June 11, 2013

New Yorker ventures west to ASU for forensics degree

Posted: June 11, 2013
Arielle Herguth
Recent high school graduate Arielle Herguth is preparing for a new adventure at ASU. She was impressed by the university's academic offerings as well as the beauty and welcoming atmosphere of its campuses.

Her interest in the field of forensic science was sparked in part by a video game she discovered as a youngster, and she is contemplating a career path that leads to a position as a medical examiner. When it came time to choose a college, new high school graduate Arielle Herguth considered Yale University, Duquesne University and the University of New Haven.

But after a visit to metropolitan Phoenix and two of ASU’s four Valley campuses, Herguth decided to come west from her home in Plainedge on New York’s Long Island to pursue a bachelor’s degree in forensics through ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. She also will take advantage of the academic, social and cultural opportunities offered by Barrett, The Honors College, which recruits academically outstanding undergraduates from across the state and nation.

“I felt like everything was designed specifically to make sure students are prepared for the world outside school, and that the professors and staff were more than happy to help make that happen,” Herguth said about her perceptions of her ASU visit. She was favorably impressed by Barrett’s offerings as well. “It seemed to offer so much more than the honors programs of most of the other schools to which I had applied,” she added.

The bachelor's degree in forensics that Herguth will pursue is offered by New College on ASU’s West campus, where Barrett maintains an active presence.

“One of my first impressions when I walked onto the Tempe campus the first day was, ‘Wow, this looks like a country club,’” Herguth said. “The school was beautiful. I visited a Human Event class, and I could only think of how interesting and thought-provoking the class was.”

The next day she visited the West campus and was no less impressed. “Overall, I felt that it was a tight-knit place where everyone was interested in helping each other out and working hard toward their goals, and it gave me a happy feeling and a really good impression of the school.”

Among the people Herguth met was Todd Sandrin, associate director of New College’s School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences and associate vice provost at the West campus.

“Graduates of the forensics degree program are prepared for careers in forensics laboratories and in the research and development of new technologies in the field,” Sandrin said. He pointed out that Herguth will be entering a growing field when she graduates.

“A recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report predicted that jobs for forensic scientists will grow significantly faster than average in the coming years,” Sandrin said. “Graduates of the program also will be well-prepared to pursue advanced degrees in the sciences or law.”

In addition to its emphasis on biology, chemistry and the analysis of evidence, the forensics curriculum focuses on oral communication skills, which are important in preparing graduates for the multifaceted and multidisciplinary aspects of careers in forensics, such as providing articulate and compelling expert testimony in criminal trials.

The opportunity to develop and use multiple talents may be part of what attracted Herguth to forensics a few years ago when she happened upon the video game Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. “I soon came across a character named Ema Skye, who was so enthusiastic about and in love with forensics. She made me interested in the science behind solving crimes, and I’ve been reading everything I can about it since then,” she said.

Herguth’s natural curiosity and desire to learn and explore make her a perfect fit for ASU, said Joe Swingle, director of New College and West campus admissions for the university’s Undergraduate Admissions office, who also met with Herguth during her campus visit.

“The value ASU places on entrepreneurship encourages our faculty and students to pursue innovative and creative ideas, which is the reason we are on the cutting edge in so many disciplines,” Swingle said. “This benefits students across all majors by giving them unique research opportunities in areas that are confronting some of the major challenges facing our world today.”

Herguth confesses to a certain amount of nervousness about her upcoming move to Arizona.

“I’ll be leaving my family and friends, none of whom are leaving the East Coast,” she said. “Essentially, I’m starting off new at a place where no one knows me. On the other hand, I’m really excited. I think this is a good opportunity for me to learn to be more independent and get a fresh new start on my life ahead of me.”

Swingle is sure that Herguth will be happy with her decision to expand her horizons. “ASU’s focus on student success is a key reason why we are producing some of the most outstanding graduates in the country. Our graduates were recognized by the Wall Street Journal, which ranked ASU fifth in the nation by employers for job recruiting from our graduate pool,” he said.

Added Sandrin, “Arielle is a talented, hard-working individual, and her talents and work ethic will take her far. We’re extremely pleased that she has chosen ASU, New College and Barrett to assist in her next phase of personal and professional development.”

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