Forensic Scientist Herbert Helps Fallen Soldiers Return Home

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 28, 2011

By Larry Atkins

In his work as a Forensic Scientist for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab, Tim Herbert ’07M helps families to locate loved ones lost in combat. Utilizing the skills he acquired in Arcadia’s Forensic Science program, he engages in case management, organic extraction of ancient skeletal remains, analyzes and interprets data for ancient remains, and produces technical reports.

“I really love being able to say that I helped someone who has been lost for decades finally find peace,” Herbert says. “It is an amazing feeling to be able to sit down with a family and say that we have found their loved ones therefore giving them closure.”

Herbert relates one specific successful case as having a huge impact on him. “The biggest highlight of my career thus far has to be flying out to California to tell a family that their uncle who had been lost since World War II has finally been found. Their story was very touching, and I was glad that I could give them closure.”

As for future trends in the field, Herbert says, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that Forensic Science is growing rapidly. There are new fields and areas of research being discovered every day. Hopefully, we will be able to use these new techniques to solve cold cases that have been open for decades.”

Naturally, his job isn’t quite like TV. “Contrary to popular belief, we don’t all drive Hummers and wear white pants suits to crime scenes. Also, there are no floating computers, and we can’t solve a crime in an hour.”

Joking aside, Herbert says that Arcadia prepared him well for his field. “I loved being at Arcadia because it was an amazing learning environment. The facilities were top-notch and the faculty were amazing. I believe that the Arcadia Forensic Science program prepared me for whatever field I was going into. Many of the forensic science programs make you focus on one aspect of the profession; however, Arcadia’s program gave me a glimpse of several aspects of forensic science. The program’s multidisciplinary approach allowed me to keep my options open when applying for a job.”

“Just do your best and be ready to learn, the possibilities are endless.”

Larry Atkins teaches Journalism at Arcadia.