ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Ray Wickenheiser is the Director of the New York State Police Crime Lab System and helped create the Forensic Investigation Center School to provide an early opportunity for students curious about forensic science and connect them to mentors. It is a pilot program associated with SUNY Albany, The College of Saint Rose, and Hudson Valley Community College. It is run every month.

Wickenheiser wanted to make sure that students could network with peers and even get insights from those starting their careers in the field.

“Somebody they can most closely relate to and say what the day in your life looks like,” he said. “Is this something I can do for a career? You know, is this a good career for me? Is this a good fit?”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for forensic science technicians is projected only to increase. Melissa France is grateful that she now gets to mentor students and help guide them with their career questions.

“I think it’s very helpful,” France said. “When I was trying to get into college I didn’t know where to go for help or where to go for guidance. This program is really good and will help give them a starting point.”

Samantha Whitfield hopes the program will help spark a passion for forensics.

“I just love being able to reach out and get involved with the kids and impart some of my love for this field, and hopefully, they feel the same way,” she said.