Meet Our Graduates

Alexandra Jerreld

Hometown: Scotia, NY

School: Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Major: Forensic Science

Activities: Hofstra Pep Band, Peer Teaching, Ultimate Frisbee

What’s Next:  Forensic scientist at Indiana State Department of Toxicology

Why forensic science?

I always enjoyed science in high school, especially chemistry. What I like particularly about forensic science is its potential to help people who have been victims of crime or wrongly convicted due to the mishandling of evidence. People can give their opinions or accounts of an incident, but science is straightforward. Forensic scientists are all about assisting the crime solving process in an unbiased, fact-based way.


Why did you choose Hofstra?

I chose Hofstra based on its strong offerings in forensic science. Students, as early as their first year, can begin taking introductory classes, and there are a lot of research options and course electives. I also appreciate that my professors are still working in the fields they are teaching. My friends and I are learning the most accurate and up-to-date techniques used in crime labs.


What kind of research have you done in the Forensic Science Program?

I was very lucky to be involved in research with Dr. [Ling] Huang for my junior and senior years. The experience has taught me more than I ever would have learned had I only just attended class and labs.

We are using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy [NMR] and Direct Sample Introduction Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry [DSI-GC-MS] to analyze non-conventional cannabis products, such as gummies and oils, to advance forensic analysis and quality control in the manufacturing of these products.

Dr. Ling and I recently submitted an abstract of our findings to present at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in August.


How did you land your job at the Indiana State Department of Toxicology?

During the fall semester I knew my only free time to begin job hunting would come during the January intercession. With such a short window, I contacted the Center for Career Design and Development. They helped me get my resume together and update my LinkedIn profile. As part of their January Career Challenge, I had to reach out to five Hofstra alumni in my field and invite them to connect with me on LinkedIn. Kathleen Toomey [Class of 2014], a quality assurance manager at the Indiana State Department of Toxicology, responded right away. She said a job would be opening up in March and encouraged me to apply.

The Center for Career Design and Development helped me fine-tune my resume and cover letter. I interviewed and got the job. I’ll be moving out to Indiana in June. I still can’t believe how quickly things fell into place. I feel very lucky.


What will you miss about being at Hofstra? What are you looking forward to after graduation?

I’m going to miss all the people in the Chemistry Department. I also played tenor sax with Hofstra’s Pep Band, and this year we had so much fun playing for Men’s Basketball in Washington, D.C. when they won against William & Mary and at the NIT when they won in overtime against Rutgers. The energy was absolutely insane.

I am very excited for my move to Indiana and to start putting my degree to work!

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