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Congratulations and a warm farewell to the Spring 2018 graduating Class of Undergraduate Students

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Congratulations to the Undergraduates who graduated in the Spring of 2018!  Good luck in all of your future endeavors!  

Remember, Once a Penn Stater always a Penn Stater!

Congratulations and a warm farewell to the Spring 2018 graduating Class of Graduate Students

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To see more photos of our graduates go to our 

Spring 2018 graduation album. 

This Spring the Forensic Science Program graduated 10 of its graduate students.  The BMB Department and Forensic Science Program would like to congratulate and give a warm farewell to the following students: Rachel Bonds, Casey Brown, Marcel Burton, Meaghan Dougher, Katherine Ferrari, Xia Shan Law, Jason Sanderson, Ryan Schonert, Swathi Murali and Kendra Prutton.  We wish you the best and know that you will represent Penn State well in all of your future endeavors.  We Are ... 


Shayna Gray presents at the Gordon Research Seminar

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Shayna Gray, a graduate student in the Forensic Science Program, recently presented at the Gordon Research Seminar.  Gray presented a poster, entitled “Determination of Human Identity Using Mosquito Blood Meals".

Gray works in the Roy Lab, under the direction of co-advisors Drs. Reena Roy and Scott Lindner.  She is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and is currently heading into her second year of graduate school.

Teresa Tiedge presents at the Gordon Research Seminar

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Teresa Tiedge, a graduate student in the Forensic Science Program, recently presented at the Gordon Research Seminar.  Tiedge presented a poster on Forensic Analysis of Human DNA, entitled “Sequencing DNA from Undeveloped and CTF-Developed Partial Bloody Fingerprints".

Tiedge works in the Roy Lab, under the direction of Dr. Reena Roy.  She is a graduate of West Virginia University and is currently heading into her second year of graduate school.

Swathi Murali attends Emirates International Forensics Conference

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Swathi Murali, a Graduate Student in the Forensic Science Program at Penn State University, attended the Emirates International Forensics Conference and presented her research on ‘Comparison of Drip and Contact Transfer Bloodstains on Fabrics’.

Penn State Forensic Science Alumni, Emily Parchuke, receives 2018 FSF Emerging Forensic Scientist Award

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Emily Parchuke, a Penn State Forensic Science Alumni, was named one of two recipients of the 2018 Forensic Science Foundation Emerging Forensic Scientist Award.  The 19th Annual Forensic Sciences Foundation (FSF) Emerging Forensic Scientist Award paper competition was hosted in Seattle, WA.  Parchuke, was selected for her presentation, “An Analysis of Ethanol in Blood and Oral Fluid Samples From Dosed Individuals by Headspace Gas Chromatography.”  In addition to the award, Emily will also receive expense reimbursement to attend the 71st Forensic Science Foundation Annual Scientific Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

Parchuke attended Penn State from 2012 - 2016 and studied as an undergraduate researcher in the Roy Lab from September 2015 - May 2016.  Upon graduation she continued her education by attending Cedar Crest College for her graduate studies.  Parchuke is currently serves as a Graduate Assistant and Adjunct Instructor at Cedar Crest College.  In her duties there she is a Teaching assistant for undergraduate and graduate level coursework. She also performs quality control procedures on analytical instrumentation and assists faculty in the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences with tasks such as developing quality control protocols, preparation for undergraduate laboratory courses.  In her Independent Instructor capacity she teaches  Biology 124: Principles of Cell & Molecular Biology Lab (SP 2018), Chemistry 111: Chemical Principles Lab (FA 2017), and Chemistry 112: Chemical Equilibrium & Analysis Lab (SUM II 2017).

The Forensic Science Program at Penn State would like to congratulate Emily, a Penn State Alumni, on her prestigious award and wish her the best in her future endeavors.  The future is bright for this emerging scientist!  Emily, way to continue Penn State's tradition of excellence and WE ARE . . .

View the official announcement by the Forensic Science Foundation here.

Collaboration and Technology being used to enhance student learning experiences

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The Eberly College of Science Office of Digital Learning and Forensic Faculty are teaming up to create a Virtual Crime Scene Prototype.  This technology will allow students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a crime scene and inspect evidence from the comfort of their own home.  The Virtual Crime Scene is just one way in which the Forensic Science Program is working to innovate the way students learn at Penn State.

Learn more about the Virtual Crime Scene Prototype here.

Penn State Forensic Science & Criminology Symposium

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Saturday, April 14th, 2018:
9 am – 4 pm

Interested in working in the fields of Forensic Science or Criminology? Unsure of what to major in, and want to learn more about the Criminology and Forensic Science B.A. and B.S. options? Come attend the 2018 Penn State Forensic Science and Criminology symposium! We will have speakers discussing the programs here at Penn State, as well as speakers with occupations in each field! 

