Speeding, seat-belt violations, homicides, and burglaries are just some of the things that Mirian de Siqueira dealt with during her exciting internship at the Maryland State Police Department where she worked specifically with Crime Scene Investigations of Garrett County in McHenry, Maryland. Before Mirian embarked on her internship experience, she was studying Biomedical Science at Rowan University. In Brazil, she studies Biomedical Science at Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná.
Mirian in front of a State Trooper car at her AT
How did you find your AT?
I searched on Google for Forensic Science internships and found one on the Maryland State Police website. It is a good idea to look at the Forensic Division website for each state because there are a lot of announcements about internships. I had the help of a friend, who studies the same thing, and we always searched together. We found a lot of positions on Intern Match, which is a really good site.
Can you describe a regular day at your AT?
For my internship, my official designated barrack was in McHenry, Maryland. However, when we were on call we rode between five different counties: Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll Counties. I never knew what was going to happen next during my internship on any given day. Sometimes, we had quiet days where we stayed at the office and sometimes we would have a homicide case. It made my internship extremely unique and exciting.
What did you learn while engaging in your AT?
I learned about the many different aspects of a crime scene. I learned about investigations and troopers’ work. I had an amazing supervisor, Jennifer Jeudy (behind Mirian’s right shoulder in the image at the top of the page), who taught me everything about crime scenes and shared her life experiences with me. I learned techniques to examine fingerprints, footprints, and blood patterns. I also learned about DNA collection, crime scene measurement, shoot trajectory, and evidence. I was able to see the Forensic Sciences Division Laboratory where all of the evidence is processed. I also got to go to the morgue to meet forensic doctors and learn about autopsies.
For an entire week, I rode with the troopers and learned how their work is done. They taught me how to do a car stop, drug search, gun search, and give speeding tickets. One really interesting thing I learned about the troopers was that they really love what they do, which is something you do not find in all professions. I am so thankful to Trooper Angermeier and Trooper Lyons of McHenry and Trooper Toey of Cumberland for sharing their work with me.
I also got to spend a few days with Detective Sergeant Vince Upole, who is the investigators’ supervisor. He explained, in detail, the nature of his work, including how he supervises the creation of a report and how clearly and precisely it should be written.
Did anything very interesting happen while you were interning?
I got to work on a homicide case and was able to witness the full investigation, which was really important for my career. I got to see the whole investigation, from when the body was found all the way to discovering possible suspects. I got to see the crime scene where the body was found. I went to the morgue in Baltimore to see the autopsy and to fingerprint the victim. I also attended the searches of the victim’s house and car as well as the search of the suspect’s house.
Mirian at a K-9 Unit presention
What are the biggest differences in American and Brazilian Forensic Science? Do the countries approach it in a different way?
The main difference is the technology that is available. I am very excited to have been able to work with advanced equipment and to have had a variety of resources at my fingertips. In Brazil, I worked in a laboratory, so crime scenes were not part of my daily activities. Therefore, the actual crime scene was something new to me even though it is part of the forensics field. In the U.S., I was able to dive into the practical work more. In a laboratory, you need to employ principles that are more scientific, while at a crime scene you have to think as a criminal thinks. You learn more through experiencing it rather than reading about it in a textbook.
I loved working at the crime scenes in the U.S., but I also loved working in the lab in Brazil. When thinking about my career, I would love to do both, but I have to choose.
Rows of police cars at McHenry Barrack
How will you use this experience in your future career and what do you plan on doing when you get back to Brazil?
My AT experience left a big impression on me and it really changed me. I feel like a complete professional now because I have seen both the theoretical and practical sides of Forensic Science, such as analyzing evidence in a lab or collecting it at a crime scene.
Can you give some advice to future BSMP students who may be interested in doing an AT in Forensics?
It is not easy to find an AT in Forensics. My advice is to always keep looking. I spent a good part of my Winter break and all of my Spring break writing cover letters and applying to internships. In the cover letter, it is important to show how the position will be an excellent fit for your career, but it should also show your excitement for the opportunity.
To connect with Mirian on LinkedIn, click here.