Meeting with crime analysts and working on cases with detectives is all in a day’s work for forensic psychology major Jacqueline Cullen.
That’s because these days Cullen is working as an intern with the Fellsmere Police Department. She is the ninth student to participate in the FPD/FIT Internship program that started in 2014. In addition to learning how the police department and the legal system work firsthand, Cullen has also had the opportunity to go on police ride-a-longs and visit the police academy.
Her interest in science began at a young age.
“I’ve always loved science ever since I was little. I spent months working on science fair projects and even won the best engineering project at the fair,” Cullen said. “Now that I’m older I love getting to take classes about many different types of sciences. I just want to learn as much as I can to be able to tie them all together in my future career.”
Forensic Psychology Major in the Making
In high school, Cullen was particularly interested in psychology. After taking her first forensic class she realized her passion for criminal justice and legal psychology.
“Forensic psychology is extremely important because it allows us to apply psychological research to the criminal justice system,” Cullen said. “By doing this, we can work to make the legal system as fair and just as possible. It gives us a better understanding of why people act the way they do when committing a crime, interacting with the police, going to court and so much more.”
After graduating this spring, Cullen intends to pursue a master’s degree before returning to the greater St. Louis Area where she would like to work as a crime analyst at either the state or federal level.
Cullen believes strongly in the idea of getting more girls interested in science at a young age.
“It’s important to expose girls to all different types of science to help them find that passion because they’ll never know unless they try,” Cullen said. “I think it’s important to encourage girls to seek out what they are truly passionate about. Once you find a job or a field that you really love it’s easy to work hard and not let anything stand in your way of accomplishing your goals.”