Professor Neal Haskell, Ph.D. and Dr. Kristi Zurawski Bugajski '05, Assistant Professor of Biology at Valparaiso University in Indiana
Dr. Neal Haskell
Dr. Neal Haskell has offered his expertise in more than 450 death investigation cases since 1981, the most recent one being the murder of seven-year-old Danielle Van Dam in Sabre Springs, Calif. He's been featured on Court TV, HBO, The Discovery Channel, and PBS, and highlighted in Popular Science and Discovery magazines. He is frequently asked to speak at engagements sponsored by groups such as the New York State Police, the Washington State Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, and the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute and Criminal Justice departments. Dr. Haskell was a key witness for the prosecution in the highly publicized Casey Anthony murder trial in the summer of 2011.
Of Kristi Bugajski and her success, Haskell said, "She was an excellent student. She wanted to be a forensic entomologist right off the bat, but usually I prefer to educate our students in general forensic science to give them a better chance of landing a job. However, we made sure we got Kristi prepared for forensic entomology. Even though we don't have an entomology program, we made sure we prepared her for that specific field."
Kristi Zurawski Bugajski '05
On November 28, 2010 Kristi Zurawski Bugajski '05 was featured in an episode of the Discovery Channel reality series "Dirty Jobs," which showcases the men and women who do the dirtiest jobs in America.
"The day we filmed the episode was a lot of fun," said Bugajski. "Filming wasn't what we expected because it was completely unscripted. The producers told us to walk Mike Rowe, the show's host, through our field work as if no one else was with us."
What the field work consisted of was Bugajski and a fellow student taking Rowe through four different crime scenes with dead pigs serving as the victims. Bugajski's job is to analyze maggots and other insects on decomposing bodies to figure out information such as time of death.
Haskell's dedication and the support of her other professors did not go unnoticed by Bugajski, who credits SJC for preparing her for a future filled with excitement and possibilities, although an appearance on the Discovery Channel was something she'd never imagined.
"Going to SJC was the best decision I ever made. I came there thinking I wanted to be a doctor, but after realizing that wasn't what I wanted to do, Dr. Haskell took me under his wing and got me interested in maggots. I've been working with him for ten years now, and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be where I am today. He has been on my master's and Ph.D. committees, and he and all my other professors at SJC taught me life lessons that I will always hold dear to my heart. The support and education I received at SJC has been invaluable."