Joan Baughman ’16, who double-majored in forensic biology and forensic chemistry, will discuss her experience living abroad and working in the Ugandan national forensic laboratory on Wednesday, Feb. 26 from noon – 1 p.m. in the Davis Street Building, room 2225. This presentation is free and open to the public.
As a Forensic Laboratory Research Fellow in Uganda since November 2019, Baughman works primarily in the Forensic DNA department. Her duties include evidence sampling, DNA extraction, quantitative analysis, PCR amplification, capillary electrophoresis, profile comparisons, and manual calculation for forensic and paternity cases. As a fellow, Baughman performs her responsibilities consistently and fills in where she’s needed, whereas the faculty have niche roles. She also has the flexibility to search and develop solutions for areas of improvement in the casework.
In addition to discussing the forensic lab advancements in Uganda, she hopes to provide perspective on what it looks like to travel abroad and experience other cultures. “I was afraid of how my experience would be because I had never traveled internationally before,” Baughman said. “I was able to overcome that fear and have an incredible experience that taught me so much about my field and myself.”
She first learned about the opportunity in Uganda from Jaymelee Kim, Ph.D., an anthropologist and assistant professor of forensic sciences at the University of Findlay, who has been conducting collaborative research in Uganda for the last five years, and co-conducting forensic training workshops for Ugandan practitioners. During Kim and her team’s research, the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory (GDAL) in Wandegeya, Kampala, Uganda, showed interest in having extra support to assist them with their casework backlog, prompting Kim to suggest Baughman apply for the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Program, which supports research fellowships abroad, and has funded Kim’s research in the past. After facilitating the communication between MHIRT and GDAL, Baughman began her fellowship.