerequisites required for someone to be qualified for a job at the CIA.
“No. 1, you must be an American citizen, be willing to move out to the D.C. area, no use of illegal substances for at least 12 months, no illegal downloads, have a 3.0 (GPA) and be proficient in various graphic arts programs, like Photoshop,” Wood said.
He then closed the session by laying down some basic information that people interested in working at the CIA will need to know before applying.
“We are not employing (right now) because Congress has not given us the hiring requirements for the year. But meanwhile, for those that are interested, go to www.cia.gov and look through the application process,” Wood said.