Mr. Kurimsky kindly agreed to being interviewed by Forensic Nexus to share his career path. We asked him the following questions:
Where do you work as a forensic scientist?
I work in a small laboratory of about 45 people. The firearms unit has a supervisor, two firearms examiners, and a NIBIN tech. In addition to casework I also teach forensic firearms at Syracuse University.
What is your typical work day like?
On any given day I will normally work one or two firearm operability cases. In addition to analyzing weapons, I will generally use a comparison microscope to work an identification case (comparing fired ammunition components recovered at crime scenes to each other and to known test fires). The cases can involve accidental shootings, illegal machine guns or suppressors, officer involved shootings, homicides, even wildlife cases. The types of firearms and cases vary a great deal. The variety in this field is one of the greatest aspects of this type of work.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I starting shooting at the age of four and I have been involved in firearms ever since. I put myself through school working as an armorer in a gun store. It’s a profession that allows me to work in a field I love while doing a needed public service.
What is your academic background?
I have a BS in Biology and did graduate work in Forensic Biology. Once you are hired by a department, the training period is about 2-3 years. You will tour many firearm and ammunition manufacturing factories, and become a factory certified armorer for numerous weapons. Once your initial training is done, you will continue to train on new firearms and attend various professional development training.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There is no other field in forensic science that has this much to offer. You have the opportunity to learn and see so much in this field. The work is diverse and you have the opportunity to meet and work with other examiners from all over the world. It’s the only job in the lab that your working on a microscope one minute and firing a weapon the next. Greatest job out there!
What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a career in your profession?
First look at the web sites that post the positions for forensic science jobs, if your interested in firearms, the site to look at would be afte.org. Before you spend tens of thousands on an education make sure it will prepare you for what you want to do. Do not just take an advisors word that you will be prepared for a job. The postings will tell you what you need. If you can get an internship that will also help. The community is small and doing well during an internship is better than nailing the perfect interview. Having an examiner call and give you a recommendation because you worked in their lab is priceless. One last thought, being a firearms examiner is the best job out there. It takes work to land a position, but its well worth the effort.
Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading Mr. Kurimsky’s story? Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to Mr. Kurimsky and post his responses.
Forensic Nexus would like to thank Mr. Kurimsky for his participation. He has also agreed to offer mentorship to individuals seeking career advisement.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about mentorship.
To contribute your story, please visit www.forensicnexus.com/forensic-scientist-questionnaire
Till next week!