Samantha Mikeska

FBI Special Agent Samantha Mikeska grew up admiring the police characters she saw on TV shows such as "Hawaii Five-0" and "Dragnet." But her path to becoming a member of the world's elite law enforcement agency took all sorts of twists and turns before she entered the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va. "I always wanted to be in law enforcement, but during the 1980s many people still viewed the profession as man's work and not for women," Mikeska said. After joining the FBI, the 45-year-old agent nearly lost her life seven years ago during an operation at the Sunland Park-Anapra border that left her seriously injured. Yet, every step of the way, Mikeska managed to muster the strength and will to overcome the adversities life threw her way. "It's the way I was brought up ...," she said. After Mikeska graduated from high school, she won a golf scholarship that enabled her to attend Texas Tech University. She switched later to Texas A&M in College Station, where she began her agricultural studies. There, she changed her major to accounting and received a bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting. The degree allowed her to pursue work as a staff accountant for a Texas hospital. Although she did a good job, her heart wasn't in it. "One day, after I saw the husband of a co-worker in his police uniform, I decided that's what I really wanted to do," she said. She applied to become a reserve officer in the Bryan, Texas, police department Advertisement [+]