Lilly was uninspired in high school but perseverance led the Master of Forensic Science student to a fulfilling future.
Not every path to university is a straight line, and that’s especially true for Lilly Ryan. As someone who struggled in high school, she knew her options were limited. Now the Master of Forensic Science student can achieve her career goal of joining the Police Force to work in forensics. She credits Murdoch University’s practical, hands-on degree with being just what she needed to excel at university and in life.
Lilly’s perseverance led her to a degree at Murdoch
Perseverance helped Lily as she pursued an alternative pathway to postgrad studies. High school provided no inspiration for the determined student, but Lilly took the classes at TAFE she needed to finish her high school level education. She completed more certificates but didn’t feel fulfilled. On the advice of her brother, she kept searching for her niche and discovered a scientific career path was what interested her most. After a bridging course at ECU and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology at Curtin, Lilly finally uncovered her career goal of joining the Police Force to work in forensics.
The Master of Forensic Science (Professional Practice) course suited Lilly’s style of learning. She enjoys experience-led courses and knowing the aims and goals required for each class. The forensic science degree has given her lots of hands-on, practical experience. She’s also been able to learn from and connect with industry professionals in coursework taught by Murdoch academics in the forensic science postgrad degree.
“Most the teachers either still work in the field, or did so previously,” Lilly says.
“I’ve found having their experiences shared with us has given me a huge insight into the different opportunities I can take.
“I’ve felt like I have had a lot more guidance in some aspects of my degree, and you can feel that the lecturers and tutors genuinely want you to succeed.”
Processing crime scenes translates theory into real-life experiences
Multiple two-day camping trips to process crime scenes helped Lilly translate theory into real-life practice. She says not only are they great fun, but they’re an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and an exciting way to add to your grade mark. One standout experience was an excursion to Murdoch’s Whitby Falls Farm which involved a simulated large-scale homicide scene – complete with a hidden gravesite.
“My role was exhibits officer, so it was my job to collect, package and keep track of any exhibits and what needed to be tested,” Lilly says.
“The day consisted of triaging events like line searches, identifying exhibits, photographing the scene and exhibits, and locating the body of a missing person.
“The second day of the camping trip was dedicated entirely to exhuming the ‘body’, which was both fun, informative and quite unpleasant smelling.”
Other notable experiences, according to Lilly, involved day-long excursions to a real ‘house of horrors’ to learn bloodstain pattern analysis and working with an amazing group of people from all different backgrounds, both students and teachers. That included meeting Det. Supt. Gordan Fairman, who gave a lecture in the Homicide and Death Investigation unit.
“He reached out to anyone interested in joining the Police Force and said he would be able to be a support through that,” Lilly says.
“This was pretty amazing and made me very excited to take the next steps in my career.”
Postgrad studies are the key to Lilly’s future
Looking to the future, Lilly is conducting research as she finishes up her postgrad forensic science degree. She hopes it leads to publication and helps launch her career.
“After the research I will be looking at applying for the Western Australia Police Force and possibly the Australian Federal Police graduate program,” Lilly says.
Reflecting on her university studies, Lilly says her greatest achievement is going to uni and not giving up on life.
“I am very proud of how far I have come both academically and also as a person,” Lilly says.
“Going to university helped me get my life back on track and gave me goals to work towards."
Does a future working in the forensic science scene sound like the career for you? Embrace your passion by exploring the Master of Forensic Science (Professional Practice) at Murdoch.