An avid lover of all things science, Murdoch University student Lisa is learning to use forensic science to fight injustice around the world.
Born and bred in sunny Barbados, 22-year old Lisa Walkes initially heard about Murdoch University through her local Student Centre.
"I told the staff at the Student Centre that I was looking for a school which did a coursework-based Master of Forensic Science and Murdoch University was one of the suggestions."
"I've been interested in doing forensic science since I was around 15 years old. I always found forensic science-based television shows quite captivating.
"As I continued to pursue biochemistry at an undergraduate level, I encountered some techniques and theory surrounding forensic science which kept and increased my interest in the field."
Attracted by the emphasis on practical experience, Murdoch's Master of Forensic Science gives students like Lisa the opportunity to apply real forensic techniques through experiencing multiple crime scene rooms on and off campus.
The 18,000km journey to Perth
Her first time living overseas, Lisa was understandably anxious about her transition to Perth. Thankfully, she found the support staff and students at Murdoch to be incredibly helpful.
"In my experience, the staff and students at Murdoch University are very friendly and willing to help wherever they can. There is a big diversity of cultures and lifestyles which makes the experience very interesting.
"Additionally, the library is a very comfortable atmosphere with spaces for all types of study. I spend most of my time here in the library.
"My favourite moments from my time at Murdoch include lying on the beanbags in the sun on Bush Court, Pancake Fridays in the Murdoch University Village and meeting people from different cultural backgrounds.
"I really enjoy the suburban surroundings of Murdoch University and Perth on a whole. It's so easy to access many places via public transport."
Lisa also found the financial assistance of Murdoch's International Welcome Scholarship to be of particular help.
Designed to welcome new international students into the Murdoch University community, International Welcome Scholarships provide a contribution towards course fees for the duration of the Scholarship.
"The Welcome Scholarship from Murdoch really helped to offset the cost of studying as an international student."
Applying for our International Welcome Scholarships is easy for all Murdoch students - if you’re eligible you simply need to accept your Murdoch University offer to receive it.
Getting her hands dirty
When asked what she enjoys most about her degree, Lisa couldn't go past all the opportunities she has to put her theoretical knowledge to practical use.
"I enjoy the practicality of the degree. I love that after doing some theory in the classroom we are given an opportunity to apply it and receive feedback on our techniques.
"For example, as an assessment for one of our units, we were able to visit a local rural area, Whitby Falls Farm, and process a mock crime scene, which was set up for us by the lecturers and unit assistants."
Located less than an hour from Murdoch’s Perth campus, Whitby Falls is a fully operational farm that hosts research and teaching facilities for veterinary science, animal science, environmental science, and of course, forensic science.
Students studying a Master of Forensic Science gain valuable field experience at Whitby Falls, processing a simulated large-scale homicide and a clandestine grave incident for evidence as part of their course
"Additionally, because the course accepts applicants in both semesters 1 and 2, there are always students who are more experienced and able to assist newer students."
Using her degree to make the world a better place
Upon her graduation, Lisa hopes to use her knowledge of forensic science to help victims of injustice around the world.
"I hope to work in the area of forensic science and my interest is mostly in forensic chemistry, however, I am open to all areas of forensic science now.
"Forensic science has great implications, especially when it comes to the weight of evidence presented in court. I hope that I will somehow be able to improve the field in such a way as to reduce the number of wrongful convictions due to errors in forensic testing."