Forensic Nexus Q/A Session with a Digital Forensic Scientist!

GoldenS.Richard

Forensic Nexus would like to introduce you to Golden S. Richard of New Orleans, Louisiana whose area of expertise is in Digital Forensics.

Golden kindly agreed to being interviewed by Forensic Nexus to share his career path. We asked him the following questions:

What is your area of expertise/forensic discipline?

 My area of expertise is in digital forensics, which involves identifying, preserving, recovering, and analyzing data stored on digital devices, such as computer systems, mobile phones, digital voice recorders, flash media; etc.

 

Where do you work as a forensic scientist?

I do casework at Digital Forensics Solutions, LLC. I teach digital forensics and do research in computer security, reverse engineering, and digital forensics at the University of New Orleans.

 

What is your typical work day like?

I am focused more on research and teaching now, so a typical day involves preparing course materials, teaching students how to do investigations, and supervising graduate students who are doing research to advance the state of the art in digital forensics. I still occasionally do case work and this involves analyzing data on a variety of digital devices, with the most common being computer systems and smartphones.

 

What inspired you to pursue this career?

I have always been interested in file systems, operating systems design and internals, and other low level details of computer systems and digital forensics involves intimate knowledge of these issues, so it is a natural fit for me.

 

What is your academic background?

 I have a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in computer science.

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Currently, that involves interacting with students. But the “Sherlock Holmes” aspect of the job never fades–essentially, being able to recover data that users assume is long gone, whether in the context of some legal action or simple data recovery,

 

What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a
career in your profession?

 Intimate knowledge of computer systems is extremely helpful. If you’re just starting your academic career I highly recommend degrees in computer science and if possible, from a university that strongly emphasizes computer security and digital forensics in the computer science curriculum.

 

Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading Golden’s story? Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to Golden and post his responses.

Forensic Nexus would like to thank Golden for his participation. He has also agreed to offer mentorship to individuals seeking career advisement.

Contact us at info@forensicnexus.com for more information about mentorship.

To contribute your story, please visit this link: https://forensicnexus.wufoo.com/forms/forensic-scientist-questionnaire/.

Visit the Forensic Nexus booth at the STEM Expo on Saturday, May 19th in Harlem NYC

We are participating in our very first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Expo. “Who took the cookie from the cookie jar? The Mystery” is our theme. Students will learn how to lift and identify fingerprints, as well as perform paper chromatography in order to determine which suspects fingerprint was found on the cookie jar and which suspects pen was used to write the letter. We will have tons of information for students, activities, fun, and giveaways!

When: Saturday, May 19, 2012 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Where: The Harlem Armory
Location: 40 West 143rd Street between Lenox Ave. and Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10037
Website: http://www.supersaturdaystemexpo.org/

We hope to see you there!

Email Help: “I don’t have any lab experience, how can I get my foot in the door?”

We receive emails all of the time with questions that we feel many of our readings can relate to. So we post them here, along with our responses to keep you informed!

Email Question:

I have a BS in Biological Science but I don’t have much lab experience. Is there anything you could recommend to get my foot in the door to a possible job (I’ve always wanted to do genetics but I’m not sure I have taken all necessary courses)? I’m considering graduate school but I am not really sure if that’s something I want to do quite yet.

 

Our Response: 

Not having any lab experience is very easily fixable by either interning or volunteering. Interships are key and many labs while they may not have a paid internship programs available, they usually agree to having you come in a few times a week if your schedule permits to shadow. I would suggest getting your lab experience that way. You can try local laboratories in your field of interest, even labs at local colleges and universities. Graduate school is definitely a commitment that one should be completely certain about before applying and attending. You should figure out why you want a graduate degree, in what and where you ultimate want to be or would wan to do with that degree. If you decide that graduate school is a great choice for your career goal, then much of your lab experience could potentially be achieved that way. Any further questions, please email us at info@forensicnexus.com. Hope this helps!

Forensic Nexus Q/A Session with a Forensic Jeweler

MariaMaclennanForensic Nexus would like to introduce you to Ms. Maria Maclennan of Dundee, Scotland, UK who has a very unique speciality. She is a Forensic Jeweler.

Ms. Maclennan kindly agreed to being interviewed by Forensic Nexus to share her career path. We asked her the following questions:

 

What is your area of expertise/forensic discipline?

