Professor and Executive Director for tge
California Forensic Science Institute at Cal State LA
Category of Humanitarian Benefit: Improved Sharing of Knowledge
Short Biography/ Backgrond of the Nominee: Dr. Roberts has served Cal State LA with the finest distinction for 20 years – since 1998 when she was hired as an assistant professor of forensic science. She rose through the ranks to become a full professor in 2009 and has been the Director of the Criminalistics graduate program since 2001.
Project Name and Description: Dr. Roberts labors with a quiet persistence and work ethic that is unparalleled by her colleagues. Her commitment is manifested in the way she manages all aspects of the criminalistics graduate program including curriculum, advising, recruiting, field placements, and professional development activities. Students under her tutelage learn the ethics, discipline, and scope of practice skillsets that are imperative to be a successful criminalist in the 21 st century. This is confirmed by our Los Angeles Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department colleagues who are co-located in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. We train the next generation of criminalists who often end up working in their crime labs upstairs. Another critical aspect of Dr. Roberts’ excellence in sharing knowledge comes from her scholarship and public engagement. She plays an active role in the California Association of Criminalists, and has published extensively on trace evidence. Since 2017 Dr. Roberts has served as Executive Director of the California Forensic Science Institute at Cal State LA, and in that capacity focuses on service and the public good. She oversees forensic science summer camps for criminal justice undergraduates interested in joining the LAPD, and is currently spearheading an effort to formalize forensic identification specialist training for students and interested members of the public who want to increase their proficiency with forensic science beyond the CSI stereotypes.
Humantarian Benefit: What is most consistent and impressive about the drive behind Dr. Roberts’ efforts is her desire for the public to be more informed and civically engaged when they are called for jury service. That is the ultimate civic duty and one that Dr. Roberts takes seriously in her role as professor and administrator. The humanitarian consequences of these efforts will have ripple effects throughout Los Angeles County.