The School of Chemistry hosts another successful ‘Meet the Forensic Graduates’ event and we were happy to have so many of our students back on their university territory.
The event was an opportunity to invite alumni of the forensic science course back to the University to meet current students.
Dr Ruth Croxton invited a select group of graduates that represented a wide range of careers open to students of the course, which included:
Joseph Brown – KTP Research Associate and PhD student – University of Lincoln
Natasha De Souza – Senior DNA Forensic Scientist – Cellmark Forensic Services
Emily Norton – Forensic Anthropologist and Archaeologist
Thomas Purbrick – Technical Assistant (Analytical Chemistry) – University of Lincoln
Graeme Willmott – Forensic Scientist – LGC Forensics
Each alumnus gave a short presentation on their current role and how they got to that point. Some had a straightforward career journey, others had got to that point by sheer determination and a little bit of ‘right place, right time’! The event was then opened up to the floor and students had an opportunity to grill the alumni on anything and everything! We had questions on CV advice and types of interview questions through to the most difficult case you’ve worked on, of which there were some hard hitting examples of a life in forensics!
The students were able to hear about the changes occurring in the forensic science sector right now and how this may impact the labour market in years to come. They also found out hints and tips on finding a career in such a diverse and often quite closed sector. However, we also heard the tougher parts of a career in forensics, the pay, the hard work and the emotional toil, it’s not all like CSI!
It was a real chance for students to speak with people who were in their shoes only three, four or 10 years ago. They knew how hard it was to complete a dissertation and research the geographical locations of forensic providers at the same time as write an eye catching scientific CV! The alumni had some great tips and were happy to chat to students afterwards in the hour of networking.
Overall, it was a great afternoon, not only due to the cakes and coffee! Thanks go to Ruth and the team for organising the event and to the alumni for sharing their experiences. We are hoping this will be an annual event in which we can invite more and more alumni to join us.
Were you a student at the event? Let us know what you thought. Or are you an alumni student wanting to share your story to other students – get in touch with Ruth Croxton.
If you missed our event, don’t worry. Learn about our graduates below:
Joseph Brown (2009-2012)
I started my undergraduate degree in 2009 at Lincoln in Forensic Science, graduating in 2012. I then started my PhD in 2013 looking at the prevalence of Clostridium perfringens in poultry environments and the effects of the bacteria in the environment. I was then awarded a KTP (knowledge transfer partnership) position at the start of 2014, as a research associate for a company with ties to the poultry industry to design a biocontrol product. I then entered into a collaborative project with Imperial College, London in mid-2014 looking at C. perfringens in neonatal infants and the possible correlation with necrotising enterocolitis. I have presented work globally, specifically in California, Denmark, The Netherlands and London and will be presenting work this May in Brighton and again in July in Nashville, TN. I plan to complete the PhD this year and publish a series of papers looking at the bacterium in the poultry environment, the prevalence of necrotic enteritis in poultry within the UK, and the links between C. perfringens and necrotising enterocolitis in neonatal infants. I aim to have the completed biocontrol product available mid-2017.
Natasha De Souza (2008-2011)
I am a Senior DNA Forensic Scientist based in Oxfordshire. I have been at Cellmark Forensic Services for almost 5 years. Cellmark Forensics specialises in DNA analysis for criminal cases, paternity testing and agriculture. They also have dealings with toxicology and other major forensic disciplines.
I specialise in major crime and sperm elution. I am trained to examine swabs, tools, drug paraphernalia, human remains, clothing and items of a sensitive nature. I have undergone extensive training in laboratory processes. This includes training in examinations of sexual assault cases and rape. I have conducted several months of training plans for new starters and have given presentations to a number of different police forces. Oh and I’m still a Cheerleader thanks to the Lincoln Jets.
Tom Purbrick (2010-2013)
As a technician assistant for the College of Science, I am responsible for the day to day running of laboratory spaces within the Science building and Joseph Banks Laboratories at the University of Lincoln. Before starting this role I came to Lincoln as a student and graduated in 2013 with a first class (with honours) degree in Forensic Science. Immediately after this I started an MSc by Research degree with Dr Mark Baron, which I completed at the end of 2014. Half-way through my Masters year I started working as a technician assistant at the University, where I became involved with both chemistry and forensic based practical sessions. My key responsibilities include the following:
• developing and testing practical classes;
• preparing health and safety documentation;
• ordering reagents and supplies;
• understanding analytical techniques and instruments to a high level in terms of operation and maintenance;
• training individuals on a range of analytical equipment and writing standard operating procedures (SOPs);
• supporting research.
Graeme Willmott (2002-2005)
I graduated from Lincoln University in 2005 with a undergraduate degree in Forensic Science. My first job after university was as an asbestos analyst for STL labs but after approximately a year I joined the FSS as a DNA analyst. I eventually moved to LGC and took on the role as a fibres examiner and then progressed to a fibres expert witness. Due to changes caused by the economic crisis an opportunity arose to set up a drugs team at Tamworth. That was approx. 6 years ago and since then the team has grown and about 1.5 yrs ago I also took responsibility for the Cell Site (Mobile phones) team.