Inside the Crime Lab: Getting a Foot in the Door

Headshot of Rebecca Millard

Rebecca Millard, RWU Class of 2018

Major:  Forensic Science

Last summer, Rebecca Millard found herself immersed in the glamorized side of forensic science – the work of a crime-lab technician analyzing blood, saliva samples and weapons from crime scene investigations that’s made popular by television shows. But she hadn’t joined the cast of CSI just yet. The forensic science major landed herself an internship with the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory through the deep connections of our faculty experts at the School of Justice Studies.

Because RWU’s forensic science program boasts a small student-to-faculty ratio, Millard was able to build a strong relationship with Adjunct Professor of Justice Studies Jessica Robidoux, a leading criminologist whose network extends throughout the region.

“The summer gave me a very nice taste and I liked how it felt to be in that kind of lab,” Millard said. “Forensics is a broad term, but I see myself in a criminalistics department because I was able to see it in a lab first-hand and really enjoyed the work I was doing.”

She says the comprehensive academic foundation she received in her curriculum also gave her an advantage in getting into graduate school. In addition to learning criminal justice and biology from full-time faculty experts, she also studied forensic science with working professionals in the field.

With many of the courses taught by practicing faculty, Millard says “there’s no better people to learn from than people that are out in the field doing exactly what you want to do. [RWU’s] program has pulled in some really great people to help get our foot in the door and get more students internships and experiences like I’ve had.”

Thanks to the wide-ranging program, faculty perspectives and her unique internship experience, Millard was accepted into Boston University’s School of Medicine for Biomedical Forensic Science. Millard said that getting into such a competitive graduate school while coming from such a small program speaks volumes about the potential the justice studies program has to offer, and she’s excited to watch it grow alongside her own blossoming career.