Martha A. Hanes
Please tell us a little about yourself. (e.g., Background, education, hobbies, interests, etc.)
I graduated from NCSU in 1976, and Tuskegee University in 1980 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.. I’ve spent a total of 13 years in the USArmy. I have been a boarded veterinary pathologist since 1992. I currently have 7 goats, 4 painted burros, 3 cats and 7 dogs, so I am pretty busy trying to make a harmonious living situation for all. I enjoy reading, hiking with the dogs, and watching my grandkids grow. I also like to watch forensic (TV) programs and pick out the errors.
Why did you choose the online Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program?
I had been doing research for a local lawyer with regards to a head trauma case. As I perused the literature, one group and one university kept appearing. The funding and sponsorship from the ASPCA has allowed a continuity and a platform for the University of Florida to expand it’s outreach to a lot of professional people that maybe isolated in their current positions. The opportunity to interact with fellow students helped all of us to develop contacts that might not be available otherwise.
What surprised you most about the program?
The depth of knowledge that was expected from the students was the most surprising part of the program.. This was not a simple online course, expectations were described in no uncertain terms. The variety of courses and the qualifications of the instructors was also a pleasant surprise. The instructors made available published information that might be otherwise unobtainable. These articles are the ammunition I was seeking to validate my professional opinions, and to support the common sense viewpoint required in abuse assessments.
What was your favorite part of the online learning experience?
The flexibility that was present (most of the time). Typically there was a lecture/presentation, required and recommended reading from current publications and a project or opinion paper due in 7 or so days. This allowed me to get the assignments done on my schedule (I am employed full time). I really enjoyed the information I garnered from the Time-of -death analyses in Forensic Entomology, The Forensic Osteology and Pathology courses were also well done.
What has been the most useful takeaway that you have applied to your day-to-day responsibilities?
I think the most useful takeaway was information regarding the Link between animal abuse and child and senior human abuse. It was recommended that I look at Google searches for animal abuse, and I am so surprised at the cruelty that has been perpetuated on our domestic species. This is not a happy subject and not everyone is prepared for the ongoing tragedies that occur in every city, every state and every nation. I feel that the ability to punish the perpetrators at felony levels has been a long sought after and a respected outcome of abuse cases.
How has furthering your forensic sciences education affected your current work?
I have been asked several times to act as an expert witness on felony abuse cases. Although I am pretty confident in my pathology, the expectations as an expert were not clearly spelled out for me by the lawyers. As I continue to become more involved in the animal shelters in San Antonio, and as I conduct forensic autopsies for a privately owned veterinary pathology service here, I will now have more confidence in my delivery of essential information to the court.Back to Student Testimonials