Despite originally having trained as a contemporary jewellery designer and metalsmith, I now consider myself to be a ‘Forensic’ Jeweler. I became involved in the field of forensics – specifically, in the field of Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) – through my Master’s research, and I am now reading for a PhD on the topic of ‘Forensic Jewelery Identification’. Primarily, I am interested in how jewelery can be used to help identify victims of international disasters such a 9/11, however I am also interested in jewelery’s use in other related law enforcement fields such as in homicides, missing person(s) cases and cold case investigations. I don’t come from a traditionally Forensic (or even scientific!) background in/approach to the area, but it certainly brings a unique approach to my area of expertise.

 

Where do you work as a forensic scientist?

I am currently a ESRC CASE PhD Researcher at the University of Dundee in Scotland, where I work from my office in the Visual Research Centre at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA). My research is the result of a collaboration between the world-renowned Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) and Duncan of Jordanstone Cllege of Art and Design (DJCAD). One of my supervisors includes Professor Sue Black OBE, a world-renowned expert in the fields of forensic anthropology and DVI.

 

What is your typical work day like?

I generally work full days (9-6 and usually beyond), Monday-Friday in the office, where I conduct research, collaborate with other researchers, and write articles. I also spend a lot of my time speaking and presenting at conferences, seminars and holding University lectures to undergraduate students. As my research is currently in it’s early stages, the majority of my time is spent planning new projects, tests, trials and collaborations for the future which will contribute towards my doctoral thesis.

 

What inspired you to pursue this career?

In comparison to the career I originally trained for (in Art and Design), the area in which I am currently working in came as relatively unexpected! Despite always having a interest in forensics and crime, I never for a second imagined that I would be able to contribute in an original and in native way to such a highly-researched field. When I begun my Master’s project (as part of an external brief on behalf of a project for INTERPOL), I absolutely fell in love with it, which inspired me to continue researching the possibilities of ‘Forensic’ jewellery. Now, I am actively involved in a highly innovative and emerging field of forensic art and design, and I am thoroughly grateful that I have been given the opportunity to apply my craft skills to the field of forensics in such an interdisciplinary way.

 

What is your academic background?

I possess a Bachelor of Design (with Honours) in Jewelery and Metal Design, from which I graduated with an ‘A1’ grade for my thesis. I also possess a Master of Design (with Distinction) for my ‘Forensic Jewelry’ Master’s research project. I am currently undertaking a PhD in Design through which I am further researching this field. Additionally, I am undertaking a professional postgraduate teaching qualification as I continue to build on my academic teaching/lecturing experience.

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the diversity of my work and also the uniqueness of the area in which I am currently researching. To my knowledge, no previous research has been conducted into how jewelery can be used as a method of identification, and it certainly has numerous diverse possibilities over and above what might be immediately obvious. I have a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with and learn from experts in the fields of forensics, forensic art, policing, family liaison, and DVI; but also in design, jewellery, craft, education and research. It really is a great opportunity to research a unique approach within the arsenal of forensic identification.

 

What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a career in your profession?

Theoretically, as a PhD researcher, I am technically a student myself! My advice therefore comes very recently as a graduate and is hopefully empathetic to current or prospective students in the field. Although the current job climate is increasingly extremely difficult, I have found myself (through hard work, passion, collaboration and perserverance) successfully pioneering the field of ‘Forensic’ jewellery. I think although qualifications are certainly a good thing; practical experience, passion and determination are key qualities that will help a new student/recent graduate succeed. Having a particularly fresh eye or approach to current processes and procedures certainly won’t go a miss, either!

Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading Ms. Maclennan’s story? Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to Ms. Maclennan and post her responses.

Forensic Nexus would like to thank Ms. Maclennan for her participation. She has also agreed to offer mentorship to individuals seeking career advisement.

Contact us at info@forensicnexus.com for more information about mentorship.

To contribute your story, please visit www.forensicnexus.com/forensic-scientist-questionnaire

Till next week!

Forensic Nexus Q/A Session with a Firearms Examiner

MattKurimsky

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 info@forensicnexus.com for more information about mentorship.

 

To contribute your story, please visit www.forensicnexus.com/forensic-scientist-questionnaire

 

Till next week!