My experience was undergraduate research, which I performed at Penn State under Ralph R. Ristenbatt III M.S. The research I conducted was to determine the error in using a specific geometric model to determine the angle of impact for blood stains. This research consisted of dripping blood onto various surfaces at differing heights and angles as well as a statistical analysis of the data.
This experience is important to me, because the research will help the forensic community to better understand methods in use at crime scenes, as well as be a stepping stone for future research. I believe that by doing this research and having a poster at the International Association of Forensic Science conference, that I am spreading awareness throughout the field. This awareness could save analysts time, which can be spent on other important aspects of evidence and crime scene processing.
My forensic science classes prepared me well for this research, as we use this model in our crime scene investigation class. Other classes helped me in determining which literature is relevant to my research and organization of lab books and binders. I needed a good understanding of physics and photography as well, since this project required many photos to be taken in mid-air or at a 1:1 ratio.
I learned a lot about the importance of calibration and proper documentation. This will be important in the future because it has now become a routine practice to describe in detail what was done and used. Whether I move on to make a career or progress to graduate school, these skills will be valuable assets, which take some years to understand the importance. I also think that having an understanding of blood spatter will be good when applying to jobs since my education emphasizes forensic DNA analysis more than other practices.