From investigating a crime scene to the classroom: Law student works for the FBI

woman in black shirt smiles for a headshot

Second-year evening law student Yana Nebyshinets currently works as a Victim Specialist for the Sacramento Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Photo by Ashley Golledge.

Second-year evening law student Yana Nebyshinets currently works as a Victim Specialist for the Sacramento Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one of the leading U.S. criminal investigation agencies. She has worked for the FBI since August 2020 during the global pandemic.

Nebyshinets was born in Russia. She immigrated to the United States with her family and moved to Fresno, California, where she grew up and went to school.

In addition to being a refugee herself, Nebyshinets comes from a refugee family. Her grandfather was imprisoned in a Siberian prison for his religious beliefs, which forced her family to flee Russia. These experiences shaped passion for working with children, refugees, and vulnerable populations, and explain her career path.

"In reality, experiencing my family fleeing Russia and seeing my grandfather imprisoned was probably the starting point of wanting to enter this profession,” Nebyshinets said.

Nebyshinets has already devoted her time to serving the community. For the past decade, she has worked with and empowered survivors of violence within the criminal justice system with a specific focus on women and girls affected by violence. She worked for a number of different agencies, including Fresno County Probation Department ('13-'16); the Fresno EOC Central Valley Against Human Trafficking ('16-'18); and the Superior Court of California, County of Fresno ('17-'19).

These roles in her career thus far eventually led her to her current job with the FBI.

As part of her day-to-day responsibilities, Nebyshinets can work 16- to 17-hour shifts and is always available 24 hours a day for emergency calls from victims of kidnapping, terrorism, and other federal crimes. She supports victims by coordinating funding and resources. Additionally, she provides crisis coordination and triage services at mass casualty crimes scenes and other federal jurisdiction crime scenes.

“This job you can never fully anticipate or understand what will happen that day, but that is what makes it interesting,” Nebyshinets said. “I’m there on scene to provide the family or the individual with any support they may need during that time.”

As a victim specialist, Nebyshinets’s responsibilities include informing victims of their federal rights, coordinating resources and providing referrals, and providing support services to victims of federal crimes.

Aside from working for the FBI and helping others within the legal system, she also began pursuing a law degree at McGeorge School of Law in 2022.

By obtaining a law degree at McGeorge, Nebyshinets hopes to better advocate on behalf of survivors.

“I believe deeply in justice and believe that no one is above the law. I have witnessed how our legal system can be utilized to balance the scales of power, hold people accountable, and give survivors back their voice,” Nebyshinets said. “I believe in this system and look forward to obtaining a legal education that will equip me to fight for survivors on a different level.”

When applying to law schools, Nebyshinets said McGeorge stood out to her because of the school’s location in California’s state capital, reputation, and community-centeredness.

“McGeorge has a stellar reputation of creating top-tier lawyers who are competitive on a global scale,” Nebyshinets said. “The University of the Pacific has a history of community investment that appealed to the values I hold.”

Nebyshinets understands that juggling a job and law school at the same time will be challenging. Despite this, she encourages others in similar circumstances to take the next step in their education.

“Start where you are right now and build up your reputation, while also keeping your head down to let your work speak for you,” Nebyshinets noted. “Always remember to build relationships, network and opportunities will come."

For more information about McGeorge School of Law, visit our website.

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