Ms. Moran kindly agreed to being interviewed by Forensic Nexus to share her career path. We asked her the following questions:
Where do you work as a Forensic Scientist?
I am an independent consultant. In 2004, while living in the UK, I founded the group Forensic Outreach to provide forensic services, education, and training programs. I spent many years providing forensic enrichment programs to high schools, training scenes of crime officers, and facilitating forensic awareness courses for lawyers. In 2010 I moved back to the USA. The forensic landscape is very different from that in the UK. Currently I work a “day job” and respond when needed to case work. In addition, I still provide educational opportunities, mentorship, and conduct forensic research.
What is your typical work day like?
Everyday is different. Some days are spent behind a desk researching or writing; other days I may be on a site visit or giving a lecture. Things can also change at a moment’s notice. I am always able to deploy within 30 minutes or less. That means having my forensic kit ready in case I get a call to attend a scene.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I always intended to be an archaeologist; however, archaeology can be a very specialized field and some of the work is hard to relate to real world issues and needs. I took up forensic archaeology to put my archaeological skills to practical use along with my writing, presenting, and administrative skills.
What is your academic background?
I studied Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. From there I spent an intense year as a CRM archaeologist in New Jersey. I then left for the UK to pursue an MSc in Forensic Archaeological Science at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL (University College London). I also spent about 4 years as a PhD student in archaeology at UCL. My research area is ancient fingerprints.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy the range of skills I use and the breadth of forensic science I employ on a daily basis. As a forensic archaeologist, the goal is to process the crime scene. This usually involves the recovery of human remains but will also include evidence recovery. I may come into contact with ballistics evidence, collect soil samples, take a cast of a footprint, and/or document the plants growing near the scene.
What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a career in your profession?
Forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology are two different but complimentary subjects. Know in advance which you prefer. If you decide to follow archaeology, get plenty of excavation experience and be willing to work under grueling conditions. Join societies and associations to connect with the professional community. Finally, be creative. Find new and interesting ways to make your education and training employable. Just because you can’t find a “forensic archaeology” job doesn’t mean that you can’t find other ways to fit into the criminal justice system or elsewhere.
Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading Ms. Moran’s story? Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to Ms. Moran’s and post her responses.
Forensic Nexus would like to thank Ms. Moran for her participation. She has also agreed to offer mentorship to individuals seeking career advisement.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about mentorship.
Every Monday we will be spotlighting forensic professionals. To contribute your story, please visit this link.
Till next week!