Forensic crime dramas have come to dominate primetime TV in recent years: The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and many more. The series Bones helped Anthony Castel ’20 (criminal justice) foster his passion for criminal justice as he was growing up. “That helped me develop a deep love for the field,” he said, “especially the crime scene investigation aspect.”
The crime scene investigation core classes had Castel working in the Criminal Justice Education Lab, where UIndy students participate in simulations of crime scenes and events guided by professors. “This helped me learn procedure and pushed me to think creatively on how to solve cases and handle evidence and investigations,” he said.
Associate professor and chair of the Criminal Justice Department, Dr. Kevin Whiteacre, has been one of Castel’s mentors during his time on campus and helps run the lab. “One of the things that makes our Criminal Justice program special is the extent to which we encourage students like Anthony to explore outside the department and gain a wide variety of skills by accepting outside coursework toward the major requirements, encouraging minors and double-majors, and designing our curriculum to make it easier for students to achieve their goals.”
My favorite thing about UIndy is the atmosphere. It feels like everyone is connected and down to Earth. You can see your Professor in the cafeteria, or the President of the University chilling in your residence hall lobby wanting to talk to students.Anthony Castel ’20
Castel, who is actively involved on campus with organizations like UIndy Gamers and UIndy PRIDE, recently completed an internship at the Marion County Coroner’s Office where he worked with death investigators and forensic autopsy technicians improving his skills to collect property from a scene. He also assisted in case reports and autopsies.
“Some essential skills I learned were public communication, the proper way of organizing information about a recently deceased person for reporting purposes, differentiating between various types of causes of death, helping residents of Marion County with their loss, and so much more,” he said.
Castel is a great example of how students at UIndy use their passions to fuel their studies to eventually transition to a career that they love.
“UIndy strives to see that you not only graduate but that you are prepared for a career and become the best person you can be,” Castel said. “The professors you will work with and the Professional Edge Center staff are knowledgeable experts in their field to help you go into the future educated, skilled, and with personal confidence.”
“I believe the whole criminal justice program helped me see things differently and think critically,” said Castel, who hopes to build a career in Indianapolis in the criminal justice field. “The lessons did not always come from a textbook. It was as close to real-life, hands-on lessons as you can get.”