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Amanda Abbott '14 M.S.

Forensic Science
"I believe that I not only have hands on-skills from our class work, but I also have a comprehensive knowledge of how it all fits into cases that face the community."

About Amanda

I am a second-year graduate student in the Master of Forensic Science program with a concentration in criminalistics. I earned my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. I returned to Connecticut in 2009 to work at the Yale University School of Medicine, performing research in the Department of Psychiatry, and I have been employed there ever since.

Why did you choose UNH and what attracted you to your graduate program?

Having grown up in Southern Connecticut and having lived here most of my life, I’ve always known UNH to be a great school. When I realized I needed a career change, the forensic science program seemed like a great option. I met with Dr. Virginia Maxwell, who was the department chair at the time, and I knew after speaking with her and touring the facility that UNH was the right choice.

How have your experiences at UNH helped prepare you for your desired career path?

In the forensic science department, the faculty is full of people who not only have advanced degrees but also have extensive real-world experience in their areas of expertise. When a professor can discuss case studies he or she has worked on, it makes everything you do in the lab real. I believe that I not only have hands on-skills from our class work, but I also have a comprehensive knowledge of how it all fits into cases that face the community.

Tell us about a memorable hands-on learning experience such as a class project, applied research or an internship that you have participated in.

My thesis research has focused on gunshot residue patterns. With the guidance and support of my adviser, Peter Massey, and the assistance of the West Haven Police Department, I have had the opportunity to work hands on with various firearms to study the patterns they create. This work afforded me the opportunity to present at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual conference in Seattle last February. This experience allowed me to see all of the current research in the field and meet many people who work in various areas and departments around the world.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I am currently applying for positions as a scientist in a forensic laboratory. I am open to a number of opportunities, from toxicology, gunshot residue pattern analysis or trace evidence. I am looking forward to getting my feet wet somewhere and building on my career from there.