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Chemistry Major Earns Prestigious Summer Forensics Internship
Cristina Spicher, a junior chemistry major with a forensic science minor, has always known she wanted to work in forensics. She says her favorite television show in high school was NCIS, and she remembers telling her parents she wanted to be Abby, the main character on the show. The show NCIS, a police drama, revolves around a team of special agents in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts criminal investigations involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
During high school, the Virginia Beach native was nominated as a scholar for the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and Crime Scene Investigations in Washington, D.C. During the forum, she attended seminars, worked on an actual case file, and presented a Supreme Court case by gathering evidence from a crime scene to presenting her findings in "court."
"I believe that after that summer, there was absolutely no doubt what my future would be," says Spicher. She continued pursuing her interest in forensics at Radford by taking Forensic Research 201 and Advanced Forensic Research 401 with forensic anthropology professor and co-director of RU's Forensic Science Institute Donna Boyd. "Last semester I conducted my own research determining the longevity of latent fingerprints between children, teens and adults. I have also looked into research concerning the age of a bloodstain," says Spicher.
With her faculty mentor Donna Boyd's encouragement, she researched internships at the government agency and found the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Honors Internship Program on its website. "NCIS has been my goal and ambition for many years, and as a top agency in the country, would be an exceptional place to work," says Spicher.
She completed the application and interview process and was awarded one of the agency's prestigious internships for this summer at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Field Office in Norfolk, Va. "Being a part of their team will not only be an honor, but an unbelievable opportunity as well. I will assist with command briefs, accompany the NCIS field office personnel during ship port visits, assist in various administrative and professional areas, and basically go wherever they go," says Spicher.
Spicher's goal is to become a successful forensic chemist for a government agency, and with the help of NCIS, will obtain valuable hands-on experience. She says, "of course, I hope they are so thrilled with my work ethic and abilities that they want to keep me!"