Stevenson University Online’s Forensic Studies student Carley Keer was recently awarded the 2017 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) scholarship. ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. The partnership between the Maryland Chapter of ACFE and Stevenson University has evolved over the years and continues to pursue avenues to progress education in forensics. During ACFE Maryland Chapter’s meeting earlier this month, President Alan Small presented Carley with the scholarship. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Carley about her experiences in the Forensic Studies master’s program at Stevenson University Online.

Educational and professional background.

I attended University of Vermont for my freshman year and then transferred to Radford University in Virginia, where I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Forensic Studies. Shortly after graduation, I took a position as a receptionist with a law firm and still work with them. Currently, I am on track to graduate from the Forensic Studies program in May, and am looking forward to having my master’s degree from Stevenson. After graduating with my master’s, I plan to attend law school. Right now I am going through the application process, and am hoping for good news to come soon.

Were you always interested in forensics and law?

I have always been personally interesting in law and legal studies, but I did not commit to the field as my own career path until my junior year of college. I picked up the minor in Forensic Studies at Radford and I knew immediately after taking my first few courses that it was the field I wanted to pursue.

What are the key characteristics of a successful professional in the forensics or legal field?

I am a very strong believer that working hard is the most important thing that someone can do in all aspects of their life. From a young age, my parents raised my sisters and I to always remember that, and I can say that our hard work has paid off for each of us on countless occasions. In the legal field, I have learned from my professors and from the attorneys in our firm that attention to detail is very important as well; there is no room for error and every part of documentation down to punctuation has to be exactly right.

What do you consider the most important thing you have learned?

Take failures as lessons. It is important to stay positive and know that everyone makes mistakes and that sometimes things will not work out as you wanted to, but it is also important to take those moments as an opportunity to improve yourself.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in your field?

I would definitely tell people to read. Read your textbooks and news articles. Keeping up with current events and being aware of landmark cases are very helpful references. If someone is planning on joining the Forensic Studies program I would also recommend being aware of the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. I have the pocket version book of the Federal Rules of Evidence and it was very helpful to have on hand while working on papers and assignments.

What does receiving the ACFE scholarship mean to you?

This scholarship means so much to me beyond the reward itself. The ACFE is such an inspirational association for students such as myself and for young professionals joining the field. There is so much to learn from the members of the ACFE, which was represented by all we were able to learn from the speeches given at the ceremony. I am very honored to have been chosen from a pool of such intelligent students that I have worked alongside for the last two years and will be thankful for years to come.

Who inspires you?

I have been inspired by a lot of the professors that I have had throughout undergraduate college and throughout Stevenson University Online’s master’s program. Being taught by judges, attorneys, a lieutenant of the Radford police force, a well-respected forensic anthropologist, and many other successful professionals in the fields of criminal justice and forensics have only pushed me to continue my journey acquiring knowledge of the profession. Throughout my entire life I have also been inspired by my parents. Growing up, both of my parents demonstrated the value of hard work to me and my sisters and were sure to raise us with a strong work ethic and moral values. Today, my older sister is aspiring to attend medical school, I am working towards law school, and my sister is graduating in May with a materials-joining engineering degree and joining an engineering firm on the west coast. My parents deserve a lot of the credit for where each of us are today, and I will forever be thankful to have them.

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