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The Path Forward

Lauren Vallee ’18 Lands Major Internship in Boston Police Department Crime Lab

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Forensic Science major and Bristol, Connecticut native Lauren Vallee ’18 is always finding ways to be actively involved on campus, and serves many important roles academically and in athletics. As a student athlete, she participates in volleyball and softball and is a captain for both sports. Lauren is also president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). When she’s not competing on the field, she is working in Catok Learning Commons as a peer tutor, assisting students in classes like genetics, organic chemistry, and cell and molecular biology. As a Student Ambassador leader for the admissions team, Lauren frequently leads tours for families and provides them with information on all things Bay Path.

Lauren’s busy schedule didn’t stop her from taking on an internship with the Boston Police Department this winter. She shared insight into the experience of working in the crime labs for one of the most unique law enforcement offices in the nation:

How did you land your internship with the Boston Police Department? 
Funny story… Initially, I was turned down by many crime labs I’d applied to as an intern, primarily because they aren’t set up to take on interns in such a high-risk line of work. One day, my boyfriend bought a plow truck and we went to get it insured. While making small talk with the insurance agent, he explained to her how upset I was that I couldn't find the internship I needed. As it turned out, the insurance agent knew someone who worked in a crime lab and provided me with her contact information. I sent in my resume and had a phone interview with a woman named Alexis who ended up being my internship supervisor. After the interview, I went through a background check and drug test and was granted my internship.

Why did you choose this internship? Did you always want to work in law enforcement?
I didn't want to do my internship in just any lab--I wanted to work in a crime lab. Many crime labs are very backed up with cases and don't have the time or space to have an intern. When the Boston PD opportunity came to my doorstep, I couldn't have been more excited.

What are some fascinating things you did in your internship that you might not experience anywhere else?
I was able to sit in on many forms of evidence examination like clothing from a homicide, the processing of a sexual assault kit, serial number restoration on a firearm, vehicle processing, and weapons. Each time, the criminalist would explain to me everything they did from start to finish. It was great to see first-hand, and I felt it better prepared me for a career in the field.

Some of my other responsibilities included measuring out chemicals to be used at crime scenes, making boxes to store evidence in, and entering data into Excel spreadsheets. I loved that it wasn’t just busy work to occupy me eight hours a day. My work helped everyone in the crime lab do their job more efficiently, and I was thrilled to be part of that team. This is not something every intern can say, so that is definitely my highlight.

Do you feel more prepared for the workforce and your future career now because of this experience?
Absolutely. I can’t imagine applying to work in crime labs without this experience under my belt. I think it’s always helpful to have a hands-on experience and understand what you’re getting into before entering the workforce. Internships are one of the best ways to connect with others in the field and ease you into your career options.

Has this internship influenced your career goals? If so, how?
Thanks to my internship with the Boston PD, I have seen and experienced pretty much every section of the lab. I am proud to list it on my resume because the experience stands out. I was able to narrow down the sections of the crime lab that interest me the most: serology/DNA, serial number restoration, and crime scenes, which is helping me think about jobs or graduate programs to consider. I know I will definitely be applying to the Boston PD and was thrilled to find out that most of the people who work in the lab today were interns in my shoes at one point.

 

Lauren was able to discover her passion for forensic science through experiential learning. She will be graduating in May with her bachelor’s degree and her next chapter in her career is still being written. Internships are amazing opportunities to learn more about yourself and your passions. Head to Sullivan Career and Life Planning to talk to a career coach, and plan a way to make your career goals a reality, like Lauren!