Real-Life 'CSI' was Dream Internship for Felician Student

Real-Life 'CSI' was Dream Internship for Felician Student

For Caroline MacDonald, the past few months have been a case of life imitating art.

“I grew up watching Court TV and other cops shows like ‘Law & Order’ with my mother and I thought it was interesting to see how crimes were solved,” said Caroline, who is majoring in Felician College’s Criminal Justice program. This fall, the junior got hands-on experience with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office as an intern in the Bureau of Crime Investigation’s Crime Scene Unit.

“I really got a look at how forensics works,” said Caroline, who carried a full course load of 19 credits while doing her internship. “It was a great experience.” Caroline said most of her intern work dealt with forensics, such as fingerprinting and processing evidence. “We also processed samples that may or may not have been blood from crime scenes,” she said.

Her favorite part of the work? “Ballistics was definitely the most interesting, although nothing is as done as quickly as television makes you believe,” she laughed. “Sometimes it takes a long time and you don’t always get answers but still, it’s very cool stuff.”

Brian Kelly, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, said Caroline’s “outstanding communication and writing skills” are among the most important components when entering a field like Criminal Justice.“ These skills have allowed her to excel not only in the classroom, but in most importantly in ‘real-life’ endeavors, specifically her internship with the Sheriff’s Department,” said Professor Kelly. “Such an internship is priceless because it allows the student to observe what actually occurs in a law enforcement or social services agency while utilizing skills and knowledge learned in the classroom.”

Caroline said part of the experience involved studying photos of old crime scenes and autopsies. “You definitely get used to it but some of it can be shocking at first,” she said. “But that’s a big part of the job.”

Caroline, who also is minoring in Cybersecurity, has her sights on another internship opportunity for the spring semester. This one takes it cues from the other side of the ‘Law & Order’ format. “I’ve applied to be a paralegal intern,” Caroline said. “It still deals with crimes and investigation but from a different angle, so it should be just as interesting.”

Click here for more information on the Criminal Justice major at Felician.