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Jordan Wood: Saving Children

February 27th, 2009

By Sarah Pride

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727

Jordan Wood, PHC senior

Over 2,000 children are reported missing in the United States every day, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Although many children are recovered in only a day or so, this still results in a great number of open cases. For this reason, the Center welcomes the help of qualified interns—one of whom, this last Fall 2008, was Patrick Henry College senior Jordan Wood. As the only full-time intern, Wood got to know the Center’s entire system. By the last half of her internship, she says, “Nobody had to tell me what to do. I just came in and started working.

“I did just about everything you can imagine to find kids from a desk,” she continues. This included “cold-case reviews” (tracing supposed dead-end cases and suggesting suspects to the police) and talking to parents and social workers, which, as she says, “frees NCMEC case managers up for heavy-duty cases, such as abductions.”

Wood, a Government: Strategic Intelligence major, came to PHC planning to join the CIA one day—like her grandfather and other relatives did. “I wanted sort of to continue the family business,” she explains. Somewhere along the line, her interests shifted to domestic crime. Her internship at the NCMEC won the day, with its daily, real-life impact.

Wood found that her Strategic Intelligence classes at PHC came in useful. They taught her to keep options open when considering what seems to be a closed case and to encourage communication between different intelligence agencies. She saw both these principles worked out in real life at the NCMEC.

“So many cases every day are surprises,” she says. “Also, NCMEC has so many resources to help police, but the police don’t always communicate. When they do, it makes so much difference.”

Now, Wood hopes to go on and work for the NCMEC after graduation. She encourages other SI majors to apply for the internship program, since it is such an amazing opportunity to help other people even before graduation.

“It’s important to have people willing to address these issues [of missing kids],” she says.