Senior chemistry major Meghan Teunis was able to experience much more than just textbooks and labs last summer. She took her classroom knowledge to Michigan, where she worked with the Michigan State Police Department in an internship with its forensics team. Meghan has always had an interest in the sciences, but it took her a little while to find her niche.Once she’d figured out that her primary interests were in crime and lab work, she decided to apply for the internship to see what she could learn about forensic sciences in the job market.
Getting familiar with forensics
“I was able to learn what each department did and how they handled evidence, such as film development of fingerprints from crime scenes and prepping items for DNA testing,” Meghan says. Although each department had something new for her, she says, “My favorite was the drug and biology unit, the department that tests drugs—making sure that what criminals claim they have possession of is really that item—because it dealt the most with chemistry.”
During the summer Meghan worked with a total of five departments, including the fingerprint, ballistics, drug, trace, and biology units. If that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also was traveling the entire state to each of Michigan’s seven labs as needed for different police cases—and new experiences.
“I was able to help with gun testing, view an autopsy, and even watch a mock trial, which is part of the hiring process for future forensics team members.”
The internship was an extremely beneficial experience in developing Meghan’s goals in the forensics field.
“UIndy prepared me well for the work I did during the internship, and now the internship has given me a more realistic view of the forensics world.”
The real deal
“I got to see real crime scenes and labs in a professional setting,” Megan adds. “I was even taught new techniques from the forensic team members while working in the labs.”
Meghan’s goal is to join a forensics team full-time, but for now her sights are set on graduate school in either forensic science or chemistry to develop her skill set even more. Before that, though, Meghan is focused on making the most of her remaining time at UIndy.
“I love being a part of the chemistry department here! It’s a place you can usually find me even when I don’t have class. The professors are so friendly and enjoy talking to students,” she says, “which establishes such a supportive atmosphere.”
—Candi Witzigreuter ’12