There are no words that can adequately describe the feeling when you step foot into a new location and feel confident that you have found where you belong. Many go through their lives and never feel this way; I am fortunate enough to have experienced this phenomenon not only once, but twice in my life. The first time was upon visiting the campus of Cedar Crest College. It is not just that the students, faculty and staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming, although that is undeniably true! It is the knowledge that everyone is dedicated to a collective goal – molding students into the type of individuals that can be successful and make a difference in their respective fields.
As an undergraduate student at Cedar Crest College, I was given opportunities to conduct and present independent research, learn and practice utilizing advanced laboratory techniques and instrumentation, as well as hone skills that can’t be purely taught in a classroom such as time management, critical thinking, and public speaking. When the time came to select a program for my graduate studies, there could be no better option for me than Cedar Crest. I knew that any other program I considered would not be able to measure up.
The graduate program at Cedar Crest College truly challenged me in the most fulfilling and rewarding ways possible. My completed master’s thesis and the published article it led to are currently my proudest accomplishments and would not have been possible without the opportunities, resources, and encouragement available at Cedar Crest. From the stimulating courses to the extensive laboratory experience the program is well-rounded and prepares students for the real world of forensic science. Most importantly, students emerge from the program prepared for any and all fields in forensics. Upon graduation I could apply to every opportunity that came my way: DNA, controlled substances, fingerprints, firearms, trace evidence, you name it. The program ensures that its graduates can be successful in whatever endeavor they decide to pursue.
It is thanks to the knowledge, skills, and experience I received during both my undergraduate and graduate careers at Cedar Crest College that I came to experience that aforementioned sense of belonging a second time – when I began my career at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Upon entering the controlled substances lab, I encountered instruments I had previously used, techniques I had practiced, and other scientists with the same drive and thirst for knowledge that I had become accustomed to at Cedar Crest. I know I am where I belong, and I can say with confidence that I would not be where I am today without Cedar Crest College. I am tremendously grateful and would highly recommend the Cedar Crest Forensics program to any aspiring scientists.