Forensics specialist comes to Saddleback

In forensic science, they use crime scene tape to keep people out of their crime scenes. (Alyssa Hunter)

Nicole Bullard


In the Student Services Center building last Wednesday, forensic specialist Vanessa Schlottman Calderon, MFS presented a slide-show for students interested in the forensic aspects of criminal justice.

She received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from San Diego State University, her Master of Forensic Science from National University.

For ten years she has been employed by the Pasadena Police Department as a forensic specialist.

Calderon discussed her experiences as a forensic specialist, providing evidence for trials and the application of science to criminal laws.

The main point of the lecture was to give students an idea of what is required to become involved in the field of forensic science.

In the lecture, Calderon mentions the television shows based on criminal investigations and forensic specializing.

“It completely over glorifies the career of forensics and criminal investigation,” Calderon said.

Despite the connection between the shows and the real deal, people are applying for forensic jobs based on what they see on television, according to Calderon.

There are many specialties in the forensic careers, including forensic anthropology, forensic psychology, DNA experts, forensic engineers, medical examiners, latent print examiners and much more.

Some of the careers require extra schooling, for example, a medical examiner must also be a medical doctor.

A coroner is one of the only people as well as paramedics that are allowed to handle a body at a crime scene or accident.

The forensic specialists respond to a call and collect evidence. The main job of a forensic specialist like Calderon is to gather evidence to be provided in court.

They must be conscientious and take notes on what they see at the crime scene because their evidence will be attacked by defense attorneys who will argue against it in any way possible.

“There’s a lot of things they don’t tell you about working in forensics. For example they don’t tell you about the smells, once you smell something like that you don’t forget it,” Calderon said.

Despite all the qualms that might go with a career in forensics, she has plenty positive things to say about her career as a forensic specialist. “I love my job,” Calderon said.