Forensic science seminar series features "A Crooked Path in Forensic Science"

A free public lecture, "A Crooked Path in Forensic Science," will be given by Catherine Theisen, a chief of quality control and training with the FBI. This event is the second of four presentations on forensic science and its use as a law-enforcement tool in Penn State's 2013 Forensic Science Lecture Series. The lecture is free and will be held from 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, in 117 Hetzel Union Building Auditorium on the Penn State University Park campus.

In her lecture, Theisen will share details of her many years of experience working in FBI forensic laboratories. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and she is a board member of the American Association of Crime Laboratory Directors. Theisen's scientific papers have been published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, the Journal of Forensic Identification, Crime Lab Digest, and numerous other professional publications.

Theisen has more than 25 years of experience working in forensic science. In 1988, she joined the FBI as a research chemist at the academy in Quantico, Va., where, for the next six years, she conducted research on the application of molecular-biological procedures to forensic analysis. In 1995, she was selected as the proficiency-test program manager of the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C. where she helped to develop and manage internal and external proficiency-test programs and quality-assurance policies. She also prepared the laboratory for successful accreditation by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. In 1999, Theisen was selected as forensic examiner/biologist in the FBI laboratory where, for 10 years, she was responsible for receiving evidence from criminal cases, performing mitochondrial-DNA analyses on evidence, reporting results, and testifying in court.

Currently, Theisen is the chief quality-assurance manager for the FBI laboratory, where she is responsible for overseeing three groups working to improve the quality and application of the forensic sciences. These three groups are responsible for maintaining the quality system of the FBI laboratory, maintaining the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors accreditation, offering continuing forensic-science education, training law-enforcement personnel, and the ensuring the health and safety needs of the laboratory.

Theisen received a bachelor's degree in biology in 1982 from the University of Virginia. She received a doctoral degree in 1988 in human molecular genetics from Johns Hopkins University.

The Penn State 2013 Forensic Science Lecture Series is sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science. For more information, contact the Forensic Science program at 814-863-6758 or email kml142@psu.edu.

Last Updated September 04, 2013