A law class in high school sparked Jess Cameron’s fascination with law enforcement and investigation. “I had always been good at math and science,” she said. “When I was thinking about what I would major in at Hofstra, forensic science was a good compromise that allowed me to dive into everything I found interesting.”
Jess, a spring 2015 graduate who hails from just outside Boston, is interested in several aspects of forensic science, including “ballistics, document examination, fingerprints and footwear.” What has her hooked is the piecing together of information to make sense of a crime investigation.
Jess completed two internships. She started the first at Applied Forensics in East Meadow during her sophomore year. That stint evolved into a full-time job that she juggled with her classes at Hofstra, and she even spent time training other students who came in as interns. Her second internship, completed over the summer 2014, was with the Boston Police Crime Lab. She got some very valuable experience working in lab maintenance and recording statistics and information from evidence kits from sexual assaults that happened in 2013.
She says that because of her internships and research on campus, “I feel really prepared for a career. So much of what I’ve learned has been hands-on experience.” Even the classes she’s taken in other departments have contributed to her resume. She cites a photography class that she took with the Department of Fine Arts, Design, Art History – “It was really interesting. I can bring some of the art-based techniques I learned into the forensic world.”
She also appreciates the support of her professors – many of whom she took evening classes with because they are working in the field during the day, with the NYPD and Suffolk County Police Lab. “The forensic science professors want the best for you. They want you to succeed. They are passionate about what they do and are experts in what’s happening now in the field.”
New Grad Was Drawn to Problem-Solving with Forensic Science
Staten Island native Robert Walsh first became interested in forensic science during his junior year of high school. “I really like science, and what drew me to forensic science is how initially unknown aspects can complete the picture about a crime or legal question.” Having graduated from Hofstra in spring 2015 with a major in that very field, Robert plans to continue his education in graduate school.
In the fall semester of his senior year he completed an internship at Applied Forensics LLC in East Meadow, where he assisted a documents examiner, who reviews paperwork such as correspondence, insurance, and wills for evidence of fraud. The area that Robert is particularly interested in is drug analysis. “If drugs are found at a crime scene, it’s the job of a forensic scientist to identify and quantify the substances.” When asked about his long-term career goals, he says, “I see myself working in drug analysis for a federal crime lab, like the FBI or the DEA.”
Robert, who worked as an RA at VanderPoel Hall, was also president for the academic club CSI Hofstra. He was also involved in a number of different activities on campus, including the Quidditch team, Hofstra’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Hofstra vs. Zombies.