Today@Sam Article

First Forensic Science Ph.D. In The Nation Graduates From Sam Houston State University

Dec. 18, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti


A College of Criminal Justice student from Sam Houston State University is the first in the nation to graduate with a Ph.D. in forensic science. Lindsay Glicksberg received the inaugural doctoral degree during the Dec. 2017 commencement ceremony.

“All of us in the College of Criminal Justice are excited about Dr. Glicksberg’s accomplishment as the recipient of the first Ph.D. in forensic science granted by any university in the United States,” said Phillip M. Lyons, dean and director of the College of Criminal Justice. “Her degree is the culmination of what we do here; top quality classroom instruction from world-class faculty, field-relevant research to inform practice, and service to the field through the job she has secured with the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office.” Fall17Graduation081

Glicksberg’s dissertation focused on the identification and stability of synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as "bath salts” in biological samples. Her research has been presented at several national conferences and published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology and the Journal of Chromatography B.

Working with Sarah Kerrigan, director of the Institute for Forensic Research, Training and Innovation at SHSU, Glicksberg worked on a grant funded by the National Institute of Justice for her research.

“I was very privileged to have been given the opportunity to work on such an exciting project and am proud of the work that Dr. Kerrigan and I produced over the last few years.” Glicksberg said.

In the spring, Glicksberg was recognized as an Emerging Forensic Scientist by the Forensic Science Foundation for her research. The award was presented by the prominent organization and focused on the reliability and validity of techniques, processes or methods in forensic science. Her work was presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in New Orleans.

SHSU’s Forensic Science Ph.D. program was launched in 2015 to help meet the growing needs of public and private forensic laboratories and to train faculty for higher education programs in the expanding field.

There are currently 19 students enrolled in the program at SHSU. The new degree advances career options for those pursuing employment in higher education or forensic services for law enforcement, medical examiner offices, correctional facilities, attorneys and the intelligence community.

SHSU’s College of Criminal Justice has led the way in social science research for some time. According to Lyons, the degree program represents a significant expansion into the natural sciences.

“This is very important to our field, not only because forensic science has shone a light on mistakes we have made in the past—in the form of wrongful convictions, but also illuminates a more accurate and fairer path forward,” Lyons said.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the field is growing at a rate of 19 percent annually, with the largest demands in the areas of DNA, serology, firearms and tool marks, and trace evidence.

SHSU’s Forensic Science Ph.D. program is designed to provide students with the critical thinking ability, problem-solving skills and discipline-specific knowledge, which will allow them to advance into leadership positions. This is accomplished by performing independent, original research, successfully completing multidisciplinary academic coursework, through hands-on experience in the laboratory and by collaborating with accredited forensic laboratories, institutes and partners.

For more information about the program, visit the Department of Forensic Science at  

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