How did your EKU degree contribute to and prepare you for your career?
My career in forensics, both in practice and management, requires a strong foundation in physical science and criminal justice. Eastern Kentucky’s program helped me gain that solid foundation in science as well as an overall understanding of how the criminal justice systems functions.
What is your most significant accomplishment (personal and/or career)?
While at the Pinellas County Forensics Lab, I helped establish the fire debris analysis unit as well as author the accompanying book on ignitable liquid residues. Also, I was one of the first scientists to work with canines and have since done a lot of work with detection dogs. There is a certification process for detection dogs and I did some of the original work with Florida International University to establish that certification program. We certified all the dogs working for the Florida Highway Patrol, both in drug and explosive detection.
What is your most significant learning experience or what dramatic event has had the most effect on you?
September 11 was significant because of the implications for and importance placed on forensic intelligence in the post-9/11 landscape. How forensics can be used for things outside what people expect has been a learning experience. Forensic science has become more than just going to court and testifying; it’s used in many other ways across numerous industries now. It can prevent crime, solve serial crimes, help prevent disasters and so much more.
Who influenced you the most while at EKU?
Dr. Robert Fraas had a profound influence on me. Dr. Fraas was firm but fair and kept science as the central focus; the most important thing. He was not easy, but he kept me on the right track.
What is your fondest memory of EKU?
My fondest memory is without a doubt the first night football game that Eastern Kentucky ever played. We had a great football program when I was there.
What is the best advice you've been given?
Do something you love and if it stops being fun, do something else. Life should be enjoyable. If a job becomes too much like work, find another job.
What would be your advice to incoming or students thinking about coming to EKU?
Have a balance between school and fun. Know that after your four years, you will either go on to graduate school or become employed. Study hard, but make sure you enjoy it while you are there.