One definition of professionalism stands as the combination of all the qualities that relate to trained and skilled people. The Graduate Forensic Science Program at Cedar Crest College successfully trains students to have the skills and traits necessary for being envisioned as a suitable professional in the field. While students may come in with different skills sets, most that leave the program are well prepared to be viewed as professionals by employers, peers, and the scientific community.
As forensic scientists, a key aspect of professionalism lies in maintaining integrity and proper scientific etiquette. Integrity is consistently impressed on students through the college’s honor code, professional ethics courses, evaluation of laboratory notes and results, and personal examples from professors themselves. Etiquette is also taught through numerous avenues. Lab safety is taught early in each academic school year and enforced by professors and laboratory assistants. Proper attire, such as business casual wear, is taught in the first semester of the program and expected for conference settings, meetings, and most appearances on or off campus. As representation of the college and the program, students are expected to be perceived as well-trained, accomplished, and prepared, all key traits of professionalism.
A highlight of the program remains the ample number of opportunities provided to students to develop their skill sets and reach a level of expertise expected of graduate students. Consistent hands-on exposure to laboratory instrumentation, crime scene-based casework, and exposure to court room settings are unique aspects of the program that allow students to be immersed in real world applications of forensic science. Presentation skills are a valued quality in forensic science as well as the scientific community, and therefore most classes in the graduate curriculum implement presentations of literature, laboratory work, research, and other topics. Students leave the program with the ability to stand in front of many and feel validated in their scientific abilities and knowledge. Writing skills are also an important aspect of professionalism, as resumes and cover letters are the first professional perception employers have of a student. Writing is enhanced in the through laboratory reports, resume and cover letter training, as well as thesis prospectus and seminar courses that detail research proposals, thesis, and publication formats. However, none of the presentations and writing projects would be helpful without the supportive and constructive feedback from all the professors that strive to improve students’ skills, training, and professionalism every day.
The Cedar Crest College Master of Science in Forensic Science Program allows students to stand out in professional environments because of the amount of care, effort, and time that goes into each student alone. Graduate students receive individual experiences with all the faculty, and every faculty member strives to help and profess their knowledge in as many ways possible. The dedication to the stature of the program and each student’s individual experience leads to graduates with trained skillsets in several forensic fields, presentable appearances and mindsets, and a confidence necessary to be successful in a community that prides on professionalism.