Global Campus PSM grad awarded for improving crime scene DNA processing

Kristina Hoffman holding award
Kristina Hoffman received the
Outstanding Early Career Achievement
Award on February 15, 2017.
If you believe TV detective shows, crimes are solved quickly and justice is served in under an hour. In reality, it can take months just to process crime-scene DNA.

Thanks to the work of Kristina Hoffman, a 2015 Washington State University graduate, it now takes the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory about 25 percent less time to process DNA samples, which ultimately leads to faster crime resolution. For her achievement, Hoffman was recently awarded the 2017 Outstanding Early Career Achievement Award by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Hoffman, a forensic scientist at the WSP crime lab in Marysville, Washington, conducted her DNA research as part of her internship for the online professional science master’s (PSM) degree in molecular biosciences. The online PSM program offered through WSU Global Campus is designed for students who want to pursue careers in science that require skills in management, communication and business.

While working on her internship at the WSP crime lab, Hoffman applied lean business management practices from WSU’s Lean Agility course to improve the productivity in the workflow of DNA sample processing and reporting. "The PSM department was so instrumental in my lean project and is the primary basis for me being eligible for this award," explained Kristina.

The AAFS Outstanding Early Career Achievement Award is given annually to an early-career forensic scientist who has demonstrated leadership and outstanding achievement. The recipient’s contributions should advance forensic science and its application to the legal system in a manner that promotes professionalism, integrity, competency, education, research, practice, and collaboration.

"When I was researching graduate programs, I knew right away that the PSM degree was a perfect fit for what I was looking for in order to prepare for career advancement," said Hoffman. "I loved the design and flexibility of the online WSU program and how I could maintain my full-time job and tailor the curriculum to fit my interests in lean management." Hoffman completed the program in December 2015.

To learn more about Kristina's research, read the WSU News post. Information about WSU’s online PSM program and how to apply is available on the WSU Global Campus website.