Haley Fallang is working toward obtaining her Master of Science in Forensic from Towson University and will be representing ISHI as a Student Ambassador this year. One of Haley’s long-term goals in forensic science is to achieve a Ph.D. and research historic and ancient DNA using sequencing technologies to determine biogeographical information, phenotypic information, and possible kin relationships among recent, historic, and/or ancient human remains, such as those often unearthed during new construction. In doing so, she hopes to confirm the dignity and value of those individuals lost to violence or history.
We caught up with Haley and asked her to tell us a little more about herself, including how she became interested in forensic science, what she plans to do after she graduates, and what she’s most looking forward to at ISHI this year.
Haley, thank you for talking with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about how you become interested in forensic science?
I first became interested in forensic science when I took an introductory forensics course during my undergraduate studies at University of Providence. I was taken by the intriguing nature of forensic research and its direct impact on criminal investigations. I quickly signed up to be a forensic science major and am happy to be continuing my education in the MSFS program at Towson University.
Can you describe your area of interest for our readers?
My primary area of interest is forensic DNA testing. More specifically, I am interested in improving DNA yield when extracting DNA from old or historic human remains, which often present very degraded and low-quality DNA. I am currently working with Dr. Cynthia Zeller and Dr. Kelly Elkins at Towson University to utilize next-generation sequencing techniques on DNA extracted from historic human remains recovered from grave sites in the mid-Atlantic region. My graduate research will then focus on discerning whether the recovered individuals present any kin relationships through genetic genealogy techniques.
What are you most looking forward to at ISHI this September?
I am most looking forward to meeting and networking with leading experts in forensic DNA technology and testing at ISHI. I can’t wait to engage with others who have similar passions for forensic DNA typing. I also look forward to being in sunny Orlando for a week!
What are you hoping to do after college?
I am hoping to begin my professional career as a forensic DNA analyst. After gaining hands-on experience in the field, I hope to pursue a Ph.D.
Do you have any advice for others looking to get into forensics?
I would advise others to jump right in. There are so many concentrations available in the field of forensic science, so I would recommend exploring those options to determine where one’s interest lies.
Since we’ll be at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort this year, which Disney character is your favorite or do you relate to most? Why?
My favorite Disney character is Mulan. She exhibits immense courage as well as great dedication to her loved ones.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I am so looking forward to connecting with everyone at ISHI!
Haley, thank you for letting us get to know you a little better! Be sure to follow her on INSTAGRAM or connect with her on LINKEDIN.
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