Student Highlights

A. Reed and Virginia McLaughlin Endowment Scholarship Recipients (CAC, 2017-2018)

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Kayla Balasbas
Kayla Balasbas studied forensic science as an undergraduate student at Chaminade University of Honolulu. In pursuit of a career in criminalistics, she moved to Los Angeles to intern at the Orange County Crime Laboratory and continue her education as a graduate student studying criminalistics at California State University of Los Angeles. Kayla’s thesis research focuses on evaluating the effects of semen and accelerant processing techniques on UV-VIS MSP fiber analysis. In her free time, Kayla enjoys cooking for friends and family, and spending time outdoors living an active lifestyle.


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Jessica Cappelli


Jessica Cappelli received a BS in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Georgia College and State University in 2006 and a BS in Biology from California State University, Northridge in 2016. She is currently pursuing a MS degree in Criminalistics at California State University, Los Angeles. Her thesis project focuses on shotgun pellet distribution patterns in relation to several firearm parameters, including shotgun choke type, muzzle-to-target distance, shot size, and ammunition manufacturer. Outside of the classroom, Jessica enjoys hiking, baking, and traveling to new places.


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Johnny C. Lei

Undergraduate education: University of California, San Diego. Major: B.S. Biochemistry/Chemistry

Graduate education: California State University, Los Angeles. Major: M.S. Candidate Criminalistics

Thesis Project: The purpose of my research is to study the effects of forensic processing procedures on the UV-VIS-NIR microspectroscopy (MSP) analysis of fibers.

Hobbies outside the classroom and laboratory: playing guitar, photography, and basketball




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Anthony Parks
Anthony graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry along with a minor in Criminology from California State University, Fresno. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Criminalistics at California State University, Los Angeles. Anthony’s thesis project is a collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department that involves the creation and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of fire debris with and without ignitable liquids. The results of the more difficult to interpret samples will be submitted to different forensic laboratories for evaluation. In addition, each participant will complete and return a survey related to their interpretation of the results. For fun, Anthony likes to cook, play disc golf, and hang out with his friends.

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Adrian Rendon
Adrian Rendon graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He is currently in his second year enrolled in the MS degree program in criminalistics at California State University, Los Angeles. His interest in forensic science stems from an admiration of his favorite sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. For his thesis research, he is investigating the application of FTIR microspectrophotometery to analyze damaged/undamaged fiber ends of various textiles perforated with 9mm jacketed hollow points and full metal jacket bullets. When not studying or working on his thesis research, Adrian stays active by hiking, cycling and playing soccer or basketball. 

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Naomi Weisz

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Naomi attended the University of Southern California and graduated in 2016 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Forensics and Criminality. She immediately pursued a higher education at California State University, Los Angeles and is currently in her second year as an M.S. candidate in Criminalistics. For her thesis research, she is collaborating with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner to study the reliability and classification of hair color, eye color, and ancestry estimations using decedent DNA samples. With this research, she hopes to provide insight into its utility for missing persons cases and human identification. When away from the lab, she enjoys watching college and professional football, admiring corgis, and everything Harry Potter.



Verogen Forensic Science Scholar 2017-2018

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Naomi Weisz

Ms. Naomi Weisz is the recipient of the inaugural Verogen Forensic Science Graduate Student Scholarship for 2017-2018. The scholarship supports Naomi’s thesis research, which examines the reliability of phenotype estimation and the potential extended classification of ancestry of Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, and Native American populations. 





California Association of Criminalists Best Poster Award Recipients

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Mark LaVigne – Criminalistics Graduate Program Class of 2017
CAC Best Poster Award – Spring Seminar 2017
Thesis Research: Time Dependent Analysis of Bleach Degradation Residues on Textile Fabrics by Presumptive Screening and Ion Quantitation

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Gregory Hogrebe, Criminalistics Graduate Program Class of 2015
CAC Best Poster Award – Spring Seminar 2015

Thesis Research: Detection of Bullet v. Non-Bullet Damage to Textile Fabrics


American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Scholarship Recipients


Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners Scholarship Recipients

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Galyn Fischer 

Criminalistics Graduate Student Class of 2016

Thesis Topic: Detection of High Energy Impact Damage to Textile Fibers Using Polarized Light Microscopy

AFTE Scholarship Recipient 2016 

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Gregory Hogrebe

Criminalistics Graduate Student Class of 2015

Greg Hogrebe completed his graduate education at California State University, Los Angeles with a MS degree in Criminalistics. He is currently employed as a Forensic Specialist focusing on crime scene investigation and latent print examination.

AFTE Scholarship Recipient 2015