A Letter from a YFSF Past President – “You Never Know Where You May End Up – How I Created My Career Path”

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Lindsey Saunders is the immediate YFSF Past President and is currently serving as the YFSF Liasion to the Long Term Planning Committee.

While forensic science degrees are growing at colleges and universities, not all of us took the direct degree path to get to where we are in the field. For me, it was a combination of an “aha moment” and a forensic-based degree. like many freshmen that “don’t know what they want to be when they grow up,” I took the path of pre-med because I liked science. I quickly decided that my goal was to become a medical examiner. The idea of “forensics” never crossed my mind; it was my interest in the role of the medical examiner that led to my decision. So, I guess you could say that forensics found me before I really found it. Fast forward to transferring to a different university and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in Forensic Biology, I graduated. I decided to change my major in order to make myself standout from other pre-med students and because I learned that I really was passionate about the forensic components of the medical examiner duties.

After graduating, I decided medical school wasn’t for me; it was the forensic aspect that I really enjoyed (aha!). I soon was offered and accepted a temporary position at a postmortem toxicology laboratory that afforded me the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on forensic laboratory experience and sent me on my journey. Over the first five years of my professional career, I never made it back into the laboratory in an official capacity; instead, I took on unique and challenging positions. I spent three years teaching online courses to other forensic professionals and spending a great deal of time gaining new knowledge and meeting countless contacts. It was this job that led me to where I am today, in a management position at a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory in Washington, Dc!

I now manage grants for a forensic laboratory and continue to learn every day. While I never did become the medical examiner I once dreamed of being, I discovered what I was passionate about on my personal forensic science journey. Without taking leaps into positions I wasn’t 100% sure I was capable of and taking and having the opportunities to meet everyone that crossed my path, I would never have found my “forensic happiness.” My advice to all young forensic scientists is to take risks, challenge yourself, and to meet as many people as possible; you never know who could be your future boss!

Lindsey Saunders, BS
YFSF Long Term Planning Chair and YFSF Past President