photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “forensics

Topics in Criminal Justice: Serial Killers

I just found out that I’ve been given a partial Perkins loan ($750) to pay for more than half of my 2 summer courses. Woot! I’m so super stoked. I like psychology- but I’m madly passionate about criminology– it really is my thing.

This is what my textbook looks like for my (serial killers) course:sk classIn Forensic Anthropology, we’ll be studying human remains in disaster settings, as well as reconstructing crime scenes. It’s going to be an interesting semester. 🙂

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Summer School Begins NOW

ImageOriginal artwork: my photography (self portrait at the Ohio River) digitally rendered into Gouache oil on stone, titled: “Sister, I will Carry You”, circa 2009

So I’m waiting to hear back from an advising doctor at the University of Florida where I’ll ultimately work on a master’s in Forensic Science, particularly in that of Serology (the study of bodily fluids) and DNA. I’m most interested in Crime Scene Investigations- sans the body. If I could get past the whole “dead body” thing, I’d rather work there but I’m just not sure I could hang with that. (I’m sure at some point I’m going to have to get past that.) I have a keen interest in forensics and so I’m hoping Dr. ******* will be able to advise me on which B.S./major (Biology, Biochemistry, Criminal Justice) I need to pursue so that I can effectively move in the direction of Serology and DNA: I won’t be settled until I have my game plan on lock down!

To get a head start, I’ve found an awesome (free) forensics site in which you can enroll in (again- free) courses that include audio seminars- complete with course modules, syllabi, etc. I’m beginning with blood spatter analysis tonight. It’s going to have to hold me over until I can begin school in the fall.

For any potential CSI/DNA/Serology buffs, here’s the link:
https://www.forensiced.org/training/courseapp.cfm?csection=Forensic%20Sciences

Enjoy!


Another Sleepless Night

It’s 4:27 a.m. and I’m wide awake. There’re only three weeks left in the semester and I’m running out of time fast. I still have 4 major research papers to write (APA, of course), 30 hours of practicum/intern/volunteering at the psych ward and youth shelter, a diagnostic interview to videotape, and an oral presentation on Autism to prepare and record. (Not to mention 6 more exams.) My accumulative GPA is 3.65: not too shabby.

I tried sleeping but darn it, I have a career to plan! Besides, I have an executive decision to make: transfer immediately over to Indiana University Bloomington to begin working on my B.S. in Criminal Justice, or stick it out for the summer semester at my current university, Vincennes, and receive my 2nd degree- an A.S. in Social Work. I’m 97% finished, according to my audit, which means if I take only 3 more social work courses this summer- I’ll have my 2nd degree.

Granted, little can be done with an A.S. in Social Work (apart from residential counseling, youth director, case manager in a group home or Substance Abuse facility, etc.) but I do also have the degree in Behavioral Sciences too, along with the CPC in Substance Abuse. Technically, it’s 5 academic years combined.

My short term primary objective is to become a probation officer, and possibly, parole- ultimately. (Perhaps 3 years in probation working with juveniles, then a transition over to parole so I can take a few years experience with me.) I’m really wanting to stay in the area of juvenile work: I’d rather work with impressionable, responsive, and “workable” adolescents who haven’t already been hardened by poor choices and criminal deviance. However, my dilemma is that most probation office facilities require a bachelor’s degree. I have the equivalency, and I’m sure I could sell myself in the area if I tried, but I really think I do need the Criminal Justice training. I’m not entirely loving “Social Work”, and so I’m tempted to simply transfer over to IU Bloomington so I can begin working on my Criminal Justice degree over the summer. But that means tossing my A.S. in Social Work when I’m 97% finished!

I suppose I’ve ramble-typed enough to have worked this out: I’ll remain at Vincennes for the duration of the summer and complete my Social Work degree. In the meantime, I’ll have registered at IU Bloomington and will be ready to go this fall.

I still have my heart set on Forensic Psychology, but for now, a B.S. in Criminal Justice is what I need to focus on. I’m hoping to be able to integrate photo therapy into my work (down the road) and do more school readings with my children’s book, but I have to keep my irons in the fire down to, oh…say FIVE or so.

I’m considering taking my Abnormal Psychology chapter test on Theories, Perspectives, and Models but I s’pose that can wait until the morning. I’m so super excited these days! I’ve waited 20 long years to be able to go back to college, get a few degrees under my belt, and start my career. My kids are mostly grown (17-24), so I’m allowing myself the luxury to focus on ME now. This has all been carefully planned for a very long time and it’s exciting that I’m finally actually doing it.

