Nathan Prager pursues a career in the FBI with psychology and foreign languages

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Name: Nathan Prager Major: Psychology/Criminal Justice Year: Senior

Nathan Prager’s interest in the human aspect of science started in high school, when he first began taking psychology courses. Now, he’s double-majoring in psychology and criminal justice in hopes of landing a career with the FBI’s Behavioral Research and Instruction Unit. To further prepare himself for a career in law enforcement, he’s minoring in German and Russian, knowing that having a global background and the ability to speak a second language with set him apart from other job seekers.

What led to your decision to choose ISU? I’m interested in a career in forensic psychology or criminal analysis after college, and ISU has a pretty good Psychology program, especially with Psychology and Law. ISU is also pretty close to home, so it’s no trouble going home to see family during holidays or weekends.


Why did you choose to major in psychology? I became interested in psychology during my psychology classes in high school. Psychology clicked with me because unlike other sciences, it has the human element and feels much less abstract to me. Because it’s a newer science, there is still so much to discover, and it’s interesting to see how theories can change pretty fast as new studies are done. Abnormal psychology was particularly interesting to me. I enjoy studying how mental illnesses can completely change a person’s thinking and thought patterns. Taking Criminal Justice as a second major was a pretty natural fit. There is a large crossover between the study of deviance and mental illness between the two majors.

How does what you’re studying fit into long term career goals? My dream job is with the Behavioral Research and Instruction Unit with the FBI. They assist FBI cases and other law enforcement agencies with info on human behavior – specifically criminal behavior. So I’m looking forward to hopefully working with them, and working on cases to both catch criminals, and to find better ways in treating those that are caught. I am also picking up minors in Russian and German. I have an interest in linguistics and I enjoy learning new languages, and they are a good leg up in finding jobs, especially with law enforcement.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in through school? I work under Dr. Gary Wells in a psychology laboratory. His research with Psychology and Law is incredibly interesting, and is exactly the type of work I’m interested in.

What course have you taken that’s impacted your experience? Psychology 280 Social Psychology during my first semester. It’s a great course, and is what inspired me to focus on social and forensic psychology.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? For studying I usually try to find a place in the towers at Parks Library. Most people stick to the main floors, so it’s not too hard to find a secluded and quiet space somewhere.

What’s your favorite app? Facebook. I use it somewhat as a news source, and can keep up on stuff I’m interested in.

What would make the world a better place? I think education is the key to improving problems in the world. Sadly, a lot of people around the world can’t get access to a good education, including in the U.S., where many schools are terribly underfunded. Because of this I take my education seriously, and don’t squander the opportunity.

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