Category: Capstone Reflections

Practicum with Edmond Police Department

This practicum with the Edmond Police Department proved to be beneficial and worthwhile to my forensic science studies. Each department was explored, and many different responsibilities
were given throughout the 120 hours. I learned how a police department functions and all of the
communication and teamwork it requires. In addition, I was able to observe and practice the
disciplines I studied at the University of Central Oklahoma, such as fingerprinting, crime scene
photography, AFIX, criminal procedure, and crime scene protocol. Records gave me the
responsibility of fingerprinting people and entering IO-print cards into AFIX. The Technical
Investigators allowed me to participate in their search warrants. I observed traffic stops,
arrests, and patrol shifts with the police officers. Property permitted me the responsibility of
inventorying evidence items. Lastly, the Municipal Court, Animal Control, Dispatch, and the Dive
team showed me their daily responsibilities. This internship exceeded my expectations in a
multitude of ways and provided me a great deal of insight into the daily life of the Edmond Police
Department.

Internship at DNA Solutions

Internship at the DNA Solutions as a forensic science practicum was highly valuable experience for
me. It helped me grow as a person as well as a scientist by shadowing full-time lab workers and
being art of the kit validation study and sample preparation for forensic science mock casework
evidence samples and doing DNA work beside another DNA analyst for the reproducibility as part of
the study. It also exposed me to new things such as statistical calculations used in the DNA
analysis work in the real world and how it is used and also the use of automated DNA purification
via Maxwell 16 instrument. In addition, it had made me realize that the DNA work in the real world
is possible to have more than one method to extract, purify and analyze depending on the kits used
and the type of DNA analysis the client had asked for amongst other things that I have observed and experienced at DNA Solutions internship.

Practicum Experience in the OSBI Forensic Chemistry Unit

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) was created to help law enforcement
throughout the state investigate crimes. One of the ways the OSBI does this is providing
laboratory services to all law enforcement agencies in the state. The OSBI lab has six divisions:
Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Chemistry, Trace Evidence, Firearms and Toolmarks, Forensic
Biology, Latent Prints, and Digital Evidence. This summer I worked in the Forensic Chemistry
Unit under Penny Cooper. This experience allowed me to see what it was like to work in the
Forensic Chemistry Unit as well as determine if I would be interested in other units. It was very
interesting to experience the things that I had learned about in class, which allowed me a better
understand of quality assurance and quality control measures, and the use of presumptive testing
and how it can guide the analysis. Overall it was a very eye-opening experience that made me
consider all my options after graduation and start to figure out what I would like to do for the rest
of my career.

OSBI Latent Evidence Unit Practicum

For the final semester of the Forensic Science degree program, students are required to complete
an internship class or an off-site practicum. I was fortunate to get chosen for a spot at the
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s Forensic Science Center laboratory in Edmond,
Oklahoma. Almost every day, I was able to observe and learn from various experts in forensic
science. I learned about all the criminalistic units at the laboratory and the foundations of their
field, especially so for the Latent Evidence Unit, the unit I was selected to join. Through
observing casework and practicing various latent fingerprint processing techniques during
experimental studies, I was able to expand my knowledge of the field of forensic science and the
discipline of latent and patent friction ridge skin analysis. The practice was hands-on through the
experience of validation studies comparing new products such as Lumicyano and Hungarian
Red, both of which are advertised are better and more efficient processing techniques. This
experience has widened my scope and understanding of forensic science and the way it is applied
beyond the classroom.

About Capstone Reflections

The purpose of the Capstone reflection is to identify the  “SO WHAT?” So what did you learn during the Capstone? Whom does it affect? How might it be useful? How did your experience connect to your academic work? How did you grow intellectually and/or personally? Since the Capstone was a highly individual experience, the students reflections will also be unique; addressing those specific expectations, problems, skills learned and transformational experiences.