Ms. De Koning 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?
Ghent University in Belgium. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Legal Medicine. Currently our department has a 5 membered staff: a Professor in Legal Medicine, his assistant, 2 lab technicians and a criminologist. I’m doing research within a medico-legal framework. We collaborate with the Faculty of Law, Department of Criminal Law.
What is your typical work day like?
Multidisciplinary scientific research: literature study (Journals, books, Net), setting up a database of our medico-legal archive, statistical analysis (via SPSS) and publications.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I was inspired by my professor who gave his lessons about legal medicine and forensic sciences.
What is your academic background?
Bachelor in Psychological Sciences, Master in Criminological Sciences, the next step is a PhD in Medical Sciences.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The variation of the job: research combined with practice (e.g. an external examination and/or an autopsy).
What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a career in your profession?
Follow your dreams and connect with the right people.
Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading Ms. De Koning’s story?
Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to Ms. De Koning and post her responses.
Forensic Nexus would like to thank Ms. De Koning 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 click here!
Till next week!
We received a question from a student that wanted more details about academic requirements for a Criminologist. Ms. De Koning’s response is as follows:
Criminology is a rather social study, and in Belgium most students who’ve studied Psychology Sciences, also want a degree in Criminology Sciences…
In Belgium we cannot choose our classes, it’s a “package-deal” (Don’t know how it is in the US) so it’s a mixture of legal classes and a few forensic classes (such as Legal Medicine, Forensic Psychiatry, Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Criminalistics: medical (Ballistics, Enthomology, Odontology,…) and chemical criminalistics (e.g. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), blood alcohol concentration,…).
We ‘ve had classes about Forensic Psychiatry for example and that was very interesting indeed: the criminal brain , as for the ‘normal’ brain is still quite a black box which needs to be further explored… , also Legal Law was a main class (necessary to understand the legal sanctions upon a crime), then there were several classes for example :Empirical Criminology (students learn how they can critizise criminological publications on a constructive way), Theoretical Criminology ( Theories of Durkheim, Merton etc about criminality…), Drugpolicy (including (inter)national policy on drugs), Crime Prevention,… So all I can give you is a brief inside in the Belgian classes to get a degree in Criminological Sciences… You can lean on the classes above as an example in which direction you will go.
I’m leaning towards the scientific side of Criminology: loved ‘medical’ classes (in my degree of Bachelor in Psychological Sciences my main classes were physiology so I became familiar to it at that time, but I haven’t got a Medical degree. Criminologists in Belgium, are working in the Department of Justice or in the Department of Police. I’ve had the chance to become a criminologist at Ghent University and that’s also the place where I wanted to be.