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Dawn Norris
Young Alumni Award

Dawn Norris aspired to be in the FBI as a young girl. Along with her best friend, Meghan Clay, the ambitious third graders started a Kids Detective Agency and routinely read the police blotter in The Sun Chronicle in hopes they could help police officers fight crime. Dawn recalls one Saturday afternoon when they inspected tire tracks in the North Bowl parking lot. Although they did not solve a mystery that afternoon, Dawn's interest in criminal justice persisted. Flash forward twenty years and Dawn Norris is a Special Agent with the FBI's New York Field Office, specializing in national security and counterintelligence investigations.

Upon graduating from NAHS in 1992 as the classmate "Most Likely to Succeed," Dawn attended Johns Hopkins University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with her Bachelor's degree in political science a semester early in 1995. Following her graduation, Dawn worked for a lobbyist on Capitol Hill and started graduate school in the fall of 1996. While in graduate school, Dawn gained experience as an economic development policy advisor to Mayor Tom Menino in Boston. In this role, she evaluated Boston's economic empowerment zones and their success in new business development. Dawn earned her Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 1998.

Even though she was invited to join the FBI shortly after completing her graduate work, Dawn opted to go into the private sector to gain some real world business experience. Over a five year period, she worked as a consultant with the City of New York's Welfare-to-Work initiatives, was a business process analyst, joined a start-up management consulting firm called Potomac Partners and became second partner and Managing Director for the James Group, a small marketing consulting firm where she handled everything from new business development to client management to project execution. A very challenging time in her career was after the attacks on 9/11 when she was working with the James Group. During this time, she participated with other New York City small business owners by taking steps in the aftermath and subsequent economic fallout to continue business as usual.

Dawn has always embraced opportunities to challenge herself personally and professionally. Although she turned in her microphone upon entering the FBI, Dawn previously performed at least three nights a week in clubs in New York City as a stand-up comedian. She began performing after taking a Stand Up Comedy workshop that she loved. Prior to committing to the FBI, she also contributed to the community as a member of the board of managers of the McBurney YMCA in New York.

The proudest moment of Dawn's career is the day she graduated from the FBI Academy and became a Special Agent. In her almost decade with the FBI, she has led operations against international terrorist organizations, criminal enterprises, and hostile foreign intelligence services. Her successes include keeping weapons of mass destruction (WMD) out of the wrong hands, protecting critical national assets, and strengthening the global threat picture against the United States.

She has led liaison efforts between the FBI and its partners, including the CIA, Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and state and local law enforcement agencies. Dawn's investigative achievements in have earned her a number of FBI internal recognitions.

Dawn's been a featured speaker on espionage to the National Law Enforcement Associates, and the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators. Additionally, she currently teaches advanced operational methods to other FBI agents nationwide.

Dawn is a member of the elite Behavioral Analysis team. She is part of a "fly team" that assists FBI offices around the country, providing behavioral assessments - better known as "profiling" – on a variety of cases. She enjoys each case because it provides another opportunity to learn more about the human psyche.

Dawn resides in the suburbs outside New York City with her husband and their three girls. In her free time, she enjoys fiction writing and scrap booking. When asked the advice she would give NAHS graduates, she urges them to try anything once. She encourages them to step outside their comfort zones and do what they love. As she says, "It makes a huge difference if you actually get excited to go to work everyday."