Author: Hannah Burns | Category: Final Words... | May 01, 2015
Congratulations Hannah Burns, the newest graduate from the Forensic Toxicology program, for successfully defending your dissertation on the "An Intoxication Level System for Cannabis Use."
Please tell me about yourself, why did you pick
UT Health Science Center, and your program.
I obtained a B.S. in Biology from the University of Alaska - Fairbanks in 2009. I knew I wanted
to continue my education and so I started looking into graduate school. I took
a forensics course in high school, and have been interested in forensic science
ever since. I found the Forensic Toxicology Master's program at UTHSCSA and
knew immediately that I wanted to apply.
Please provide a few sentences summarizing your dissertation.
What was the experience like for you?
was a detailed literature review that investigated cannabis impairment in
drivers and alternative methods of determining tetrahydrocannabinol levels in
the blood. The experience was like nothing I have ever been through. It was
challenging yet rewarding. I am very proud of what I have accomplished and wouldn't
trade my experience for anything.
Why are you passionate about your research
topic? How did you first become interested in it?
I grew up in
North Pole, Alaska, and the state just legalized the recreational use of
cannabis. It is such a relevant topic in today's time. I don't know when I
first became interested in cannabis, but I do find it extremely interesting,
especially for its medicinal uses.
What was your best memory during graduate school
or what did you learn?
cannot choose my best memory. I have had so many unforgettable
experiences. Some of them would include: attending autopsies in Laredo, an
internship with San Antonio Police Department, and the bond I developed with my classmate, Salina, and
my professor, Dr. George Kudolo.
Seriously. I am taking a long, much needed vacation back to Alaska to visit
family. After that, who knows. I am honestly very excited to start working. I
look forward to starting my career.
Any advice for your fellow graduate students?
Don't give up and
get connected! There were many times when I didn't know if I could continue.
Luckily, I had an amazing classmate. Since it was only us two, we relied
heavily on one another for support. We both listened to each other gripe, and
we both lent shoulders to cry on. I don't know if I could have done this
Everyone needs someone like that. Sometimes there may not be
enough support at home, but a classmate will surely know your pain! Get in
touch with the Graduate Student Association and go to their meetings. It is run
by students, for students, and they have information on everything from social
events to post-graduation employment.
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