What I did on my summer vacation...

Before departing for the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy Collegiate Program (NFACP), undergraduate Jay Wessel stated, “I know it will be a challenging three weeks, but this is what I want to do in my life. If I can make it through this program and still love criminal investigations, then I know I am on the right path.”

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Those three weeks were not typical of most young college students’ summers. Part of that time was spent in the heat and humidity at the Anthropology Research Facility (read: The renowned place where scientists study how bodies decompose). Or studying the dynamics of blood spatter. Or learning how to map crime scenes.

The desire to learn continually and advance beyond what is “typical” or “expected” is a trait of forensic scientists that does not cease with the close of formal collegiate studies. Forensic science and crime scene professionals are always searching for new ideas, and better solutions to everyday puzzles. That is evidenced by attendance at educational conferences such as the IAI or AAFS… By the total readership to this magazine… And by participation in online forums where forensic science professionals can ask questions and find answers. The nature of the profession builds a community of learners.

The past decade has seen a well-recognized uptick in the number of forensic-science related courses and educational programs at colleges and universities, developed to keep pace with the students’ demands. As that crowd of inquiring minds pushes forward into the world, they also become part of the community of learners. In programs such as the NFACP, students have the opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners. Learning methods directly from members of a community that is so firmly seated in experimentation and investigation can only strengthen their skills and put them on the path (as student Jay Wessel noted) to a successful career.

Keep on learning and sharing this summer.

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, editor
Evidence Technology Magazine

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