Chinese teacher flies high with FBI


Story by Isabel Cosby, Staff Writer

There are few people who ever get to experience things such as meeting with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey, learning about SWAT teams, and doing shooter simulations, but Chinese teacher Aprill Yakubu has done it all.

Yakubu was a part of the FBI Citizens Academy, which is a six-to-eight week community outreach program offered by the FBI. The program incorporates things such as computers and hacking, homeland security, domestic and international terrorism, and the SWAT team.

“The [Citizens Academy] allows people to see the different departments and aspects of the FBI,” Yakubu said.

Yakubu has since become a part of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni board.

Alumni of the Citizens Academy have the opportunity to be voted on to the Alumni Board. Being on the Alumni Board offered whole new set of opportunities for Yakubu.

On Mar 21, Yakubu met with Comey in Charlotte. Comey often meets with the Citizens Academy Alumni Boards in the places that he visits because they serve as a vital connection between the FBI and citizens.

“You would think he would be kind of, like when you think of the FBI, strict,” Yakubu said, “He was really personable, really nice, and when you ask him a question he knows the answers.”

Yakubu and her students had been reading about former House Speaker John Boehner. He made a comment about how he thought that the United States is definitely go to war with China, due to the issue with the South China Sea.

“I asked him about the relationship between China and the United States, the role of the FBI, and if he was worried about any future war or conflict,” Yakubu said.

By being on the Citizens Academy Board, Yakubu has the opportunity to set up a Community Relations Executive Seminar Training (CREST) wherever she thinks one is needed.

The FBI CREST is a shorter and more focused version of the Citizens Academy held in partnership with a community group at an offsite location.

“I set up one just recently at my mosque where we took all of the children, mostly teenagers from maybe third or fourth grade on up, and their mothers and we talked about internet safety,” Yakubu said, “So we had an actual agent come to the mosque and she gave a talk for about an hour on how to be safe on the internet, who the predators are and what is going on that you need to be aware of.”

In October, Yakubu will have the opportunity to visit the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, as well as the FBI headquarters in Washington DC.

Yakubu says that after having this experience, she does not feel as afraid in the world anymore.

“You don’t realize that people all day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week are protecting the country,” Yakubu said, “It’s weird once you realize that.”

Yakubu feels that she can now serve as an important part of the connection between the citizens and the FBI, through her networks in the education community, the Muslim community, the Chinese community from her years living in China and the African-American community.

“Opening up dialogue and ways for people to learn from the FBI and to utilize the FBI’s community relations services is where I come in,” Yakubu said.