Only two more years!

Along the way I’m going to join and pick up certification in IAAP (Indiana Association for Addiction Professionals ) & ICAADA (Indiana Counselors Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse). My Substance Abuse professor suggested that I join these two organizations. I’m not necessarily going into the Substance Abuse/Intervention field, but I think more than a Criminal Justice degree is necessary if one wants to be an effective probation officer. Many juveniles will have already experienced drugs and alcohol by the time they’re 13. Juveniles that are sent to the probation department? Their experiential substance abuse percentage is closer to 100%. I want to have a few extra tools in my belt: a solid substance abuse education and credentials are essential when working with juveniles.

Juveniles + substance abuse = probation
adults + substance abuse = parole

substance abuse – college education = homelessness, jail, criminal behavior, etc.

It’s only a matter of time before a juvenile experimenting with substance abuse ends up homeless, in prison, or on parole. There’s a very strong correlation between juveniles who are on probation and substance abuse.  I want to do what I can so that he or she doesn’t end up going down that road.

And now I’m off to bed.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering what a cell looks like during its anaphase cycle of mitosis, this is it:

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Cell during anaphase cycle of mitosis: created by Josh and me for my Biology: Life Sciences class.

Ingredients used:

Centromeres: whole black peppercorn
Spindle Fibers: uncooked pasta
Chromosomes: Ramen noodles soaked in Srirracha sauce
Microtubules: whole green tea

Grade received: A


Love is Grand and other Great Things

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Mr. Bob Hedge, himself (AKA: my son) /Helios film 44-2/natural lighting

So Josh is in the living room belting out a rock-blues ballad that he’s making up as he’s going along. Today we’re rejoicing: he just got a new job and I’m changing majors from Sociology to Criminal Justice. Hoo ha! I’m pretty excited about it. I’m thinking, I need to knock back this school thing while I’m in school-mode. A few more years! Two and a half, in fact. I’ve been told that up to 90 of my credit hours could transfer over to my BS in Criminal Justice. I’m pretty happy about that. Sociology is great and all, and I’m most passionate about that, but at the end of it all I’m going to need a jobby job, as in, actual “career”. Sociology doesn’t ensure that but Criminal Justice does. My dream job would be as a criminal psychologist or a Profiler, but that requires no less than a Master’s degree. Hmmm…we’ll see. I’ve decided to move in the direction of a probation officer for starters.

My plan is never vague or blurry when I calculate one. I gather facts, research, strategize, formulate the plan clearly, and execute it precisely. So the new plan is this (which could change at any time, mind you, but for now, it’s a done deal):

Short Term Goals

  • Transfer 30-60 Behavioral Sciences credit hours over to SNHU and apply them to new BS in Criminal Justice
  • Receive BS in Criminal Justice
  • Build up community work with PBS/Peanut Butter Soup– my children’s book- volunteer, etc. or possible school readings (This is the area that needs most attention) Ulterior motive: bulk up resume + gain experience

Long Term Goals

  • Work as probation officer/secure job for $30,000 to $35,000 annually-starting pay- minimum
    (The starting pay for most probation officer jobs is $35,000-$40,000)
  • Continue with Master’s degree in down time/online- snails’ pace, obviously (never more than two courses at any time)
    (Studying Criminal Psychology)
  • Work to pay off student loans and other debt (which is minimal)

I never envisioned moving into the direction of law enforcement (gasp!) but as a probation officer, I would need to be a licensed gun carrier, and, carry a badge. Yep. A badge. I’m halfway through the semester and am miraculously holding on to my A’s (and a B), so I’ll transition over to my new University in June to begin work on my Bachelor’s. Exciting stuff!

It’s interesting to think that the same prospect only one month ago made me want to shake, shudder, and run for the hills. That’s what utter loneliness can do for the soul! Despondency and silence eat away at the core until everything looks so grey and near impossible to achieve. I had predicted that my heart would thaw out this spring: who knew? 🙂

But love indeed has taken its toll on me and I’m helplessly goofy and happy lately. Josh makes an incredibly strong impact on me. Isn’t it funny how different people will reflect different parts of us? He reflects genuine goodness and he brings that out in me. I mentioned this to him one day and his reply was this, “I only reflect back what I see.”

[Kumbaya]

The kitchen is a wreck and I’m still in my PJ’s at 3:11 in the afternoon, but the sound of the electric guitar in the living room tells me to relax- take a break- smile, and let the dishes marinate a while longer.

Love has its ole hook in me once again.