Forensic Science graduate Helena Allegier recently accepted a position as Criminalist for the Ohio State Highway Patrol shortly after graduating in May 2017. We had the opportunity to speak with Helena about her background and experiences at Stevenson University Online.
Tell us about your new position.
I will start in the Drug Chemistry Lab and provide testing on evidence. Then I will move onto the Toxicology Lab where we provide testing on blood and urine. I will testify in court as needed, and provide accurate lab reports for all of the instrumental testing. I am excited for this new opportunity!
Were you always interested in forensics?
After earning my bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Cincinnati, I tried getting into pharmacy school or training as a physician’s assistant, but nothing seemed to stick or interest me. I continued to work as a pharmacy tech while I was searched for master’s programs that were outside of those fields but that focused on science. One night while looking online, I found Stevenson University Online’s forensic programs. From the moment I started the program, I fell in love with forensic science.
How did the faculty and staff help you reach your education or career goals?
The Stevenson faculty provided the students with numerous networking opportunities as well as websites and avenues to find jobs. Dr. Tobin would send and forwards job opportunities to us all the time. The entire faculty are really passionate about their career and forensic science. They do not provide an unrealistic view of what jobs are like, they tell you how it really is which is extremely helpful. When I graduated from Stevenson, I had a realistic view of what it is actually like in the field.
What do you find to be the most fulfilling aspect of the program?
At Stevenson, I earned a well-rounded education and feel really prepared to enter the industry. The labs and lectures worked in tandem with each other. The lectures taught the material and the labs enabled us to execute what we learned. And we were able to simulate it in a safe place.
In your opinion, what are the key characteristics of a successful forensic scientist? What advice would you give someone starting out in the field?
You need to be dedicated, motivated, and detailed oriented. Also, it helps to have an outgoing personality. And most importantly - plan, plan, plan! You want to be able to dedicate valuable time to your studies. Get a support group! Friends or family that are in your corner make all the difference.
What would you consider the most important thing you have learned?
To stay organized and use proper time management. Remember that no matter what is thrown at you, you can handle it and can accomplish your goals.
What are some hobbies and interests of yours?
I love doing art work and crafts. I mainly work with shadow boxes and painting but I have started using acrylic paint on canvas. And I enjoy making lamps out of wine bottles. I would love to travel all over the world, I want to see everything, especially places with exceptional mountains.
Who inspires you?
My dad – he taught me that if you put your mind to it, you can get it done. He has always supported me throughout my entire educational career. My dad helped me believe that I can do it.