Murdoch University science undergraduates have been immersed in crime scene investigation on a confidence-building trip to Malaysia funded by the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan (NCP).
The nine students were based at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) for the fortnight long visit, sharing their knowledge with Malaysian forensics students and gaining an understanding of how the nation carries out its forensic investigations from academics, government and industry officials.
Among the highlights of their trip was the opportunity to observe an autopsy in a hospital morgue, learning more about the use of insects in solving crimes (forensic entomology), mass disaster procedures in Malaysia and taking part in crime scene investigation simulations.
Forensic Biology and Toxicology student Kate Surace said engaging in so many hands-on experiences had been the highlight of her trip.
“I’m a real hands-on learner and believe I adapt and learn faster when facing situations rather than learning the theory,” she said.
“The experience has taught me which areas of forensics I am truly interested in and would love to explore more in my career.”
Fellow student Shivani Radia, who is studying Forensic Biology and Toxicology and Biomedical Science, said the trip also allowed the students to develop important transferable skills that can be translated into future jobs.
“In a field such as forensic sciences, we seldom work alone and rely on effective teamwork, communication, and the ability to connect with colleagues and peers,” Shivani said. “Thus, building these interpersonal skills are important in my development as a successful graduate and individual.”
Final year forensic student Laura Pember said being exposed to a different culture with a group of strangers from both Murdoch and UKM had been challenging but incredibly satisfying.
“Exposure to new cultures and ways of learning is so helpful to allow you to learn something from a different angle,” she said
We made great friends with people from cultures I haven’t previously had that opportunity with. It’s so valuable to broaden your horizons and circles as much as you can to appreciate and respect all people as much as possible.
This is the second year running Murdoch students have visited UKM, which is located in the city of Bangi, Selangor. The trip was organised by Murdoch forensic science senior lecturer Dr Paola Magni in collaboration with UKM counterpart Dr Raja Zuha.
She said the experience had been invaluable for both sets of students, bringing them personal and academic benefits, and pushing them out of their comfort zones in challenging situations.
“Both students and staff have been provided with new cultural and professional opportunities for personal growth, and experience building thanks to our partnership with UKM and the NCP,” Dr Magni said.
“I was incredibly proud to see my students develop and grow across just two weeks, and it was exciting to get them out of the lab and the library to give them an interdisciplinary and international experience.”
The NCP aims to increase Australia’s knowledge of the Indo-Pacific through supporting undergraduate students to undertake internships in the region.
Picture caption: The Murdoch students who visited Malaysia, from left, Andrew Swetman, Orsolya Hadhazi, Shivani Radia, Laura Pember, Luise Branch-Smith, Kate Surace, Eleanor Newton, Courtney Watt and Chelsea Price.