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Master
Forensic Science
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Marissa Koopman, Graduate assistant and PhD student at l’Ecole des sciences criminelles of the University of Lausanne

After completing the Bachelor Liberal Arts and Sciences from Amsterdam University College in which I majored in Biomedical Sciences I joined the Master’s programme Forensic Science. It drew me because of the prospect of doing meaningful work, and the broad overview of expertise areas offered in the first year of the master. I was also inspired by Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) missions from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and thought of joining them in the future.

Because of this interest I jumped at the opportunity to work with the police on the topic of locating old clandestine graves via drones and remote sensing for my literature thesis. I enjoyed it even more than I expected, both for the interdisciplinary nature of the challenge and for the importance of handling a real life problem.

Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). Although I decided not to continue in the field of digital forensics, the contacts which I made at the NFI proved invaluable. One of my co-workers had a contact at the University of Lausanne and arranged for me to meet with one of the professors there and see their facilities.

After completing my PhD I hope to be able to continue to grow into the field and help governments and international organisations locate clandestine graves via remote sensing.

This led me to l’Ecole des Sciences Criminelles in Switzerland. They were the first school of forensic science worldwide and remain a major training and research centre today, on top of handling international casework. Here I conduct research for my PhD and teach students of the bachelor of Forensic Sciences. I’m also undergoing training to join one of their international casework teams in the future.My advice to you, as a former student of the master Forensic Science, is to work hard on your network. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the help of my co-workers at the NFI which I met during my research project of the master. Ask for help and formulate as clearly as you can what you want to achieve, as soon as you can. Then start taking steps and making contacts to make this a reality.