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What attracted me most about Forensic Science was that is uses specific science skills for a good cause: a fair criminal justice system. During my bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics (TU Delft) I was searching for a next step that would allow me to apply my mathematical background to solving real, current and influential problems.

Reading about Forensic Science, I liked how it encourages students with a wide range of backgrounds to work together en learn from each other. Thanks to the master, I believe one always achieves more as a team rather than on their own. Everyone has their weak and strong parts. It has opened my mind to an interdisciplinary approach. Working together with colleagues from various backgrounds also allowed me to have a taste of their sciences. This helped me to find out what I actually liked and/or was good at, and what absolutely not. Moreover, the master showed me the importance of keeping your bias to a minimum. In my opinion, this is a very crucial lesson to keep in mind for anyone working in any science.

After following the general courses and some specialization courses such as financial-economic crime, I wrote my thesis on how (un)supervised models can be used to uncover criminal activities in financial transactions. I did an internship at one of the largest Dutch banks. The results of my research were promising and I was surprised by the large impact a bank can have on fighting financial crime. That’s why I decided to stay: currently I work as research coordinator on a team that investigates (the suspicion of) high impact and complex financial crimes. The team consists of colleagues with diverse specialities and backgrounds. Having that interdisciplinary approach helps me as a coordinator to put these various skills to maximum use. 

For the future, I want to focus on finding out how I can make a maximum positive impact on the criminal justice system. This includes developing my skills, learning about current problems and researching possibilities. Luckily, the master presented me the countless possibilities and opportunities within the field of forensic science. I would advise students to use the time during their master to broaden their view and to benefit from the great network of (guest) teachers, staff and fellow students. Find out what you want, set your goals and find the right people to help you reach them!

PhD student

In 2016, I started as a PhD student at Utrecht University, where I continue my work on Bayesian networks. Among others, I work on developing tools for the automated construction of Bayesian networks for use in actual criminal investigations. In my work, I still use the skills I learned during the Master and my research project on a day-to-day basis.

My advice to you

My advice to students of the Master Forensic Science is to start as early as possible with finding a research project; I found the research project to be the most crucial part of the Master, as you meet many interesting people and it can be a real stepping stone in your career. Furthermore, as digital forensics is an ever-increasing field, it is also worthwhile to learn some programming skills; not only are these skills useful for digital forensic, these will come in handy for any type of job.