Senior Enjoys Building Connections and Sharing Passion for Forensic Science with Charger Community
For Sean Allen ’23, ’24 M.S., his time as a Charger has been memorable and fun while offering a variety of exciting ways for him to gain hands-on experience in the lab and grow as a leader.
March 8, 2023
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
When Sean Allen ’23, ’24 M.S. looks back on his four years as a Charger, he remembers fun times with his friends, including a snowball fight with his fellow Westside Hall residents during the first snowfall of his first year at the University. He also has fond memories of conducting faculty-mentored research and of the many opportunities he’s had to share his excitement about the field of forensic science with his fellow Chargers.
Allen says he immediately felt like he belonged at the University. During the fall of his first year, he, his roommate, and one of their friends attended the Student Committee of Programming Events (SCOPE) Fall Fest on campus. The medieval-themed event was a fun way for students to come together as they made their own stuffed dragons, ate caramel apples, and faced off in a foam-tip archery arena. His own “battle” in the arena ended with his defeating a girl after she slipped in the mud – and she is now his girlfriend of three years.
As a junior, Allen was a member of the University’s orientation team, making sure new students felt a sense of belonging during Welcome Week. One hot summer day, he and his fellow orientation staff members found a way to cool down – and have a little fun.
“It was very hot, so, one day, we set up a waterslide on the Bixler-Gerber Quad,” Allen explains. “None of us cared that we were in our khaki shorts and orientation polos. We were going down that waterslide! It was worth every second of being damp. There were also some hilarious moments of all of us chasing our unlucky dry friends who were walking by.”
‘Opportunities to spark excitement and wonder’
As an orientation and transition leader during the summers before his sophomore and junior years, Allen has helped new Chargers create similarly happy memories. He says he was excited to give his new classmates a chance to experience the “warm and welcoming environment” he loves at the University. He has done just that in a variety of roles, including through his work as a Charger Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
While welcoming new and prospective Chargers, Allen has also shared with them another of his passions: the field of forensic science. He’s also shared his love of the field with his classmates as a member of the University’s Forensic Science Student Association. He and his roommate have taken up leadership positions with the club, helping to organize special events.
“This gave me some incredible opportunities to absolutely geek out about my field,” he said. “I've spent multiple hour-long sessions walking prospective forensic science students around our labs and seeing their interest and passion in what I've learned, and it has invigorated my desire to pursue higher education. My roommate and I have enjoyed the opportunities to spark excitement and wonder about the field we are both passionate about.”
‘I've made so many connections and friendships’
Allen has continued to share what he’s learned and his enthusiasm for what has captured his interest in his role as a Learning Assistant in a “Physical Chemistry” class. Known as “pchem,” the class is challenging, but one Allen also found “interesting and rewarding.” He enjoys working with Nathan Seifert, Ph.D., the course instructor, helping his peers grasp the challenging concepts of the course and appreciate the “cool chemistry topics” it covers.
As part of his own research, Allen has been exploring how nanoparticles affect the resolution of a spectrum on gunshot residue using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). Under the mentorship of Alyssa Marisco, Ph.D., Allen has gained hands-on experience with cutting-edge forensic science technology.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in forensic science this semester, Allen will continue his time as a Charger. As part of the University’s 4+1 dual degree program, he will begin his master’s degree in chemistry after he graduates. He also plans to pursue his doctorate.
“The University has given me ample opportunities to grow and develop as a person, leader, and a scientist,” said Allen. “My various leadership roles have helped my communication skills blossom into something ‘high school Sean’ would have never believed possible. The hands-on curriculum has enabled me to do firsthand what I want to do with my life. And I've made so many connections and friendships here that will be hugely useful in my life after graduation.”