It was early summer, 1995. With a year to go before finishing her degree at the University of Alabama, Erin Tenbrunsel of Huntsville was preparing to leave for Quantico, Va., for a May-to-August internship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "I was excited and a little nervous," she remembered. Who wouldnt be? Not just anybody gets invited to work for the FBI, even if its only a summer job. "I was in a five-year major at Alabama Computer Science and this was between my fourth and fifth year," Erin said in a recent interview. "The FBI was taking two college students from each state and sending them to D.C. for summer internships. Somehow, I got picked. I thought itd be an interesting experience." She had no way of knowing that shed soon play a small part in the investigation of the worst terrorist attack in American history until Sept. 11, 2001. On April 19, 1995, a few weeks before Tenbrunsel left for D.C., a massive fertilizer bomb hidden in a parked Ryder truck exploded in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring almost 700 others. Timothy McVeigh and an accomplice named Terry Nichols were quickly arrested. McVeigh was eventually executed; Nichols got life in prison. At the FBI Academy in Quantico, Tenbrunsel and a few fellow interns were placed in an analysis group that used the latest evidence-gathering technology. One of their first cases was Oklahoma City. "They had a lot of specialty equipment that you wouldnt believe," said Erin. "My group stayed in the office at Quantico, evaluated evidence coming in about the Oklahoma City case and sat in on lots of brainstorming sessions with special agents. Sometimes I even spoke up with a suggestion. We spent a lot of time just trying to figure out why Timothy McVeigh would do something like that." When she returned to Alabama, friends would ask, "Think youd like to work for the FBI someday?" The answer was always yes. "After that summer," she said, "I wanted to do that so bad. I came away thinking Id love it. They were hiring agents with degrees in a lot of different areas, too. Only problem was, I wouldve needed a Masters degree. Then I graduated and got a consulting job with IBM. I still had a passion for the FBI and the excitement of that lifestyle. But life has a way of changing things. Life happens. IBM comes along, you meet somebody, you fall in love, get married, start having babies, and off you go." What happened was, Erin Tenbrunsel met Jimmy Secretarski, a former basketball player at Sienna College and the founder of an investment company in Asheville, N.C. They fell in love, got married, started having babies, and off they went. So long, FBI. The Secretarskis live in Ashville with their three children: Jay, 10; Tommy, 7, and Annie, 3. Erin tends to her online sales business, manages the household and makes a point of exercising every day. The daily exercising comes naturally. Its something she has been doing since she began swimming at age 3 and later played softball, basketball and soccer in the third grade at the Okemos School District near Lansing, Mich. Her competiveness and natural athleticism became increasingly evident after the Tenbrunsel family moved to Huntsville in 1986, when Erin was 12. As time went by, she was best known for her skills in volleyball, but also participated in a variety of sports like tennis and distance running as well as other outdoors activities like kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, hiking, camping and biking. At Huntsville High from 1988-92, she lettered two years in basketball, four years in softball and four years in volleyball while playing for Hall of Fame coach Sherry Ammons. "Other than my mother, no woman has influenced me more than Coach Ammons," said Erin. "As a freshman, I was motivated by fear of her. But as a senior, I was motivated by respect. The skills she taught were not only sound fundamentals for the sport being played, but also fundamentals for life. I still use them today in parenting, relationships, work and exercise." At Alabama from 1992-97, Erin played with distinction on the varsity volleyball team. Her personal highlights came when she won the Crimson Tide Volleyball Academic Award (1993), the Crimson Tide Volleyball Classic All-Tournament Award (1994), was named the team captain (1994) and won the SEC Scholar-Athlete Award (1994). "Ive been able to accomplish pretty much everything I wanted to do," she said. Except maybe work for the FBI?