Meet Kelly Knight-the forensic scientist of the month! Every month we will feature a female forensic scientist. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!..Send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am employed with the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division as a Forensic Scientist III. I work in the biology section. I was inspired to work in forensics after an anatomy and physiology lab I took in the 11th grade. It was a blood typing lab with a mock crime scene in which we were required to identify the victim and suspect’s blood types and compare it to the evidence from the crime scene. This was “PC” (“pre-CSI”) so this was the first time I had ever been exposed to forensic science. I was absolutely fascinated by it! After high school, I attended the George Washington University where I received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in chemistry with a concentration in forensic chemistry. Following graduation, I continued my education at Virginia Commonwealth University where I earned a Master’s of Science in Forensic Science with a concentration in forensic biology. Knowing that at the end of the day, I am making a contribution to our justice system is the best thing about my job. I also enjoy not having to spend every day behind a desk. Every new case brings a new challenge. What I specifically find interesting working in the biology section is the types of evidence that we receive. DNA can be found everywhere so we receive many different types of evidence for analysis including things like weapons, masks, bedding, clothing, and shoes. When I first started out in this field, learning how to be an effective expert witness for court was a challenge for me. The most challenging part about it was learning how to take complex scientific concepts and break them down so that the lay person can easily understand them. With more experience, it has become much easier. For students interested in becoming a forensic scientist I would encourage them to try to get involved in a forensic science camp or shadow a forensic scientist for a day to get more exposure to the field. If their school offers a forensic science class, take it. If they decide forensic science is something they are truly interested in and passionate about, pursuing a college degree in a science would be the next step (i.e. chemistry, biology, physics, forensic science, etc). And of course, don’t forget to be good! Most forensic laboratories require a background check and/or polygraph examination for employment .