In a few short weeks, Jelena Kyle, recent forensic science alumna, will be continuing her education across the Atlantic Ocean. Kyle will be pursuing a master’s degree in forensic science at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom.
Kyle first learned of Northumbria through Dr. Evonne Balduaff, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science, who, at the time, was exploring a future study abroad program with the school.
“We would always joke that I was going to go there for graduate school, but I don’t think either of us thought that one day I actually would,” said Kyle.
Baldauff and Michael Cipoletti, assistant professor of forensic science, once visited Northumbria and upon their return, shared how amazing it was as a school. This was when Kyle made a decision that Northumbria was where she wanted to continue her education.
Kyle’s professors at Waynesburg have helped shape her into the person she has become today. In addition to Baldauff and Cipoletti, Kelly Wilczynski, chemical hygiene officer and safety coordinator, and Faith Musko, instructor of forensic science, have become personal and academic influencers to Kyle.
In addition to being her professor, Baldauff was her research advisor and saw firsthand the amount of time and dedication that Kyle devoted to her studies in the chemistry lab.
“I am surprised that she didn’t get sick of me for how much time I spent up there on the fifth floor of Stewart Hall,” said Kyle. “The joke was that I was either going to become the mascot or that I should just bring my mattress and move in.”
Musko was Kyle’s biggest cheerleader and the one who pushed her harder every day to do her best. Another friend and Kyle coined the phrase, “Musko Wednesdays,” which became a time when they held conversations with Musko in her office about anything from school to politics to TV.
“It might not seem like much, but it was honestly one of the biggest stress relievers for me,” said Kyle.
Kyle credits the structure of Waynesburg’s forensic science curriculum for helping her with choosing a career. At Waynesburg, students experience all disciplines in the forensic science field rather than being forced to choose a specific discipline from the start.
“Not many colleges other than Waynesburg offer this,” said Kyle. “I was able to study a little bit of every division so I would be better suited to then pick what it was I wanted to do as a career.”
Indeed, that is how Kyle decided that she wanted to become a latent fingerprint examiner and work for the counterfeiting division of the Secret Service.
In September, Kyle will begin her coursework at Northumbria, and she is very eager to do so.
“I think I am most excited about going to a different country for my degree,” said Kyle. “I am going to learn so much over there, not just from my new professors, but from the culture and area.”