The AFP has celebrated International Day for Women and Girls in Science by opening the doors of its world-class forensics facility to female high school students interested in pursuing a career in forensic science.
More than 55 students from high schools and colleges across Canberra toured the facility at Majura and took part in interactive forensics demonstrations offered for the special event. Students also had the opportunity to meet some of the AFP’s female forensic scientists, where they heard firsthand how forensic specialists turned their passion for science into a rewarding career.
The International Day for Women and Girls in Science event was also an opportunity for the AFP to come together to highlight the talent and achievements of its female workforce working in the forensics capability.
AFP Principal Forensic Scientist Dr Kylie Jones said AFP Forensics had a strong representation of women working across various areas including crime scene investigations, digital forensics, firearms and ballistics and more.
“Women bring diversity to research, expand the pool of science professionals and provide fresh perspectives to science and technology,” Dr Jones said.
“It is important that we encourage and inspire the next generation of forensic scientists, and nurture students’ passions with these opportunities for young people to come and see what a real forensics facility looks like, which in turn will hopefully develop that interest into a rewarding and exciting career.
“For some students, this might have been the first time they were able to step into the shoes of a forensic scientist and see what an exciting career like this looks like. It was wonderful to see these young people take their passion to the next level.”
Applications are now open for the 2024 AFP Forensic Work Experience Program, which provides students in years 10 to 12 a taste of what a career in forensics involves and the opportunity to engage with AFP members working in the field.
The program will be run at the AFP’s forensics facility in Canberra in April and September this year, where students from across the country will take part in various practical workshops including in biology, fingerprints, digital forensics and crime scenes.
At the end of the week-long program, students will draw on the skills they have learned to give an expert witness testimony in a mock courtroom trial.
AFP Coordinator Capability and Enabling Fiona Knott said the program was designed for students who had a strong interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“Our goal is to welcome these students into the AFP’s world-class forensics facility, nurture their interest in the field and help develop it into a lifelong career,” Ms Knott said.
“These students have a passion for forensics and STEM subjects, so it’s important that we can give them insight into how exciting and rewarding a career in forensic science can be so they can start planning for their future.”
Previous participant, Queensland student Kristen said the program was a fantastic experience.
“Going on a specific course, full of like-minded individuals, put me in my element and allowed me to unapologetically express my enthusiasm for STEM and learning as a whole,” she said.
“This course was an eye-opening look at how forensic science is utilised in the real world and has made me even more certain that I want to join the AFP in the near future.”
The AFP is also running a one-day online seminar called A day in the life of an AFP Forensic Scientist in late 2024 for those unable to attend the program in person.