Vanessa Gauger '12
Forensic Scientist I, Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab, Toxicology Section
After completing my undergraduate work in chemistry at Cedar Crest,it was an easy decision to stay there for the MSFS program. The training and education at Cedar Crest is across the entire spectrum of forensic disciplines providing an opportunity to be sure which discipline I wanted to specialize in. I discovered I have a passion for toxicology and I was able to perform my graduate research in that field and present my findings at an annual meeting of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS). The opportunity to conduct research that is relevant in today’s laboratories and to present your results to other forensic science professionals is invaluable when applying and interviewing for the increasingly competitive positions in forensic laboratories.
The professors at Cedar Crest are incredibly supportive and committed to your success as a student and forensic scientist. They are available to give advice and guidance throughout your graduate career and beyond. I still seek counsel from my professors in my professional life when I need an extra boost of confidence or preparation for an interview or presentation. They have connections to colleagues in the forensic science field all over the country, and may use these contacts for deserving students.
My education at Cedar Crest more than prepared me for my forensic science career. During my MSFS program, I was provided with numerous opportunities to operate and troubleshoot instrumentation and methods that I now use in my current position. Being familiar with instrumentation and the associated software helped me stand out from other candidates and get a position in a toxicology laboratory immediately out of graduate school. Taking classes in all areas of forensic science enables me to keep a “big picture” perspective of the entire crime laboratory so I have an understanding of how all the different sections operate. I was also qualified for more positions, which gave me more career options when seeking employment after school; not only could I work in toxicology, but I could also work in trace evidence, drug identification, DNA, etc. With a master’s degree from Cedar Crest, you can literally do anything in the field of forensic science.
Attending Cedar Crest for graduate school was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I am certain I would not be where I am today without the education and experience I was given. The opportunities and support offered in the MSFS program at Cedar Crest are unparalleled in other schools. There is no better program to prepare you not only for a career in forensic science, but also to be a leader in this field.