Most days start well before sunrise for Hezekiah Hayes.  First, he's off to his student worker job at 7 a.m with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  After lunch he takes in a full schedule of classes at the University of Minnesota.   It's not necessarily the pace or the type of work Hayes envisioned when he first set off to college.

"I can't say any middle or high school kid would see themselves working with sex offenders," says Hayes.  "My family was surprised.  I shocked myself too."

But Hayes has found fulfillment in his role with with the BCA's  Predatory Offender Registry which includes managing the intake of paperwork from all the predatory offenders and generating files for prosecutors and attorneys.  He began his studies focused on child psychology but through his work experience adjusted to a criminology and deviance major.

"He is doing quite exceptionally good work, but also developing his skills and experiences outside the classroom," says Christopher Uggen, one of his sociology professors.  "Given his maturity, I tend to forget that he is an undergraduate rather than a graduate student."

"He can work with numbers and do data analysis and he can make friends with anyone; work in any environment and blend in with any culture,"  adds academic Robert Bryant who considers Hayes among the most capable students he has encountered in his career.

The Wear the Badge Scholarship is both an honor and a relief for Hayes who has made a point of not asking for help from his family when it comes to his education.  After graduating from the U, he will head off to skills and a career in law enforcement that he hopes will lead him back to major investigations and beyond.

"My interest in law enforcement sprouted from my desire to aid people in crisis while being able to see the positive impact I am having on the community," he says.