Staff Profile - Dr Kym Turnbull
Head of Department, Forensic Science
Canberra Institute of Technology
I am the education manager for science, forensics and engineering at CIT. I have always had a passion for science, from a young age I was fascinated by biology and particularly DNA.
I have been a VET teacher at CIT for 11 years. Working in the VET sector allows me to combine my passions of teaching and science.
I come from a pure laboratory-based background, working previously at CSIRO and Australian National University (ANU). I originally started at CIT as a casual teacher working half a day a week, then became a permanent Band 1 teacher, then a senior teacher, before recently moving into a management position.
I have undertaken extensive study throughout my career. I have a Bachelor of Science with first-class honours, a Bachelor of Economics, a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication, a PHD in Molecular Biology, an Advanced Diploma in Adult Vocational Education, and the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
Despite now being in a management position, I am still teaching, as I think it's really important to stay in touch and change your practice. Education is such a changing field, particularly when it comes to technology, so as a teacher I think it's important to make sure you're constantly learning yourself. I also love the contact with students and taking classes each year allows me to get to know the students cohort better.
In my teaching, I believe it is important that students are learning in an environment that is as realistic as possible. At CIT we have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment, and practical classes are planned so my students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
All of the crime scenarios that students have to investigate are all based on real-life crime scenes. Students collect biological crime scene samples which they learn to analyse in the laboratory giving them real-life, core scientific skills, and making them as work-ready as possible.
I think vocational study is so important because it changes people's lives - it gives them opportunities when they wouldn't necessarily have them. As a teacher, you constantly see people come in the door and leave as a completely different person. I also believe it gives them practical, hands-on skills that they need in the workplace, as well as the theoretical skills to back that up. You can't get that everywhere and that's what we do really, really well. I love working in the area for those reasons - you make a difference every day.