Jennifer Johnson

CSI: Houston

Jennifer Johnson's Story

If CBS decides to expand its “CSI” franchise to the Lone Star state, Johnson would be worth shadowing for “CSI: Houston.” Her daily work includes receiving evidence, analyzing evidence while maintaining its integrity and providing court testimony. “Being in forensics, some of my biggest highlights so far are the large or difficult cases that I have analyzed,” said Johnson, who has been with the crime lab for three years. “Also, I was chosen for a project to determine the best methodology and instrumentation for dealing with some of the new drugs that are emerging.”

Johnson said her fondest memories of studying in the sciences at Monmouth are of the late Richard “Doc” Kieft. “He was such a wonderful man and professor,” she said. “He always had creative ways of teaching and truly enjoyed chemistry and impromptu demonstrations. He was my inspiration for pursuing analytical chemistry and made my first experiences with analytical enjoyable. Monmouth College is where my passion for science began, and it helped me to develop where my research interests for graduate school would be. The hands-on experience and interaction with the professors is what makes Monmouth so special.”

Johnson was part of a group of students who pioneered new projects with the goal of making the chemistry department even better than it was when they started. “That experience taught me that it doesn’t take a lot to make a large difference,” she said. “I’m proud to have been a part of that initiative.”

“Jen was very determined,” said associate professor of chemistry Audra Sostarecz. “She told me right away that she was interested in forensic science and that she wanted to do an internship in forensics. That is exactly what she did. She has some of the most important characteristics needed for student success: enthusiasm, determination, and a love of learning.”

Tying it all together

Johnson has firsthand knowledge of the contrast between Monmouth and a large university, a difference she called “incredible. … The atmosphere and passion of the professors at Monmouth is beyond amazing, and the support that they gave me while applying to graduate schools and beyond was remarkable. I cannot thank them all enough for helping me to get where I am today.”

  • Bright, early
    “Right away, I was impressed with her enthusiasm for science,” said associate professor of chemistry Audra Sostarecz. “Very few people come to an 8 a.m. lab with a smile on their face.”
  • CSI: Carolina
    Looking for clues to determine if a career in forensic science was right for her, Johnson applied for and received an internship at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigators.
Monmouth College is where my passion for science began, and it helped me to develop where my research interests for graduate school would be. The hands-on experience and interaction with the professors is what makes Monmouth so special.


Jennifer Johnson ’08
Major: Chemistry, Master’s in Analytical Chemistry with minor in Biological Chemistry from Indiana University