Amy N. Brodeur, MFS, ABC-GKE
Associate Program Director, Biomedical Forensic Sciences
Boston University School of Medicine
How long have you been in education and in what capacity?
I began teaching in an undergraduate forensic survey course in 2004 while I was a Criminalist with the Boston Police Department. In 2005, I participated in teaching a graduate level forensic survey course at Boston University School of Medicine, which led to the launch of the Biomedical Forensic Sciences M.S. program here in 2006. I was hired full-time as the program assistant director and have taught and/or directed a variety of forensic courses in my 16 years at BU.
What is your favorite course to teach and why?
My favorite course is one that I co-teach with my colleague, Robin Cotton. It is called Case Practicum in Forensic Biology-DNA and is designed to give students an opportunity to independently perform evidence assessment and testing on various types of biological evidence, as well as conduct a peer review in a mock forensic case setting. It’s a fun course to teach because it is set up as if the students are working as analysts in a private forensic lab. Each student is assigned a complex case for which they perform advanced biological screening techniques and DNA analysis. I enlist the help of alumni who are currently working in the forensic field to represent the submitting agency and communicate with the students about the evidence.
Describe one of your coolest teaching methods to keep your students engaged.
I’ve experimented with a variety of teaching/learning formats to keep my students engaged: short introduction videos, quiz apps, group presentations, forensic case study discussions, brief topic-specific pre-recorded lectures, peer reviews of scientific writing, and guest lectures by forensic specialists.
What was the most important thing you learned from working in industry?
Working in both private and public forensic laboratories has taught me the critical importance of being thorough, impartial, and maintaining impeccable credibility. There is no better incentive for being careful to properly follow SOPs and QA/QC procedures than interacting with actual stakeholders, knowing that real lives are on the line, and having to answer for your actions in court. The forensic science field truly relies on the integrity of its practitioners.
What is the most fun thing you have ever done as an educator?
I love participating in the mock crime scene at the conclusion of our Crime Scene Investigation course. It takes place on a 30-acre property outside of the city owned by BU that includes a vacant house, barn, pond and wooded area. I really enjoy watching the students use all of their newfound knowledge to process a large scene over the course of half a day. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I completed my graduate program internship at the NCIS office in Washington D.C. – long before it was a TV show!