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Student Spotlight: Paula Kurtz '17 M.S.

Forensic Technology

Paula Kurtz 
I was impressed with the concept of experiential learning that the University of New Haven embraces and I decided that this program would be a great fit!
Why did you choose to pursue your graduate degree at the University of New Haven?

The Forensic Technology program marks a significant career change for me after many years in Public Relations. In exploring the various paths that I might have chosen to take next, I stumbled upon a book by Dr. Henry Lee about his adventures in crime scene investigation. That led me to a Graduate Open House here at the University of New Haven, where I toured the campus, met several of the program’s engaging faculty and learned more about the new forensic technology program and graduate application process. I was impressed with the concept of experiential learning that the University of New Haven embraces and I decided that this program would be a great fit!

Describe the best class and/or professor you have experienced at the University of New Haven.

I’m not sure I can single out one class or professor as “the best” as I find the entire program so interesting! Each professor has a wealth of real-world experience and they are all very happy to share their stories with students. The material that we cover ranges from the legal and procedural issues involved in processing crime scenes, to in-depth courses on firearms, blood-spatter and autopsies. In many classes we do hands-on lab experiments – those are probably my favorite! – such as lifting fingerprints, processing a “mock” crime scene, and reconstructing a shooting or other type of homicide. This summer I am looking forward to an internship experience that will give me some real insight into the “field work” of a CSI.

What have you learned or experienced in your program that would be interesting for those entering the program?

I think, like anything in life, the program is all about your attitude and what you want to get out of it. There’s such a wealth of knowledge, experiences and opportunities to be found here at the University of New Haven…whether engaging with your professors, your fellow students or other university staff. The forensic technology program is new, so it is small but growing. That means limited class sizes and plenty of time to get to know your professors and peers as you see them several times a week in class. In addition to coursework, the university has a fantastic career center to help with resumes and job searching, and every semester there is a career fair held right on campus and attended by many major employers across the spectrum of programs. I attended two career fairs and I’m convinced it helped me to land the internship that I wanted.

How is your degree at the University of New Haven going to help you reach your goals?

The University of New Haven has such an amazing reputation in the field of forensic science that I feel like I have an advantage when it comes to things like the internship or job searching. By including the requirement for an internship, the program really does let you capitalize on getting some field work under your belt, which will absolutely enhance the resume when it’s time to find permanent work after graduation. And did I mention the career center? They are so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and will be an immense help with the transition after graduation.

Describe an especially positive experience you have had outside of the classroom, perhaps with a student organization, during the admission process, or with an office such as Graduate Student Services.

I really can’t say enough about the non-teaching staff at the University of New Haven. Every office from the bursar and financial aid, to admissions and the career center have helped me in some way through my first two semesters. I visited the career center shortly after arriving for help with finding a part-time job as well as putting together a strong resume. With their help, I landed the first part-time job that I applied for as well as competitive internship opportunity. The University of New Haven has so many dedicated professionals and a wealth of resources for students …make the most of them!