Placement student Beatriz 'honoured' to support major crime investigations

A Forensic Science student from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is helping in the fight against serious crime.

Beatriz Silva is spending her placement year as a research assistant at the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Beatriz main

Her role is with the National Injuries Database team, part of the Major Crime Investigative Support Unit, which provides help and advice for investigations involving all forensic medical issues.

"I am really enjoying my time on placement," said Beatriz. "I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about what it is like working in law enforcement and it is a real privilege to be part of such a great team.

"This year has helped me develop many skills, such as data analysis and the use of databases. It has also helped me boost my confidence as a professional."

The 22-year-old, born in Porto, Portugal, wanted to do a sandwich year to gain industry experience and was thrilled to land such a prestigious role.

"I was not expecting to be offered this opportunity, as I was aware of how competitive the application process was," said Beatriz. "When I found out, I was overwhelmed with joy!

"I ran straight to the office of lecturers Leisa Nichols-Drew and Emma Johnston, who helped me with the process, to tell them the good news."

Duties include uploading cases onto the relevant database, conducting research and assisting with operational meetings and work. A visit to Heathrow Airport is Beatriz's highlight so far.

"We got to see how airport security works and it was really interesting to see how the work of the NCA assists with this," she said.

Beatriz benefits from regular meetings with her line manager to monitor her progress.

"I also get a yearly professional development scheme meeting with my manager, where I am given feedback, and I can use the document produced as a reference for future job interviews," she said.


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To further boost her employability, Beatriz intends to take advantage of #DMUworks - the university's careers programme - for advice on CVs and job applications.

"That will be very helpful in my final year," said Beatriz, who grew up in a small village and moved to Leicester aged 14.

Wanting to stay in the city, Beatriz was drawn to the curriculum for DMU's Forensic Science course.

She said: "I was very impressed by the variety of topics covered, as well as the excellent facilities, including a 'crime house'."

Beatriz has made the most of her time at university, making new friends as a member of the Forensic Society and working towards improving the student experience as a course representative.

She has also boosted her knowledge on a trip to Sweden with #DMUglobal - the university's international experience scheme.

"I learnt how the subject is taught in a different country as well as how forensic scientists work on a day-to-day basis," she added.

Posted on Tuesday 5th March 2019

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