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My Main Source of Intrigue in Forensic Science as a Career

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I never really knew what I wanted to be when I was older; I knew that I was interested in the scientific, stemming from an original love of geology which steadily progressed to one of chemistry, physics and biology, as shown by my choice to continue Chemistry and Physics to A-Level. However, I could never come up with a profession that would be suited to me, so for the majority of my life, my future was in the dark. I did not want to be stuck in a mundane office job following the same routine day after day, but I wanted to utilise the passion for science that I had cultivated over the years through the consumption of scientific media, including YouTube channels such as ‘kurzgesagt- In a Nutshell’, ‘ThoiSoi’ and ‘It’s Okay To Be Smart’. It was within the past year or so that I began to seriously consider Forensic Science as a career path, and I have come to realise that it would be the ideal profession for me.

My main source of intrigue comes from the hands-on side of science; I enjoy carrying out my own practical work, which has evolved from store-bought chemistry and biology kits, and household substances to more advanced experiments involving a wider range of techniques and chemicals. For instance, I have carried out the extraction and refinement of gold from scrap circuit boards, inspired by the YouTube channel ‘Cody’s Lab’, along with the purification of sulphuric acid from a car battery by distillation, inspired by the YouTube channel ‘NurdRage’. However, I find equal enjoyment in biological study as well, such as using microscopes to analyse water samples for microbes, along with the dissection of pig eyes, lungs and hearts. This work has helped me develop more sophisticated lab techniques, which will aid me in conducting further practical work in my university career.

My love of practical work has played a deciding factor in my choice of Forensic Science as a career; not only does it incorporate the hands-on work that I enjoy, but it is also unpredictable and keeps my mind engaged in a way that I simply would not be able to encounter in a typical research career where I would solely work in a laboratory. Furthermore, the content of the subject itself fascinates me, such as the examination of DNA residue obtained from crime scenes to narrow down a pool of suspects. One case that stands out to me is the case of the Golden State Killer, where DNA from his crime scenes was cross-referenced with the online genealogy database GEDmatch to find relatives of his, which then lead to his eventual capture in April of this year. My sister has also played a role in my interest in criminal science, as she is currently studying Criminology at university. Through her, I’ve gained knowledge about the psychological aspect of crime alongside the more conventional scientific and analytical side, which has helped broaden my view and understanding of this sector.

In my free time, I enjoy making things from recycled/found materials, including a high-voltage wood burner from the transformer of a broken microwave, a medium-voltage taser using the circuit from a disposable camera, and a miniature foundry from an old beer keg which I use to melt down metals such as lead, zinc, aluminium and copper. I have also worked on projects involving smaller items such as necklaces and rings, which obviously require meticulous construction. As a result of these hobbies, I have developed patience and a keen eye for detail, which I believe are important skills to possess in my intended field of study.

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