Sep 18, 2023 | Paola Pinto Jessica Matheny, a dedicated biology student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), part of the University of Alabama System, has a unique journey and experiences that have fueled her passion for forensics. Jessica's childhood was marked by years of overseas living due to her parents' work, fostering a distinctive and worldly perspective. After completing high school in Huntsville, she initially pursued a nursing program in Pittsburgh, PA, but later returned to Huntsville and switched her major to biology at UAH. During her time at UAH, Jessica's fascination with forensics has grown, driven by hands-on experiences that connected her studies to the real world. Her journey into forensics began when a guest speaker from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, visited the UAH campus in fall 2021, sharing insights about their forensic anthropology program. This presentation piqued Jessica's interest, leading her to delve deeper into the field. Jessica has actively participated in internships at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) to gain knowledge in the drug chemistry and death investigation units and with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office to assist crime scene investigations during cases. Through these experiences, she collaborated closely with law enforcement, detectives from state and federal agencies, medical examiners, and the Madison County Coroner, gaining a profound understanding of the practical aspects of her studies. She emphasizes the significance of networking and encourages students interested in forensics to explore internship opportunities. Looking ahead, Jessica aims to work as a state's death investigator. She also considers options like the FBI or a forensic anthropology program. With her unwavering passion and dedication, Jessica envisions the College of Science at UAH evolving into a prominent hub for education and research in forensics. Jessica's vision extends beyond her academic journey, aiming to inspire and shape the next generation of scholars and professionals in this field at UAH.