An internship sparks a career

Aug 4, 2014

Carly PickardCarly Pickard was always interested in the sciences. So much so, that her neighbor offered to take her on a tour of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime lab.

The junior chemistry major was so impressed that she applied for a summer internship. The BCI does not usually take on interns, but after applying and following up, Carly was offered a part-time internship at the BCI’s main branch for this summer.

The BCI is the state’s official crime lab that provides expert criminal investigative services to local enforcement agencies. They employ agents who investigate crime scenes, scientists and forensic specialists who process evidence, and intelligence analysts who help law enforcement solve cases.
Carly’s work is centered on the forensic chemistry side. She works in the lab learning how they process and examine different types of evidence including documents, handwriting, and trace (shoe prints, hairs, and fibers).

“I love it,” Carly said. “This is what I want to do.”

Carly has been able to learn from professionals who are working on real cases. One big project the lab is working on is research into secondary transfer of DNA and DNA contamination. BCI staff are frequently called to court to testify as experts on their findings and this research will help all criminal investigations. 

Carly credits her professors and Heidelberg classes as helping her feel prepared to handle the task of the internship. “The one-on-one with my professors is so helpful,” she said. “They want to make sure you succeed.”

She uses math and conversions in the lab that she learned in her Heidelberg classes. “I use things I learned in genetics and biology every day here,” she said.

This internship has instilled in Carly a confidence in her future, and what she is doing to prepare for it.

“Heidelberg is going to prepare me for what I want to do,” she said.