melissa-sabukosekMy success story began in high school. I was in my Chemistry class and we were talking about the rapidly growing field of Forensic Science. It was the first time I heard that term and was very intrigued about how science could help solve crimes. At that time, I was unsure if I was smart enough to actually make it through college let alone obtain such an important career. After graduation, I decided to check into the qualifications of being a Forensic Scientist and at least give it a shot. I became a student at Calhoun Community College and began volunteering at the Alabama Department of Forensic Science to observe the work that the scientists did on a daily basis. I absolutely fell in love with the career! I then knew I needed to attend a four year college to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree.

I spent a lot of time at Athens State growing up…going to the Fiddler’s Convention, attending parties at Founder’s Hall, and checking out the historic buildings on campus. I loved the school and knew I wanted to go there. I was accepted and assigned a counselor in the Biology Department. I spoke with Dr. Otto and he helped me design the best path of classes for my career choice. All of my professors were so helpful, encouraging, and at times entertaining! The thing that I liked most was the smaller class size. This afforded me one on one time with the professors which made me feel like I was important to each of them.

The four years went by very quickly and I was sad to leave Athens State but excited to begin a new chapter in my life. It was approximately one year before I began my career as a Forensic Scientist with the state of Alabama. I was a Forensic Drug Chemist….finally!!! I was employed at the department for seven years before my husband was offered a great position here in St. Louis, Missouri. I was sad to leave my job there but knew that my education and training would easily help me begin a new career! I was offered a Toxicologist position at the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office and have been working there ever since.

My time at Athens State was great and helped to prepare me to begin my career after graduation. The staff and professors were always available if I had any questions or concerns. I have encouraged several students to continue their education at this wonderful institution and will continue to do so. They will definitely help you achieve your dreams!

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