Lisa Miller
Lisa Miller Final year student at LJMU studying Forensic Science
Lisa Miller is a final year student at LJMU studying Forensic Science. During the summer of 2014 she worked as a student intern developing materials for the launch of the Chemistry for All programme. She is also a student advocate taking part in schools events such as the BIG bang event organised by MerseySTEM at Aintree racecourse in July 2014.
I did not particularly enjoy Science at high school because the lessons were boring and we rarely done any experiments. I was also not very good at Chemistry or Physics! However I did enjoy Biology and learning about the human body so I suppose this introduced me to Forensic Science. It was only really when I studied Applied/Forensic Science at College at aged 17 that I truly found my interest in Science, as I learnt I could apply subjects such as Chemistry, Physics and Biology to a more favourable setting such as Crime Scene Investigation. I began to enjoy Chemistry in particular as I was able to relate it to a topic I already enjoyed and understood.
Science lessons at my high school was very “by the text book”. Most of the time we were tasked with reading the text book and answering the questions. We did not often perform experiments and when we did, they were very basic and only classroom based. Studying Science at University is obviously much more advanced due to the better resources and finances. Although the lack of practical based work made Science boring, it did however give me the urge to learn stuff from home and encouraged me to study the subject even more so I could answer my curiosities and engage in the opportunities other school children were given.
My school was relatively average although my particular year group was misbehaved and under-performing. We were never really given information about University or Higher Education, but were however constantly told about the opportunities at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. However, I learnt as the years went on that there were other more achievable Universities for me such as Liverpool John Moores, University of Liverpool and Manchester Metropolitan.
I always enjoyed doing Chemistry experiments as I liked to discover why or how things worked. My Chemistry knowledge and experience was improved in my first year of University, when I studied Forensic Chemistry for 12 months. I performed many different experiments with exciting scenarios, for example testing unknown powders that were found at a crime scene to see if the suspect had been using and distributing Class A drugs. I have also used chemical enhancement techniques to uncover hidden fingerprints from a forged cheque to show that the suspect had written it in the attempts to steal money.
I am currently in my final year of a BSc (Hons) Degree in Forensic Science, working part time as a Special Constable for Merseyside Police and also as a Student Advocate for LJMU. I am emigrating to Melbourne, Australia next July with the intention of becoming a Crime Scene Investigator for Victoria Police, and hopefully working up to the role of Crime Scene Manager or Detective.
A Crime Scene Investigator can be called on anytime of the day or night, depending on whether you have set shifts or not. Each day is different but every crime scene is dealt with in the same manner – I would arrive with my equipment and personal protective clothing and be briefed by the Manager or First Officer on Scene so I can gain background knowledge of what has happened and what type of evidence I would need to collect. I would then enter the scene and begin photographing and collecting the evidence following the instruction from the CSM. Once the whole scene has been photographed and all the relevant evidence has been collected and bagged appropriately, I will then either transport this to the Crime Lab for the Analysis Team or hand in to the Exhibits Officer at the scene. I would then write up my notes and paperwork into the format of a report, ready for when the case lands in Court.
I enjoy a good chicken fried rice, chips and curry sauce from the chippy! I also like home cooked meals such as chicken curry, steak pie and spaghetti bolognaise.
I absolutely love Australia. Melbourne has gorgeous sandy beaches, a modern cultural city centre full of traditional cafes and restaurants. Victoria is the smallest of Australia’s six states and is only the size of the UK, however it is packed with fun-filled adventures such as cycling through the Nature Reserves, hiking in Yarra Valley, swimming in a sea bath or even camping in the Outback!
I have also enjoyed a few trips to Florida, it is such an exciting and fun place no matter what age you are. I hope to meet up with my family for a holiday there once I have settled in Australia.
Chemistry is always an important subject to have under your belt. Even if you don’t enjoy it or find it difficult, it can still provide you with valuable skills for future jobs (for example, team work, practical experiments, report writing and data collection). Most jobs will use an aspect of Chemistry at some point, so to have an understanding of Chemistry will always come in useful.