Rebecca holding a camera and wearing coveralls at a crime scene

I’m out there learning in the dirt

Rebecca Curulli, 31, Graduate Certificate Forensic Science

I was always a curious kid

Growing up in a small country town, I devoured as many books as I could. I fell in love with nature from a young age and my passion for science stems from a love of science fiction. I was also really into dinosaurs, puzzles, and solving mysteries, and I’m pretty sure I made my parents take me to the museum every season! I could never get enough of knowledge – I always wanted to know more and learn as much as I could.

I’m all about true crime and anthropology

When you combine that with a love of science and science fiction, forensics just makes sense. I love the possibilities of forensics – it’s so much more than just crime. Genetics can solve cold cases or map family trees, and anthropology can be used to study life and ancient cultures. There’s a beauty in the life cycle and returning to the earth, and I think that’s something to be respected. 

My journey to Forensic Science at Murdoch

I had always loved forensics, but it wasn’t really a possibility for me in Year 12. 
I had the full support of my family, and I knew if I wanted to be in the field of forensics, I would need to study to make it happen. I opted to study a CERT 4 in Laboratory Techniques and from there I earned my Bachelor of Forensic Investigation. I’m the first person in my family to undertake a full degree.
I was surprised how much real-world experience I would be getting with my degree… I’m actually out there in the dirt, learning with my hands.
Rebecca sitting in moot court on campus

My greatest achievement: Balancing family life and study

I’m mother to a two-year-old, I study full-time and work part-time, and my partner also works full-time. I still manage to keep on top of my studies and maintain a social life here and there. The amazing support services at Murdoch gives me the encouragement I need to balance academic and personal life.

Real-world learning and getting your hands dirty

What surprised me was how much real-world experience I would be getting in my degree. I’m not just sitting in lectures, writing papers, and taking endless exams. I’m actually out there, in the dirt learning with my hands or in the lab honing my skills. 
I’ve attended a gun range to learn more about ballistic analysis and had a go at shooting handguns. I’ve also participated in a mock crime scene in conjunction with WA Police and blood pattern analysts, interpreting and assessing a scene of blood events.
I’ve also been on a two-day excursion of a full mock crime scene grave excavation at Whitby Farm. We were given a full debriefing and an area of land to work from. We cordoned off our crime scene and identified areas and evidence of importance. As crime scene surveyor, it was my job to ensure the area was mapped in detail, and I helped to identify, collect, and interpret the evidence. On day two we excavated the remains – a much larger job than you’d think! 
I don’t think anything can compare to a full-scale experience, learning alongside your future colleagues and peers.

What I love about Murdoch

All the people I’ve met are incredibly welcoming. It’s great to meet others who are as passionate about knowledge as I am – most of them ‘weirdos’ like me! There’s a good mix of socialisation and fun, and the same people who will have a drink with you on Friday will be there to give a presentation with you on Monday.