Danika aspires to become a forensic pathologist

Student swabs hammer in a science lab

Danika wanted a criminology degree that focused on law and science, which is why she chose to study at Murdoch.

Danika Bonannella dreamed of becoming a Forensic Pathologist but she couldn’t find the course she wanted. When she discovered Murdoch had a combined criminology degree not offered anywhere else in Australia, she knew she was on the right track. Then she learned Murdoch offers flexibility in learning styles and she was welcome to study as a part-time student. That fuelled her determination to pursue higher education studies and become the first person in her family to attend university. 

Murdoch has a unique forensic science degree

After completing TAFE certificates during high school, Danika took a free 14-week university-enabling OnTrack course at Murdoch’s Mandurah campus. It helped her gain entrance into the Bachelor of Criminology/Bachelor of Science double degree which gave her the opportunity to learn forensics and criminology in a practical experience-led degree. 

“While I came across many different universities offering courses involving science and/or law, I struggled to find science courses focused specifically on forensics,” Danika says.

She also wanted law courses focused on criminology – specifically criminal behaviour. 

“Not only could I study a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biology and Toxicology, and a Bachelor of Criminology in Criminal Behaviour, but I had the opportunity to study both bachelor’s simultaneously as a combined degree,” Danika says.

The flexibility and variability of the program was a deciding factor for Danika. She describes herself as a creative, curious, and open-minded critical thinker.

I learn best kinaesthetically, so enjoy practical applications demonstrated in tutorials, workshops, and labs,” Danika says. 

Danika believes the Murdoch student experience sets it apart

In addition to Murdoch offering the only combined Criminology and Forensic Science degree in Australia, Danika believes the entire student experience sets Murdoch apart from any other university. Having the freedom to think freely and creatively was just as important in her decision-making about where to study.

“The flexibility of how, when, and how much I study in my course is also really important to me,” Danika says.

Having this flexibility and adaptation if needed takes some of the pressure off and allows me to study in a way that suits me best.”

Danika credits her success to support services such as Peer Assisted Study Sessions –  known on the campus as PASS classes. She also mentioned the importance of support from student advisors, equity services, counselling services, and study assistance as critical to creating a positive environment that encourages students to ask questions and reach out for help and support when needed. 

Real-world learning and hands-on experience at Murdoch

Danika is thoroughly enjoying her course in criminology and forensic science for the real-world learning which has furthered her understanding of the unit content. She’s been able to learn about cold cases and examine them in detail for forensic and crime scene analysis.

“I have had the opportunity to sit and observe in a court setting as part of a criminology assessment,” Danika says.

“It was one of the highlights of my study to be in that setting to see how it works in a practical and real-world sense. 

“I got a feel for the real-world applications to what I was learning and found it super rewarding.

Danika has also benefited from time spent delving into the science of forensics.

“Working with an animal heart by dissecting it and relating it to what we learnt was a fundamental part of me grasping the content in that unit,” Danika says.

“I also enjoyed my time in the lab doing dissections or working with human bones to learn more about the human body and its functions.”

“Learning through these opportunities was an invaluable experience as a student and something I will take away with me for the future and current learning.”

Danika’s experience studying Forensic Science and Criminology at Murdoch has made her a champion of the university. She proudly says Murdoch allows her to think freely, access her full potential and study in a way that suits her most.

“Murdoch University has a welcoming, supportive environment, ideal for the most effective and efficient learning to take place,” Danika says.

“It provides a safe and inclusive space for all, increasing your ability to access and unlock your full potential.”

Translate your passion for true crime into a career by exploring a Bachelor of Criminology and Bachelor of Science offered at Murdoch. It’s the only course of its kind in Australia.

Posted on:

28 Oct 2021

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