Breaking Out Of Comfort Zones- Ericka James

Thanks to the generosity of the Bergami Family and the UNH Division of Student Affairs, eight UNH undergraduate students received a stipend to cover expenses related to their unpaid internship experience.  The eight recipients will be reflecting on their internship experience over the course of the summer. This entry is from Ericka James, Forensic Science Major, who is interning with the Mount Vernon Police Department.

Internships are the perfect way to determine if classroom teachings align with the expectations of ones desired field of work. The two main classroom skills that are consistently utilized during my internship at the Mount Vernon Police Department include the proper handling of evidence as well as explaining forensic findings in lay terms. Collecting and packaging evidence at an active crime scene can be challenging; primarily because there are an array of people such as police officers, detectives, paramedics, and other third parties, that not only contaminate the crime scene, but make focusing on the task at hand quite challenging. However, the thorough and repetitive nature of the classroom training I received at the University of New Haven allowed me to achieve what was expected of me in an efficient manner. In addition, once the forensic examination of the evidence is complete, a formal report explaining the utilized techniques and concluded results must be generated in a way that all participants involved in solving a case can understand.

Moreover, this internship has allowed me to embark on many new and exciting experiences. Not only was I able to explore areas of my town that I had never seen before, but also I was afforded the opportunity to shadow various forensic scientists at the Westchester crime lab. This allowed me to achieve my goal of witnessing how various aspects of the criminal justice system intertwine. I was able to partake in the initial collection of the evidence until the final results of the examination were deduced. Therefore, this internship has taken me out of my comfort zone and made me consider career opportunities I had once overlooked.

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