I was a mediocre student throughout high school and eventually left feeling I was not bound for college. After a few years of eye-opening jobs and a healthy dose of maturity, I ignored my inhibitions and enrolled at the local community college.During this time I was unsure of my future career path. I'd always been fascinated by science and I enrolled in every natural science course I could find. I learned a lot about the natural world but never really found my niche.
I transferred to UNF and entered the College of Computing, Construction and Engineering. I'd always been handy with computers and here, I was able to cultivate that interest into a career path. From the start, I knew it was a good fit for me. The program was challenging and the faculty was supportive and knowledgeable. I appreciated the flexibility of the curriculum as it allowed me to study subjects ranging from ethics to programming, to digital security, and even criminal justice.
However, it was in digital forensics class that I discovered my future career. I learned the foundations of a sound digital forensic examination from an instructor affiliated with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). We also gained practical experience recovering deleted evidence, and learned how to objectively interpret it. In some respects what I’ve learned is a little unsettling. Still, at UNF I’ve learned how this knowledge can be used for the benefit of society through more effective law enforcement. Most importantly, it was stressed that the bedrock of a career in law-enforcement and forensics is integrity.
Throughout my time here, UNF has provided much support for me. As a non-traditional student, I missed out on much of the state and federal student-aid. In my senior year, I was awarded a scholarship from Black Diamond Performance Reporting, a Jacksonville provider of web-based portfolio management tools for independent advisors and wealth managers. Thanks to the generosity of Black Diamond, I am well on my way to yielding the best return from our educational investment.
As I look back on my time at UNF, I will not only remember the hard work and late nights, but also the wisdom and guidance imparted me by the faculty and staff. As I look forward to pursuing my master’s degree in digital forensics and a career in law-enforcement, I realize that the most important things I've gained from UNF are a sense of direction, social responsibility, and the confidence to try to make a difference.