This Part 2 of the final episode of the Strengthening the Forensic Workforce Season of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series continues the interview with Dr. Peter Stout, Dr. Ray Wickenheiser, and Matthew Gamette regarding the future of the forensic workforce.
Noting that coursework does not adequately portray or prepare a forensic science student to work in a forensic laboratory, the current interview addresses court readiness, training gaps, and other current training experiences in preparing forensic scientists for the work they will be performing. Regarding court training in the presentation of forensic science concepts so they can be understood by laypersons who will make court decisions, the frequent use of moot court exercises with lay persons in the context of academic work is recommended. This helps students learn about translating complex concepts of forensic science into terms understandable to laypersons unfamiliar with the science. Another educational practice mentioned in the interview is having students in a forensic academic curriculum have virtual visits with classrooms of students in middle school and high school in which they explain the work of a forensic scientist. Another suggestion is for academic forensic science programs is to require and assist their students in having summer jobs that involve them in the practical work of a forensic science laboratory. The interview also addresses how forensic science students should be prepared to be hired by a forensic laboratory. They note the importance of both general behavioral reliability and a commitment to serve public safety through their type of work.