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Forensics Lecturer Enjoys Camaraderie of Program She Helped Launch
Lecturer, Forensic and Investigative Sciences, School of Science
When the Forensic and Investigative Sciences (FIS) program at IUPUI was being developed nearly a decade ago, Gina Londino found herself in the right place at the right time to become a founding faculty member for the new degree program. Today, she speaks with enthusiasm about the quality of the FIS program she since has helped to prosper and maintain.
Gina Londino and graduate assistant Megan Carrison prepare to make a shoe mold cast to compare against a shoe print.
“I love that forensic science is such a multi-disciplinary area,” said Londino, a lecturer in forensic chemistry. “We are dealing with science that is much more applied. Sometimes people don’t always see how forensic science can be implemented in the real world, but we really focus on how and when it can be used.”
Londino originally wanted to be a math teacher, but a two-year stint working at Eli Lilly and Co. while in school helped her to “fall into chemistry,” as she described it. She pursued her M.S. in chemistry at IUPUI, where she worked with Jay Siegel, the first and former director of the FIS program. It was Siegel who convinced her to join the new program faculty.
“I always wanted to be a teacher, but I never thought I would be a teacher at the college level or in an area like forensics,” she said.
The truth is she is more than just a teacher, however.
FIS is a small program in the School of Science, with about 75 declared majors. The close-knit nature of the program allows Londino to serve as a mentor, trusted advisor and confidante to students.
“I really think this is a great program. Because of our size, the students get to know the faculty really well,” she said. “We also get to know the students, which is not always the case in large programs.
“This close connection and the involvement of student groups like the Forensic Science Club on campus has helped make the camaraderie among everybody a very important element of our culture –it’s what we’re all about here,” she added.
The collaborative environment on campus presents FIS students with many research opportunities as well. IUPUI is well known for many cross-departmental research endeavors, many of which extend from IUPUI to local hospitals and research centers.
FIS students at IUPUI also get hands-on learning opportunities with the latest forensic equipment, such as a stereo comparison microscope, a gas chromatograph and a microtome. FIS at IUPUI is the only undergraduate program in Indiana to be accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Science.
Recent FIS alumni stay in touch with faculty and provide insight about the career outlook for forensics. This helps instructors like Londino provide sound career advice for students as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts forensic jobs will grow by as much as 20 percent through 2020 as forensic technologies and methods improve.
“Forensics involves the use of strong science skills and knowledge, so our students are well prepared for positions outside of crime labs as well. We are able to get to know them and their interests a little better and help them make smart decisions on how they can best put their degree to use,” she said.
Although well polished from the outside, Londino is not afraid to get her hands dirty in her classroom. She trains students on many important forensic methods, including, examining footprint molds in soil samples, testing drug evidence and even dismantling headlight fixtures taken from a variety of vehicles.
Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, visiting local breweries and spending time with her two children. She even once spent time as a Naptown Rollergirl, the local women’s roller derby team.