#039 Career Close-Up: Forensic Scientist

Episode Summary

If your teen has ever been curious about forensics after a late night binging CSI or Law & Order, this episode is for your family. Not only has my guest, Antoinette Campbell, worked in crime labs for more than two decades, but she’s also the founder of a program in Philadelphia that is designed to help young people explore the field of forensic science. She’ll walk us through realities about the profession and how it compares to the TV portrayals, while also explaining how diverse the field is (spoiler: it’s more than just crime scenes!). Plus she gives some great advice for any student interested in preparing for a forensics career.

Episode Notes

Crime dramas have helped inspire many teens to become interested in forensic science. While these shows are very entertaining, they don’t actually give a complete picture of the field. In this episode, my guest, Antoinette Campbell, from the Association of Women of Forensic Science, dissects what it really means to be a forensic scientist.

For instance, even though the professionals in this field use science to help solve crimes, many forensic scientists never even go near a crime scene or a corpse! There is a wide range of specialties in this career cluster, but because most people are only introduced to forensic science through TV shows, they may not be aware of all of the options. Before talking with Antoinette, I definitely didn’t realize how many possibilities there were within this discipline.

This episode is a must-listen if you have a child who has expressed interest in forensics. Antoinette walks us through the challenges of the field and what you should know before pursuing forensic science. Plus, she also gives some great insight into how teens can set themselves up for a successful career while they’re still in high school.


  • How high school students can get STEM exposure at an early age
  • The differences from what you see on TV
  • The wide array of forensic science specialties 
  • Advice for getting a job in the field 

Meet Our Guest

Antoinette T. Campbell is a Philadelphian with twenty years of experience as a Forensic Scientist at a crime lab in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in both Forensic Drug Chemistry and Forensic Quality Assurance and is knowledgeable in the inner workings of establishing a successful youth forensics program and forensic science community engagement. In 2010, she founded the Association of Women in Forensic Science, Inc (AWIFS). She also created forensic science programs and a forensic graphic apparel line, Club Philly Forensics, Beyond Crime Scenes and Autopsies, and Street Forensics.

Over the years, she paid close attention to the needs of young people from her community in Philly and their insufficient knowledge about forensic science. It never fails when Antoinette is asked what she does for a living and people confuse her job title with what they saw on forensic/crime shows. Based on questions she received often from people wanting to know how to be a forensic scientist, she started teaching in-person workshops and webinars to provide them with a better understanding of forensic science.

Being from Philly, she is also surrounded by gun violence that is deteriorating the communities and knows the importance of including violence and drug awareness in Club Philly Forensics workshops.

Antoinette has taught and created curriculums for several youth forensics workshops in Philly and New Jersey. She continues on her journey to educate and encourage those interested in pursuing a career in forensic science.

Listen on…the Flourish Site, Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite platform. 

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Links mentioned in this episode

Learn about Careers in Forensic Science

Accredited College Programs for Forensic Education

American Academy of Forensic Sciences Student Career Resources

Instagram @womeninforensics

Facebook @womeninforensic

Twitter @womeninforensic

Launch College & Career Clarity Course

Launch College and Career Clarity Facebook Community


[3:32] Introduction to the role of a forensic scientist

[4:24] Do you need a criminal justice degree for this field?

[5:50] Do all forensic scientists work with crime scenes?

[6:27] The forensic drug chemist specialty

[9:02] A day in the life of a forensic scientist

[12:51] What degree path should an aspiring forensic scientist take?

[14:06] Other specialties in forensic science

[16:07] The importance of networking

[18:20] The challenges of a field with limited job opportunities

[19:27] Ways for teens to start exploring science

[24:28] Where to learn more

Access the episode transcript here.