1-Year Check in with Dr. Pamela Marshall: Director of the Forensic Science Program
By Annie Panageas
Junior, Forensics Science and Law
Dr. Pamela Marshall is the director of the Forensic Science and Law program at Duquesne University. This semester marks her 1-year anniversary of being here with us. Before coming to Duquesne, Dr. Marshall finished her degree in forensic and investigative genetics and was the director of a brand-new Bachelor of Science/Forensic Science program at Southern University in Louisiana. There, she strove to get more underrepresented minorities into the field. Dr. Marshall believes "..to make a difference across the criminal justice system, there needs to be better representation from underrepresented minorities at every level."
Dr. Marshall's research is primarily in serology, finding new ways to improve fluid collection and inhibiting contamination through processing of these fluids. She also is exploring ways to make a difference in wildlife forensics.
Duquesne is a great place for Dr. Marshall to continue her work. "I love that we're right next to the city, but it still feels like a family. I am able to build intimate relationships with students and faculty and you always have a friend and support system in this program. I love working with young people, they keep me on my toes, and I love the passion that my students bring to the program". Dr. Marshall loves teaching and being director of our Forensic Science program because "...the next best thing after working on cases and getting my Ph.D was to teach the next generation of forensic scientists. You still get that immediate sense of gratitude when a student embraces a new concept or attitude... your generation [will be] the policy changers."
Since becoming director of the program, she sees an even greater value in the Forensics program at Duquesne. "I receive e-mails from companies and labs that only want graduates from our program," Dr. Marshall reports, "This speaks to our stellar foundation and the quality of the graduates here." Under Dr. Marshall's leadership this year, the program completed its FEPAC accreditation through 2024 and approved a new study abroad experience. She says, "I want my students to fill up their passports before they leave here to not only get a love of traveling but to get a love of learning about other people and cultures." Dr. Marshall also has plans for the future of the program, including adding new content to the curriculum, adding a crime scene house, and putting together a Ph.D. program.
Dr. Marshall's advice for her students is to "Stay curious, keep learning, and read for fun. This is a constantly evolving field, so stay current and stay on top of new technologies and changes in standards. Always keep in mind that you can make a difference... embrace the idea that you are following the science and you are never pursuing the guilt or innocence of a person."