Professionalism is a complicated issue, in that it is completely subjective. As scientists, we try to avoid ideas that are subjective in nature. However, professionalism is a necessary ingredient for success in any career, including forensic science.
At Cedar Crest, professionalism is taught as “how others perceive professionalism to be,” meaning that what may seem professional to one individual may not be seen as professional to another. Many subcategories make up professionalism, including: dress, body language, and speech. The variability in the perception of professionalism may be daunting, but essentially the bottom line is to represent yourself and those you are associated with in a positive light.
All aspects of professionalism need to be practiced. At Cedar Crest College, there are numerous opportunities to practice professionalism. Some of those opportunities include: attendance at professional conferences and symposiums, such as Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists or our annual Forensic Science Symposium held at Cedar Crest. The forensic science program in particular, emphasizes the need to be practiced in this area by requiring multiple student presentations throughout each semester. The program even requires students to take a class called Professional Communication, to help students develop the various skills associated with professionalism.
Professionalism is one of the most important aspects of career development. I am proud to have attended an institution that places such an emphasis on such a key ingredient to a successful career. I feel that my professional growth at Cedar Crest has prepared me well for any job I decide to pursue after leaving this program.