On the Case: Forensic Science Grad Finds Her Calling

Kaitlin Armbruster

On the Case: Forensic Science Grad Finds Her Calling

Real-world training and faculty relationships helped Kaitlin Armbruster begin a career she loves.

| By: Britten, Casey

Kaitlin Armbruster has found her niche.

As a Police Clerk with Fox Valley Metro Police Department, she does everything from processing open records requests to handling evidence, and she appreciates every minute of it.

“I’m doing a lot with evidence for the district attorney’s office right now,” she says. “I send everything to the DA’s office, whether that be our officers’ body cameras, photos from scenes, injury photos, or any type of digital evidence. I love it. I’m learning new things every day!”

It all started when Kaitlin was in high school. “I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I grew up in a law enforcement family, so I knew I wanted to do something in law enforcement but didn't necessarily want to be a patrol officer,” she says. She decided to take an Intro to Forensic Science class through the Start College Now program, and it was her experience in that class that sealed the deal on the Forensic Science program.

Not only did she learn that this was the right field for her, but she also made a strong connection with her instructor, Holly Maas. “Holly helped me so much in that class,” she says. “I realized then that the FVTC instructors are working in their fields and are bringing their real-world knowledge to the classroom.”

In addition to teaching, Holly is also a Crime Scene Technician for Ashwaubenon Public Safety. Plus, she’s a graduate of the Forensic Science program herself, so she knows where the students are coming from. “It’s important to me that students can see themselves graduating and finding a career they love, just like I did,” Holly says. “The intro class is the first forensic course that many FVTC students get to experience. I want everyone to feel comfortable asking questions or sharing their thoughts no matter where they are at in the journey.”

“The instructors have years of experience and are there to help you,” Kaitlin adds. “They want you to succeed and work alongside them. Even after graduation, they keep in contact with you. My instructors are still helping me every day.”

As a hands-on learner, Kaitlin also appreciated the lab learning environment. “We were always doing something active,” she says. “The forensics lab has all the supplies there that we needed, plus new equipment and technology that a lot of departments don’t even have yet.”

But for Kaitlin, the true cool factor was in having an entire scenario village at her fingertips. The Public Safety Training Center’s “River City” features a gas station, a bank and a motel, along with residential homes, streets and intersections.

“We could have a mock bank robbery scene, for example, and then walk through how we would approach a real crime scene,” she says. “It was so much more beneficial than just watching a video or writing a report on an imaginary event. That village is the coolest part.”

Now that Kaitlin has some time in the field under her belt, she’s thinking about what’s next. “At some point, I’d like to continue my education, but for now I just want to grow my career with Metro and keep building relationships.”

Holly says, “Kaitlin was an incredibly driven student. It was apparent very early on that she was passionate about law enforcement and forensic science and because of that she was super engaged in class and in her work. She took every opportunity to help other students, participate in training and community events, and help out wherever her instructors needed. It was fun watching her grow as a student. I’m confident that Kaitlin will succeed in whatever she sets her mind to!”