Julieanna Dufek Brandino, class of 1996
Julieanna Brandino has the important daily task of supervising and participating in crime scene and death investigation information; conducting autopsies; and collecting evidence/specimens for toxicological, histological, radiological, and DNA analysis.
But despite her job's grim glamour, Brandino delights in using her Birmingham-Southern biology background to help identify those who are nameless and help families find their missing loved ones.
In 1999, she was appointed to the Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner's Office as the forensic pathology assistant. While the field of pathology is the study of disease, forensic pathologists work with the medicolegal investigation of death and investigate cases with suspicious, unexpected, or undetermined causes of death.
“Because BSC allows for students to have the opportunity to contract their own class during the January Interim term, I was given the unique opportunity my senior year to gain the much-needed exposure/experience in the specialized field of forensic science,” says Brandino, who is from Birmingham. “This exposure/experience of autopsies and crime scene investigation gave me the edge over other applicants to ‘get my foot in the door' working for the Jefferson County Coroner/ME Office as a morgue technician.”
Brandino already has compiled quite an impressive résumé from both her undergraduate and professional careers. She has studied rodents in the premontaine rainforest in Costa Rica; attended numerous forensic photography and skeletal remains search/recovery workshops in Miami and New Orleans; and received valuable mass disaster training at several local and state agencies, including the National Emergency Training Center in Anniston.
“Dr. [Wayne] Shew [BSC biology professor and acting provost] called me shortly after graduation to inform me of the county job opening,” says Brandino. “This confirmed that I was not just another number … the faculty at BSC were genuinely interested in helping to further my career path.”