Featuring the following speakers:

  • Hope Exists After Rape Trauma (H.E.A.R.T.)
  • Dr. Derek Kreager (Director of Penn State’s Justice Center for Research)
  • Dr. Reena Roy (Penn State Forensic Science Program)
  • Dr. Tim Robicheaux (Penn State Criminology Department)
  • Dr. Thomas Andrews (Forensic Pathologist)
  • Frank Marsh (FBI Communications Expert)


For a Registration Form:

Registration forms due no later than March 30th.



Forensic Science Student excels in her education and receives award at the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists.

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Jessica Hovingh-2018-NEAFS Award Article

Jessica Hovingh, a State College native, was not always drawn to science like so many others.  In high school she gravitated toward and enjoyed the arts more than science.  It wasn’t until tenth grade when she took a Crime Scene Investigation course at State College High School that her love for Forensic Science began.  Only a quarter of the Forensic Science textbook was required reading, but that didn’t stop Hovingh from reading the book from cover to cover. Wanting to know more, she searched for additional opportunities to learn about forensic science, joining a program run through the local police station, a program that eventually connected her to Forensic Science at Penn State. Fast forward a few years, Hovingh found her love for forensic science growing with each college course she took.  “I find it fascinating how science can explain what may have taken place at a crime scene”, said Hovingh. “I also love the creative thinking process that’s required in forensic science when collecting and analyzing evidence.  What items am I going to collect as evidence?  What sort of tests can I perform on those items?  What do those test results indicate?”
Jessica Hovingh-2018-NEAFS Award Article # 3

Again wanting to learn more, Hovingh joined the Ristenbatt Lab in October of 2016 and excelled under the direction of Ralph Ristenbatt III.  Since January of 2016, she has worked as a Course Assistant for Ristenbatt’s Laboratory and Crime Scene Investigation class. “She is exceptionally motivated and exhibits a passion for criminalistics that is second-to-none,” said Ristenbatt. “I have little doubt that she will further her education as her thirst for knowledge appears to be unquenchable. She has, since I have known her, displayed the hallmarks of a budding scientist; insatiable desire to learn, persistent curiosity, and a healthy dose of skepticism.”

As Hovingh’s research experience grew, so did her eagerness to present her findings at scientific conferences, as communicating results within the science community is an important aspect of conducting credible research.  Hovingh attended the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS) Conference in 2016, but not as a presenter. She built upon the masters thesis of former MPS student Rachel Downey and with the assistance of Ristenbatt developed an abstract. This abstract was submitted it to the NEAFS Conference Chairs, after which it was later approved. Hovingh was on her way to present her findings at a major scientific conference.

At the Conference, not only did Hovingh present her findings, but she was awarded the Dr. Peter De Forest Student Research Presentation Best Oral Presentation – Undergraduate Award.  Hovingh continued the project that uses impact testing to examine the factors that affect the formation of three-dimensional textile impressions in vehicular surfaces. In pedestrian-automotive collisions, especially when the collisions are hit-and-runs, it's very important to establish connections between the vehicle and the victim to prove that the vehicle struck the person. There are many types of evidence that are currently being utilized in crime labs, paint or glass chips transferred to the victim, fibers from the victim's clothing transferred to the vehicle, and so on. Prior to Downey and Hovingh's work, however, three-dimensional fabric impressions had not been studied until now.

Jessica Hovingh-2018-NEAFS Award Article # 2Currently, Hovingh continues to advance Downey's work involving  pendulum and falling weight impact devices to examine how changing the force affects the textile impression appearance. The two devices work on the same principle: a denim-covered weight impacts a cut piece of car. The force with which the weight strikes the car piece is changed by altering the drop height. Then, the impressions are studied under a stereoscope. The current research of Downey and Hovingh has only investigated varied impact force. In the future, Hovingh hopes to test how different fabrics and automotive finishes interact, and if the impressions that are formed can be distinguished from one another.

Hovingh credits several opportunities at Penn State for her undergraduate student achievements. “One of the most influential opportunities I've had is working as a Course Assistant for two forensic science classes. I attend lab classes, demonstrate scientific techniques to students, and grade reports and exams.” Through those experiences, Hovingh has expanded her academic network by getting to know professors better and interacting with other students and coworkers. By teaching forensic techniques and helping students understand class concepts, she has become more comfortable both with presenting scientific material, and, when needed, asking for help from someone more knowledgeable in the field. Mr. Ristenbatt and Dr. Roy, Hovingh’s mentors, have supported her research and academic career in more ways than she can name.

Hovingh plans to graduate in December of 2018.  Over the summer, she will be continuing her work with a forensics graduate student on the vehicle impact study.  She will also be co-directing and instructing a Crime Scene Investigation camp for middle schoolers through the Science Outreach Office.  “I'm very excited for that. Not only do I enjoy the responsibility of writing and delivering a curriculum, I love the excitement many of the kids have for science”, said Hovingh.  Eventually she hopes to work in crime scene investigation, but recently she has realized how much she loves learning in a classroom setting, so she hopes to go to graduate school to further her education as a criminalist.