Cheryl Shea, 30, police officer, NYPD Office of Management, Analysis and Planning (OMAP)
Résumé: Shea joined the Bronx's high-crime 46th precinct in 2007, making a stunning 147 arrests in 18 months. She now shapes the infrastructure of the country's largest police department as an analyst in OMAP's elite Special Projects unit, supervising sensitive staffing discussions, pilot projects, and policy reviews. Expect to see her as a police chief or running NYPD's Special Victims or Counterterrorism bureau one day.
Background Check: "Ever since my sixth-grade class trip to the FBI headquarters, I was set on being an FBI agent. After college, I got a master's in forensic psychology and joined the NYPD as a stepping stone. Now I love it. There are more opportunities here than in the FBI."
Big Break: "Two years after I graduated from the Police Academy as valedictorian, OMAP called. I thought it was my friends kidding around because it's so prestigious! I interviewed and was assigned to Special Projects, a unit that recruits former valedictorians and Ivy League grads. There are five of us; I'm the only woman."
On Patrol: "I've only encountered an injured child once, and that was difficult. Two weeks into the job, I saw a hit-and-run victim, a kid with a broken leg. We got the driver, and the boy was fine. It was nice to have closure."