"I am originally an island girl, from Victoria, and grew up with a great love for exploration, originating in my childhood travels and sailing adventures around the BC coast, Mexico and Central America."

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Student Profile: Britny Martlin

Criminology PhD student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

December 21, 2020
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I am originally an island girl, from Victoria, and grew up with a great love for exploration, originating in my childhood travels and sailing adventures around the BC coast, Mexico and Central America. I completed my BA at UVic in Anthropology and Political Science and was fortunate to be involved in two archaeological field schools, one in South Africa and the other in Poland. These experiences led me to pursue my MSc in Bioarchaeological and Forensic Anthropology at University College London, England, where my research focused on dismemberment, forensic saw mark analysis and the use of new technologies for this analysis.

I am currently a PhD student of Forensic Anthropology at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Forensic Research and School of Criminology, under the supervision of Dr. Lynne Bell.

I try my best to maintain a balanced lifestyle (although this has become more difficult working in the living room) and focus on running outdoors, cooking fun meals, and spending time with my fiancé.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to attend SFU for my PhD because of the previous work that has been completed on underwater human decomposition in the Criminology department and the opportunity to learn more about the study of crime and how that intersects with my focus in forensic anthropology.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

My research is currently focused on the decomposition of human remains in aquatic environments and the use of novel underwater detection techniques to assist with the rapid recovery and identification of missing persons in the ocean. I hope one day that my research may be able to assist with the more efficient detection of missing persons in the ocean to help gain closure for families and assist with the pursuit of justice in cases of small and large scale oceanic disasters.

Additionally, I am also interested in criminal law, specifically the admission of scientific evidence and use of expert testimony in criminal cases, as well as the identification and repatriation of human remains in cases of genocide and mass disasters, and the use of new technologies for analysis and presentation of scientific evidence.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I am enjoying being a part of the Criminology department and gaining additional knowledge and expertise which I would not have been subject to in an Anthropology department. Specifically, I have enjoyed the intersection between anthropology and the law, and being able to further delve into the legal principles behind the use of scientific evidence in the courts.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

I received the BC Graduate Scholarship and the Dean's Graduate Fellowship in Fall 2020.

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