College grad shines in forensic science career at Broad Tech

Several alumni of the university’s forensic science undergraduate and graduate programs and its forensic technology graduate program are now applying what they learned in the classroom to their work at Bode Technology, a company that specializes in DNA testing.

December 2, 2022

By: Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Bode Technology employees took a group photo.
Broad Tech employees are proud alumni of the University of New Haven.

When Chrissy Campanelli ’21 MS was growing up, she loved watching the hit show “NCIS.” She wanted to be Abby, the forensic scientist on the show.

Campanelli was inspired to pursue his own career in forensic science. After earning a master’s degree in forensic technology from the University of New Haven, she began working at Broad Technology, specializing in evidence sampling. Within a year, she was promoted to forensic DNA technologist. She is now training in DNA analysis, including extraction, separation and detection of DNA profiles.

“My degree focused on how to identify and collect evidence from crime scenes,” Campanelli said. “The courses I took provided me with the forensic knowledge I needed to work in a forensic laboratory. During my studies, I also met people who offered me Broad Technology as a career opportunity.”

Chrissy Campanelli '21 MS in the lab.
Chrissy Campanelli ’21 MS in the lab.

Campanelli is one of at least 11 principals who now work for Virginia-based Bode Technology, which provides DNA testing for current and backlogged cases. Her colleague and forensic DNA technologist, Kenny Jean-Bart ’22 MS, also has a master’s degree in forensic technology. She chose the program because she already had some lab experience and wanted to learn more about the dynamics of crime scene investigation and how it connected to the analysis done in the lab.

Kenny Jean-Bart '22 MS (right) with prof. Lisa Dadio.
Kenny Jean-Bart ’22 MS (right) with prof. Lisa Dadio.

As Charger, Jean-Bart was a member of the university’s graduate forensic science club and served as a sergeant major in his final year. It was through her involvement in the club that she learned about the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Science. When she attended, she met a Broad Technology representative, which eventually led to her a job offer.

“What I love most about my job — and forensics in general, really — is that it feels like I’m putting together a puzzle for me,” she said. “We only got a small portion of the whole case, but it feels great to use the information we do have to make decisions that might help bring justice to victims.”

“Justice for Victims”

Kaitlyn Gencarelli ’19, also a forensic DNA technologist, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and forensic science from the university. She said her courses and labs allowed her to learn all aspects of forensic laboratory work that are now a key part of her job, such as aseptic technique and how to handle various specimens.

Kaitlyn Gencarelli '19 at graduation.
Kaitlyn Gencarelli ’19 at graduation.

As part of Bode Technology’s North Carolina team, Gencarelli sampled evidence sent by customers. She and her team are also working through the state’s backlog of sexual assault toolkits.

“This includes maintaining a proper chain of custody and sampling evidence such as swabs, underwear and sanitary napkins,” explained Gencarelli, who also has a master’s degree in forensic science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. “I like knowing that I am delivering some form of justice to victims, and I like knowing that I can make a difference. I hope to continue my forensic career, perhaps through physical science or death investigation.”

“I like knowing that the work I do really makes a difference”

For the past year, Michael “Ike” Ireland ’21 was a member of Bode Technology’s sampling team, processing evidence to best extract DNA. He was recently promoted to Forensic DNA Technologist and is now a member of the Laboratory Support Team. He enjoys being “actively involved in the criminal justice process,” helping with the backlog of sexual assault cases. He said his time in college, where he majored in forensic science, prepared him well.

“I didn’t fully appreciate the courses I took until I started working here and I had the opportunity to apply the courses I took,” he said. “Because of my education at the University of New Haven, I was able to fully grasp these concepts and practices more easily. I am grateful to all my professors. They spend more time educating the next generation than most people realize Much more.”

Campanelli, a graduate of the Master of Forensic Technology program who is still “obsessed” with NCIS, is happy that she is now working in a lab like Abby, doing “what I’ve always wanted to do.”

“Working at Broad, I’m surrounded by colleagues who bring light to my day, and even on cloudy days, they enjoy their work as much as I do,” she continued. “I love knowing that the work I do makes a real difference in the lives of victims. While sometimes the individual work we do may seem small, working together as a team really makes a huge difference and that is what keeps me going motivation.”

Michael “Ike” Ireland ’21 is a member of the Chargers Marching Band.

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